Bollywood movies today without an ‘item number’ are un-thinkabale. An item number or an item song, in Indian cinema, is a musical performance that is often shown as a part of the movie but most of the times without any importance to the plot of the movie. The main aim of an item number is entertain and also to lend support to the marketability of the film because it usually is a catchy, upbeat, often sexually provocative dance sequence for a song in the movie ( Wikipedia).
The item number has borne and keeps bearing the brunt of feminist ire and venomously ridiculous statements of the moral police. The argument is, naturally , that it shows women in a derogatory manner. I kinda of interpret that as women shouldn’t look hot ,great and sexy ? Or dance with fabulous abandon? Oh yes, many also believe that item numbers urge and incite men to molest and rape. As the nation reeled under the highly despicable , traumatic rape of a young girl in Delhi, 2013 ( The Nirbhaya case) Bollywood came under attack for encouraging perversion through its item numbers. The humorist Ramesh Srivats tweeted — “So, we’ve moved from blaming the victim to blaming Bollywood movies & rap singers. Good progress. Hopefully, sometime, we’ll start blaming the rapist.” (http://blogs.reuters.com/india/2013/01/02/banning-bollywood-item-numbers-is-no-solution/ ).
Oh Jeez! Give me a break. I feel like screaming ‘One thing you can’t hide- is when you are crippled inside” ( John Lennon) That sums up my take on the item number bashers & baiters! Damn hypocrites 😀
I also find very few women who confess to liking item numbers.Perhaps, they feel that it is not ummm lady -like ? Not what a ‘good girl’ is supposed to favor? Something like red lipstick and high heels, I guess. I have been the victim of the disbelief and wrath of such goody-goody, wish-washy ladies, countless number of times. And I always suspect that they wear really horrible, un-imaginitive lingerie. Actually, to think they wear ‘lingerie’ is blasphemous. Underwear, yeah. Ugh. Hey ladies,” A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up” ( Mae West).
Coming to Bollywood item numbers, it is performed these days by the leading heroines today. In between , say in the 80’s/90’s we had the ‘item girls’, while the leading lady remained goody-goody. Upto the 1970’s,this role was taken by the so called ‘vamps’, in Indian cinema. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Item_number )
If I have to choose that one woman actor who is my absolute favorite in this genre, it is always going to be Helen. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_%28actress%29 ). There can never be anybody like her. I was fascinated with her as a child,preferring her over established heroines like Hema Malini, Rekha etc.
I am going to list out some of my favorite item numbers in no particular order. I shall not include any of Helen’s. Because, I remember having this discussion with a good friend, who said ‘Helen is classy, not an item number”. Nailed it! 🙂
1. http://youtu.be/XzmQaEMD7Ps Urmilla Matondkar, ‘Lajja’. I have always liked Urmila Matondkar. Bindaas and a fabulous actor 🙂
2.http://youtu.be/jJ9wT-OJtik Shushmita Sen, ‘Fiza”. I totally freaked out on the song actually…’mujhe mast mahao main jeene de’ 🙂
3.http://youtu.be/vt8cSLswQWc Isha Khoppikar, ‘Company”. Absolutely edgy. And attitude. Yee-haw 😀
4.http://youtu.be/F7jjpnte_Kg Aishwariya Rai, ‘Shakti’. The only time Ash has looked sexy, in my opinion. Or else she is so perfect, she looks cold.
5.http://youtu.be/QCvFxPRL_5g Yana Gupta,’Dum’. Great choreography, funky and an absolutely hot woman 🙂
6.http://youtu.be/1TxDOusA4TA Lara Dutta, ‘Khakee’. Again a huge favorite, Lara Dutta totally rocks it here 🙂
7. http://youtu.be/XLJCtZK0x5M Bipasha Basu, ‘Omkara’. Rustic, hits you in the gut 🙂
8.http://youtu.be/ZTmF2v59CtI Katrina Kaif, ‘ Tees Maar Khan’. What can be better than a beautiful woman who is incredible sexy too! Killer combination. And I realized later that she is not a bimbette. Very focused, disciplined and ambitious. Go Katrina! 🙂
9.http://youtu.be/BDSsW194IJU Priyanka Chopra, ‘ Goliyoon ka rasleela -Ramleela’. Total respect.That’s dancing with abandon!
10.http://youtu.be/1FJ9hTNLK4w Kareena Kapoor, ‘Heroine’. Kareena and her great relationship with her actor sister Karishma remind me of me and my big sis 🙂 So I have a huge soft corner for Kareena. She also packs huge attitude and tends to live life large. Oh by the way, this song is also my ring tone on the mobile 😀 I love the expression on my colleagues’ faces when my mobile beeps 😀 Most of them are sanctimonious and boring 😀
Well, would love to know what are your favorite item numbers, guys 😀 Tell me!
And chew on this “She looked like the kind of woman I could fall in love with. Trouble is, she was standing next to the kind of woman I’d like to make love to. ” ( Jarod Kintz, ” This book has no title” ) The statement kinda accentuated the difference in perception between the heorine and the item girl.
That difference no longer exists today. In as much, Bollywood has kinda ensured empowerment of women, non ?
Cheers to life 😀