Mostly people confuse an item song with the best, the sexist or the most popular song in a movie. However, for the music connoisseurs, this may be termed as blasphemous. The question arises: how do we define an item song?
For us, an item song is something simply out of the context of the movie story. It comes out of nowhere, as a filler. Either to add the oomph or masala factor or to carry the whole movie on the weight of its shoulders as a ‘wow’ ingredient. It is definitely an ‘icing’ on the cake, becomes immensely popular and is on everyone’s lips. From the streets to the Mehndis as well as the dance floors, it defines an ‘age’. Nobody remembers the movie an item number features in. However, an item song thrives in its own ‘life space’. It creates its own universe and becomes its own life-giving force.
The one actress who earned herself a name and reputation as the evergreen diva of item songs was undisputedly ‘Helen’. Her song, R.D Burman’s ‘Mehbooba O Mehbooba’ from the movie Sholay (1975) defined an era we all lived in. Helen’s thumkas were simply unparalleled. Need we say more?
In spite of its unprecedented success, Madhuri’s 1989 superhit song ‘Eik Do Teen’ from the movie Tezaab as well as Sridevi’s blue-sari-clad heart throbbing sexy number ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’ from the movie Mr. India (1987) cannot be treated on any account as an item number. Of course, Madhuri and Sri Devi were the top heroines in the respective movies, and the songs were an integral part of the story.
The ultimate item songs in our new epoch of the 21st century are the following deadly seven:
1. ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya‘
From the movie Dil Se (1998) featuring Malaika Arora. This heart shattering and trendsetting number danced on top of a moving train with Shah Rukh Khan set the ball rolling for times to come. An item number through and through. This catchy tune might even be playing in your head already.
2. ‘Ishq Kamina‘
An item song to match ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’s’ dance moves was no other than ‘Ishq Kamina’ from the movie Shakti (2002). Interestingly, you can see Shah Rukh Khan in both the numbers. Aishwarya not only looks fabulous but raised the bar by the sheer sexiness and raunchiness of her moves. An inimitable item number with no relevance to the story at all and filmed as a dream sequence of the main protagonist in the movie.
3. ‘Sheila Ki Jawani‘
Farah Khan is the ultimate entertainer, and to prove her credentials what better example than the item number to set the screens ablaze from her directorial blockbuster Tees Maar Khan (2010). Katrina Kaif is at the peak of her profession here – an item song which could clearly qualify as an “anthem” for women’s lib.
4. ‘Munni Badnaam Hui‘
Malaika’s other smasher, this time with Salman Khan, broke the records with every conceivable superlative. This hot number from Dabangg (2010) set not only the cash register ringing but tongs wagging like a dog’s tail as well. The comic element in the song set it apart as an item number which can certainly be termed as the mother of all item numbers.
5. ‘Chikni Chameli‘
This is the second of Katrina’s two top item songs mentioned in this list. The remake of the 1990’s classic Agneepath (2012) stood out one for Sanjay’s excellent portrayal of the villainous character and second for the sexy item number danced by Katrina with such gay abandon that it definitely puts to shame lesser mortals who claimed to know how to ‘move it’.
How could Deepika lay behind in the race of bagging the hottest item number of them all? ‘Lovely,’ without a doubt, trumped all attempts by the Katrinas and Malikas of Bollywood. Padukone beat them all hands down, with that on-point outfit, those perfect hair and a drooling body to die for. It does not become more hot and saucy than this item number from the movie Happy New Year (2014).
7. ‘Fevicol Se‘
Kareena Kapoor’s trailblazing effort put in the song ‘Fevicol Se’ from the movie Dabangg 2 (2012) competes every inch with Katrina, Deepika and Malaika’s dhamaka numbers, bordering on the outer limits of not only raunchiness but also bawdiness and tackiness to some. However, out and out a winner with all classes of the populace all the way from rickshaw drivers to DJs.
1) ‘Anarkali Disco Challi’ from the movie Housefull 2 (2012): Malaika as the dirty dancing girl in a crowd, a genre song further popularised by the Sunny Leone’s of B-Town.
2) ‘Kajra Re’ from the movie Bunty Aur Babli (2005): Desi hot number with father-in-law, tailor-made for any wedding season and husband.
3) ‘Yeh Mera Dil Pyar Ka Deewana’ from the movie Don (2006): Classy with a foot-tapping beat, a dance number from a bygone era.
The writer is an Assistant Web Editor and staff member at Daily Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets at @EeshahOmer