The history of item numbers date back to do beghaa zameen wherein Meena Kumari gave a guest appearance in one of the songs and then we had Helen to give us sizzling numbers, may it be piya tu ab to aaja or mungda mungda, and not to mention all were a huge success. At the same time we had Aruna Irani, Shashikala, Nadira and Bindu, dancing to the tune of music directors and choreographers.
And now the question rises as why dance numbers so popular among Indian movies, though the answer to this has been ambiguous since it started but few facts tend to support the rising demand.
These numbers act as the chorus in the plays and helps to lighten the pitch and therefore relax the audience. Most of the numbers of Helen were used for this purpose, and recently the same technique was applied in the movies like Bunty aur Bubly, wherein kajra re came when Big B was little down thinking of his past. Thus the first fact is refreshing the mood and lowering the pitch.
Secondly, it’s the easy way to success, who would have known Isha Koppikar or for that instance Yana Gupta. Simple you do one item number and you’re in the demand if it turns out to be good. Therefore you must have seen, leading actresses like Ravina, Shilpa, Namrata, Rekha, Sri Devi and even Aishwarya taking up item numbers just to increase their demand in the market. So we can say it’s the easy way to stardom.
Thirdly, these sizzling numbers had been the main attraction of the movie, I still remember Amitabh Bachhan telling that people used to ask how many songs are dedicated to Helen during her peak time. So we can say these songs are crowd pullers, hence are in great demand both by audience and directors. And the simple answer to this is kaal dhamal song with Malaika & King Khan. though there was not even a single song in the movie, this song was introduced as a treat to movie goers. And the irony is most of my friends went to theatres just for this hot number.
Why was babu ji zara dheere chalo was such a great success, simply because it didn’t demand any effort from your side to rock and roll. These songs are so catchy that you just listen and you’re ready to twist. May it be Khallas or kajra re they rae in great demand in all discos. But at the same time these songs put music directors to task. Movie may flop but songs should survive is the latest funda, therefore a movie like Shakti flopped but ishq kameena still runs in discotheque.
And lastly it’s the easy way out for the lyricists as they don’t have to use their brain juices and keep poetry flowing. What all they do is just to concentrate on catchy lines.
Just few days back I happened to watch Parineeta and the item number on Rekha was such a pain and more than that the one in James, so the trend is not enough, though easy even these songs demand little efforts.