Celebrating the women who performed memorable item songs in Bollywood before the Munnis and Sheilas glamorised them
At a time when A list actresses hesitated to do item numbers, these artists performed some memorable item songs in Bollywood.
Actresses like Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor have glamorised item songs in Bollywood with their performances, but there was a time not long ago when A-list Bollywood actresses were hesitant to perform item numbers. Now, almost every other commercial Bollywood film has an item song to help sell the film.
While there have been several opinions when it comes to the portrayal of women in item songs, no one bothered to ask the artists who dance in these songs for their opinions.
During the #MeToo movement in 2018, filmmaker Karan Johar said that his films would no longer feature item numbers. On the other hand, Katrina Kaif—who has a number of item songs to her credit—said that she did not feel objectified while performing item songs, and added that she would continue to perform for the sheer joy of dancing.
So, here’s remembering the women who performed in item songs long before they were considered trendy.
1) Yana Gupta
The Czech model rose to fame with her performance in the song Babuji Zara Dheere Chalo from the 2003 film Dum. The film may not be one of the most memorable, but the song is hot on the dance floor even after 16 years.
2) Sushmita Sen
The former Miss Universe has not acted in many memorable films during the course of her career. However, the song Dilbar Dilbar from the 1999 film Sirf Tum became an instant hit, even though the film did not work. The song was remixed for the 2018 film Satyamev Jayate.
Click on the images of the dancers below to watch their performance.
3) Rakhi Sawant
She may now be more popular for her drama in front of the camera, but Sawant made her entry into Bollywood as an item dancer. She is a good dancer and has performed in several Bollywood item songs including Mohabbat Hai Mirchi from the 2003 film Chura Liya Hai Tumne, which was Zayed Khan’s debut film. Nobody really remembers the film anymore, but everyone still remembers the song.
4) Shilpa Shetty
Who can ever forget the song Mai aai hoon UP Bihar lootne? The peppy beats of the song will make everyone want to kick up their heels and dance. Shilpa Shetty is now a judge on the panels of many dance reality shows.
5) Shefali Zariwala
Shefali Zariwala rose to fame as the Kaanta laga girl with her performance in the popular song from the 2004 film Mujhse Shaadi Karogi.
6) Malaika Arora
Malaika Arora has reportedly said that she is aware that she is not much of an actor, but she enjoys dancing. Her skill has been reflected in many songs over the years, but the two songs that stand out are Chaiyya Chaiyya from Dil Se and Munni Badnaam Hui from the film Dabangg.