|Item Numbers - Bollywood at its best!
|Yep, they're the song and dances you think about for days!!! Sabrina takes us into the most popular dances in Bollywood today!
Flashback to 1996: Raveena Tandon's Shaher Ki Ladki, an item number featuring her opposite Sunil Shetty, was a rage. Such a rage, in fact, that Karisma Kapoor, the heroine of the film in question (Rakshak), demanded that she be given a Sundara Sundara to assure that Raveena would not steal her thunder. Nevertheless, it was Shaher Ki Ladki that topped the charts and revived Ms. Tandon's entire career. The song also catapulted the industry into a new trend, known as the 'item number' trend. The motto of this trend? Pay a high-profile actor and/or actress to do a little number in your film, regardless of whether or not the song is relevant to the film in any way, and promote that one song more than the film itself... it will, after all, guarantee you a bumper opening. Since then, the industry has witnessed more than a handful of popular item numbers, namely Urmila's Chamma Chamma (China Gate) and Aahiye (Lajja), Sushmita Sen's Mehboob Mere (Fiza) and Shakalaka Baby (Nayak: The Real Hero), Sonali Bendre's Mujhe Saajan Ke Ghar (Lajja), and Shilpa Shetty's Main Aayi Hoon UP Bihar Lootne (Shool). Similar to other previous years, 2002 followed the item number trend and produced perhaps more item numbers in one year than any other year of the past. You would think filmmakers had no trust in their own films to do well, judging by how many producers resorted to item numbers as a box office draw. Interestingly enough, no item number had enough power to turn a film into a hit. And with that, a look at the significant item numbers of 2002...
Featuring: Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai
Karde mushkil jeena ishq kamina...who other than the popular pair of Shahrukh and Aishwarya can make such lyrics work? In what was advertised as his 'dynamic role' in the film Shakti, Shahrukh played somewhat of a tapori/gunda who helps Karisma and her son flee her tyrannical father-in-law; in his free time, however, he dreams of Ash, hence the entry of the Ishq Kamina number. A rather raunchy number, the song was the perfect foil to their pairing in Devdas.
Featuring: Isha Koppikar
The song that started it all, Khallas basically shaped actress Isha Koppikar's career. With Asha's sultry vocals and Isha turning sexy siren, the number swept the nation and was undoubtedly the most popular item number of the year (not to mention took over all the discos and pubs in the country).
Film: Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai
Featuring: Shamita Shetty
After a long hiatus post-Mohabbatein, Shamita fired back with another one of the most popular item numbers of the year...and boy did she sizzle. Following sister Shilpa's footsteps, Shamita gave the other item number lasses a run for their money.
Film: Aankhen: A Dangerous Game
Featuring: Akshay Kumar and Bipasha Basu
God forbid our undisputed khiladi himself was to do a film with no romantic interest. Though there was no love story involved in this crime caper, Akshay couldn't do without a little bit of romance...enter Bipasha. After rocking the nation with their hit number Mehbooba Mehbooba from the film Ajnabee, Akki and Bips ruled the top of the charts once more with the racy Gustakhiyan Hain; incidentally, Akki found himself in trouble when he invited many rumors about a possible affair with Bipasha by recommending that she do the dance number and suggesting her name to several other producers as well.
Film: 23rd March 1931 - Shaheed
Featuring: Aishwarya Rai
When you have some three other films with the same subject as yours, all releasing around the same time, how can you guarantee an audience for your own film? The answer is simple...Aishwarya Rai. Flying high on the success of Devdas and Ishq Kamina, Ash added another feather to her cap...a colorful, graceful dance in the form of Jogiya Ve. Even if The Legend of Bhagat Singh was a far superior product to this venture, this was one thing 23rd March 1931 - Shaheed certainly had that Rajkumar Santoshi's magnum-opus was missing.
Chori Pe Chori
Featuring: Shamita Shetty
Director Shaad Ali, a self-confessed fan of Shilpa Shetty, originally wanted Shilpa to do the sexy dance number. It was after the rushes of Shamita's groundbreaking Sharara Sharara that he realized she fit the song like a glove, not to mention make would fit into the young aura surrounding the film. Interestingly enough, the song had already been shot with Maria Goretti, only to be re-shot with Shamita later. Maria Goretti's version does, however, figure among the special features of the official DVD.
London Mein India
Film: Yeh Hai Jalwa
Featuring: Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan
The generally loveable duo was back for a few scenes and a song together; Sanjay was originally supposed to star in Yeh Hai Jalwa along with Salman, but that project was shelved and the film was re-scripted into Family No. 1, until it finally reclaimed its original name soon before its release.
Featuring: Ashima Bhalla
Not just any model, this one...she made her debut in the film Pyaar Zindagi Hai and has bagged several prestigious offers down South.
Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen
Featuring: Koena Mitra and Ganesh Acharya
Though most of us would prefer if ace choreographer Ganesh Acharya would stray from appearing in his songs, he's all set to get down with another model in the song Khatra Khatra from the forthcoming thriller Koi Hai.
Featuring: Malaika Arora-Khan
Kaante was Malaika's first attempt at acting. She made a rather disastrous debut in the form of a guest appearance in the Bobby Deol/Rani Mukherjee release, Bicchoo. Lucky for her, she was more appreciated this time around.
Featuring: Sanjay Dutt and Isha Koppikar
A film shot in the United States with a huge star cast, not to mention a Malaika Arora-Khan dance number...what better than to add the Khallas girl, Isha, as icing on the cake? And that is just what director Sanjay Gupta did...to Isha's benefit, of course. After all, without Khallas and Kaante, she would have never signed some of the projects she does have on hand. Every artist does have to begin from somewhere now, don't they?
So there it was...the list of the significant item numbers of last year. However, though this may be the end of the article, it is only just the beginning of the 'item number' trend. 2003 has already seen its fair share of item numbers, including Babuji (Dum) and the title song of Love At Times Square, which features Salman Khan. Salman also has to his name a song appearance in Raveena Tandon's production debut Stumped. Directors of forthcoming thrillers have been quick in adding saucy numbers to their films, such as Khatra Khatra (Koi Hai) and Mohabbat (Sandhya). So there you have it, folks. This is certainly one trend that is here to stay...
Do you have any thoughts on this? Feel free to send Sabrina an e-mail @ Sabrina Siddiqui.