Wiki even has a definition of an item number! Is it a phrase in the Oxford dictionary yet? I would not be surprised by the answer to that one.
Heck some talented dudes out there have even compiled a list of Item Numbers in Indian cinema. On WikiPedia! No, really! It is a quite an exhaustive one. Detailed even. The criteria might be a bit vague there. But this argument is not what the blog is about. So what is it about, you might ask. Bataataa hu, bataataa hu, bhai.
The blog is about 3 item numbers that are not featured, yet, in the above Wiki list. They are on my repeat-view worthy list of Item numbers.
I love to love you baby - Not the Donna Summer hit. This one is from the critically acclaimed Saahib Biwi Aur Gangster. It has been sung energetically and sometimes in well-timed whispers by Rekha Bhadwaj. She already has some Vishal Bhardwaj item numbers in her cap. But, this one is composed by Anuj Garg, about whom I do not know anything else. The song starts with the director of the movie, Tigmanshu Dhulia, doing a sound check on the stage's mike, while a Shiny Alex (Lola Kutty's assistant) gapes at him from under his curly mop. Wow, so much trivia already and the song has not yet started. The item girl has not yet arrived. The legs of a damsel enter the frame. Who is she, we wonder. She sashays down the stage in her ghagra choli, she flirtatiously winks at the Saheb, she directs the band to get on with it and she takes it ON after the dance starts. It is Mukti Mohan, the talented sister of Shakti Mohan who won the Dance India Dance competition a couple of years back. She is joined by Bharat Bendre who is also the co-singer of the song. He is that guy in pink who gets a solo vocal and also gets to do a synchronised Mithun step with the lead dancer. He also get a tapli from Saheb's right hand man for tying to flirt with the Biwi's maid. The song kind of summarises the whole movie from the point of view of the Biwi. The on-screen rendition is interspersed with dialogues and the quick flashbacks. But one does not lose the connect with the song and drums even in the of the twists that unfurl though it. (ok ok... it was the most predictable twist). All this writing makes me go to 1h46m into the movie and view it again. I wonder who is the lyricist.
Aankh milaaungi - Khalid Mohammed brought together Asha Bhosle, Anu Malik, Sameer and Saroj Khan for this song. Karisma Kapoor dances out of her skin in a Mumbai discotheque, Velocity. A tight black leather shining in the disco lights tries to give her a look that is completely indifferent to the character of Fiza that she plays. Her efforts in this song serve enough to get her the Filmfare award. I first heard this while traveling in a rickshaw in Mumbai. Imagine the wub-woofer going dhing dhi dhing and the treble going chinksy-chi-chinx at full volume as you sit in the enclosed back seat of the rickshaw. You can resist it for the first few seconds, but after the first stanza, you are sucked into it, the song is hammered into the head and you realise that you are still humming it even after you have entered home. The movie also had the unforgettable qawali by A R Rehman, which we will leave for another post.
Abhi toh main jawaan hu - Before 'Fevicol Se', there was 'Abhi toh main...'. Before Mamta Sharma, there was Alisha Chinai (and before here was Ila Arun). Before Kareena Kapoor was Nisha Kothari as Ria in the utterly forgettable remake of Collateral. The music-duo Sajid-Wajid recently rehashed the song into what became the item song for Dabangg 2. No, really... its the same bass, the same beats, the same tempo even. No wonder the music album for Dabangg 2 was completed in 9 hrs straight! Lets get back to the song that is also the opening sequence of 'The Killer' and gets everyone in the stalls of the New Vijay theatre lifting their lungis and dancing in the aisles. "ONCE MORE", they all shout and the projectionist gives them what they want because there is nothing else in the movie that can give them value for their Rs. 25. How could someone who is associated with the direction department of the Krrish series make something like this!
By the way, 'Item' is also a word whose letters make 'Emit', 'Mite' and 'Time'; a starting letter for each letter.