Indian Item Songs, Indian Cinema - Informative & researched article on Indian Item Songs, Indian Cinema
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Indian Item Songs, Indian Cinema
Indian Item Songs have now become an integral part of Indian movies that aims to make them a marketing strategy to promote the films.
 Indian Item Songs, Indian Cinema Bollywood films have now become accustomed to item songs or item numbers, in which an attractive female character called the item girl, often completely unrelated to the main cast and plot of the film, performs a captivating song and dance number in the film. In the earlier films, the item songs were mostly performed by courtesans, dancing for a rich patron or as part of a cabaret show. The popular dancer Helenwas eminent for her cabaret numbers. In modern films, item numbers are often inserted as discotheque sequences, dancing at celebrations or as stage shows. The music used in such sequences is the upbeat rocking music that attracts the audience. Item Songs are mostly done to increase the appeal and promote the movie and in most cases, has little or no relation with the original script. Scantily clad women are represented in beautifully set dance numbers to entice the audience.

The classical meaning of item song in Indian cinema used to be related as highly sensual songs with racy descriptions and suggestive lyrics. The Indian Item Songs would feature an attractive girl who appears in the film as a dancer, usually in a bar or nightclub, and is taken in the film only for the purpose of that song. Earlier this concept was often frowned upon. But, today it is a commonly used with hardly any negative connotations to it. Rather it is considered as an USP of the film to use a renowned female actress in an upbeat item song.

Indian Item Songs, Indian Cinema The term item song in modern Indian cinema has now been flexible to include almost all cheerful dance numbers involving either an appealing woman in shiny clothing, or a guest appearance from a star and is present in the movie for the length of that song only. It has become quite common for these item numbers to occur in the opening and closing credits of Bollywood films. However, these days, there are many exceptions. Even if the lead or supporting actress dances to an upbeat song in the movie, it is being considered as an item song. Recently Katrina Kaif played an important role in the movie Tees Maar Khan but she also appeared as the popular item girl with the song 'Sheila Ki Jawani"

History of Indian Item Songs
Item songs date long back in the history of Indian cinema starting with Padmini and Vyjayanthimala. It was popular actress Vyjayanthimala who established the concept of item songs in most of her films like Jewel Thief, Nagin, Devdas (1955), Madhumati, Sadhana, Amrapali and many more. But the actual pioneer of this trend is the popular actress and dancer, Helen, who did such musical songs from as far back as the 1960s, along with other glamour girls like Bindu and Aruna Irani in the 1970s.

Indian Item Songs, Indian Cinema Evolution of Indian Item Songs
In the late 1980s, the Ek Do Teen sequence was added to the movie, Tezaab as an afterthought and it transformed Madhuri Dixit and made her a superstar in later years. This song is popular even today and some consider Madhuri Dixit to be the pioneer of the modern trend. Actress Urmila Matondkar is one of the most successful item girls, featured in "Chamma Chamma" in the 1998 film China Gate. Although there are many songs that can be called item numbers in the early and mid 1990's, the term itself became closely associated with the name Shilpa Shetty, when danced for "Main Aai Hoon UP Bihar Lootne" in the movie Shool. Probably, this was the first time Bollywood actually referred to Shilpa as an Item Girl and the scene as a perfect item number.

Recent trends of Indian Item Songs
Malaika Arora Khanand Yana Gupta are more contemporary item number dancers of Bollywood who are renowned to win the ground, wherever they performed. They clearly declared to the media that they don't want to act in movies since they earn adequate amount of money by just doing one song. Abhishek Bachchan probably became the first Item Boy with his performance in the film Rakht; Shahrukh Khan was also brilliant in his performance as an item boy during the casting of Kaal. However, he earned the label of item number in the true sense of the word with "Dard-e-Disco" in the Farah Khan directed Om Shanti Om where he was shot in typical "item girl" manner with bare six pack abs. He also performed an item number for the lately released movie Krazzy 4. In this film, Hrithik Roshanalso has an item number during the end credits. Even Salman Khan continued the trend by appearing in item songs in films like Hello and Tees Maar Khan, Aamir khan in Delhi Belly and Ranbir Kapoor in Chillar Party.

Indian Item Songs, Indian Cinema In the current period, Indian Item Songs had attained great new heights and status with the songs "Munni Badnam" featuring the diva of item songs Malaika Arora Khan, from the film Dabbang and "Sheila Ki Jawani" featuring the leading actress Katrina Kaif in the film Tees Maar Khan. Even Raveena Tandon's item song in the recent film, Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap has been much appreciated by the audiences.

Many movies use item songs in their films as a marketing tool that is used as a trailer or a teaser to advertise the movie on television music channels. Sometimes reputable female and male actors offer special appearances to an item song to improve the film's marketability. Item numbers of this type are generally less exposing and have more of a appealing flavour.

Year Song Film
1971 Piya Tu Ab To Aaja Caravan
1973 Aaj Ki Raat Anamika
1975 Mehbooba Mehbooba Sholay
1978 Yeh Mera Dil Don

Malaika Aora Khan
Year Song Film
1998 Chaiya Chaiya Dil Se
2002 Mahi Ve Kaante
2005 Kaal Dhamaal Kaal
2007 Hath Rasiley Welcome

Yana Gupta
Year Song Film
2003 Babuji Zara Dheera Chal Dum
2004 oh! What A Babe Rakht
2004 Manmadhan Manmadhan
2005 Kadhal Yaanai Anniyan

Shahrukh Khan
Year Song Film
2005 Kaal Dhamaal Kaal
2007 Mast Kalandar Heyy Babyy
2007 Dard-e-disco om Shanti om
2008 Break Free Krazzy 4

Madhuri Dixit
Year Song Film
1988 Ek Do Teen Tezaab
1992 Dhak Dhak Beta
1993 Choli Ke Peeche Khalnayak

Urmila Matondkar
Year Song Film
1998 Chamma Chamma China Gate
2002 Aa Hi Jaiye Lajja
2007 Mehbooba Mehbooba Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag

Shilpa Shetty
Year Song Film
1999 Maine Aai UP Bihar Lootne Shool
2000 Macarena Kushi
2004 Saiyaan Mora Saiyaan Garv

Sushmita Sen
Year Song Film
2000 Mehboob Mere Fiza
2001 Shakalaka Baby Mudhalvan
2001 Shakalaka Baby Nayak

Aishwarya Rai
Year Song Film
2001 Ishq Kameena Shakti
2005 Kajra Re Bunty aur Babli

Isha Kppikar
Year Song Film
2002 Khallas Cmpany
2003 Ishq Samundar Kaante

Shamita Shetty
Year Song Film
2002 Sharara Shararai Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai
2002 Chori Pe Chori Saathiya

Koena Mitra
Year Song Film
2002 Khullam Khulla Road
2004 Saaki Saaki Musafir

Negar Khan
Year Song Film
2004 Ishq Khudai Rudraksh
2004 Chal Hat Shaadi Ka Laddoo

Esha Deol
Year Song Film
2004 Dhoom Machale Dhoom
2007 Sunday Sunday

Bipasha Basu
Year Song Film
2006 Beedi Omkara
2006 Namak Omkara

Parveen Babi
Year Song Film
1982 Jawani Jaaneman Namak Halaal
1982 Raat Baki Namak Halaal

Raveena Tandon
Year Song Film
1994 Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mhra
1996 Shahar Ki Ladki Rakshak

Year Song Film
2005 Kodambakkam Area Sivakasi
2007 Balleilakka Sivaji: The Boss

Kareena Kapoor
Year Song Film
2006 Yeh Mera Dil Don
2007 It's Rocking Kya Love Story Hai

Mallika Sherawat
Year Song Film
2007 Mayya Mayya Guru
2007 Mehbooba Mehbooba Aap Ka Suroor - The Real Love Story

Abhishek Bachchan
Year Song Film
2004 one Love Rakht
2006 mehbooba mehbooba [ram gopal verma ki aag]

Dia Mirza
Year Song Film
2006 Pyaar Ki Chatni Phir Hera Pheri

Hrishitaa Bhatt
Year Song Film
2008 Ya Baba My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves

Amisha Patel
Year Song Film
2008 Lazy Lamhe Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic

Hrithik Roshan
Year Song Film
2008 Break Free Krazzy 4

Karishma Kapoor
Year Song Film
1994 Sexy Sexy Khuddar

Year Song Film
1994 Ruk Ruk Ruk Vijaypath

Ramya Krishnan
Year Song Film
2003 Thodhu Varumaa Kaakha Kaakha

Amrita Arora
Year Song Film
2003 Dilli Ki Sardi Zameen

Lara Dutta
Year Song Film
2004 Aisa Jad Khakee

Rakhi Sawant
Year Songs
2003 Mohabbat Hai Mirchi - Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne
2005 Ankhiyan Na Maar - Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena
2006 Kismat Se Chalti Hai - Malamaal Weekly
2008 Dekhta Hai Tu Kya - Krazzy 4
2008 Bichua - 192 (film)

Former item girls in pop songs other than films, Rakhi Sawant and Meghna Naidu, for example, are now in high demand and very popular. Today, they are even being offered lead roles in commercially successful movies. As of 2007, Mallika Sherawat has become the most expensive "Item Girl".

(Last Updated on : 21/09/2013)
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