Category: Item Numbers

“Babuji Dheere Chalna” (Aar Paar, 1954)

When I looked up “item numbers” on Wikipedia, the page included a list of songs; “Babuji Dheere Chalna” was the oldest on the list. The sequence includes many elements we associate with item numbers: a […]

“Tooh” (Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, 2013)

Despite opening with Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor in beautiful wedding clothes, the lyrics start over playing over wiggling asses. But then a man is revealed to be the singer! Hilarious! He walks down the […]

“Laila Main Laila” (Raees, 2017)

What do item numbers do best? Push boundaries. Combine styles. The music is an updated version of “Laila O Laila” from 1980’s Qurbani. The music is a bit faster, more electronic and processed (the original […]

“Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu” (Howrah Bridge, 1958)

It takes at least a week to get this song out of your head. A week if you are lucky. And then you start mindlessly humming, and suddenly the song is back. “Mere Naam Chin […]

“Chammak Challo” (Ra.One, 2011)

“Chammak Challo” is an infectious, joyful earworm with a video featuring two attractive stars dancing and being charming. While not an item song in the traditional sense, it topped a number of charts around the […]

“Billi” (Na Maloom Afraad, 2014)

To celebrate adopting two more cats, I wanted to write about an item song with “billi” in the name. This was the only one I could find. But that’s cool, I haven’t seen many movies […]

“Ladna Jhagadna” (Duplicate, 1998)

“Keh Rahi Hai” is set in a nightclub and features a man dancing with a snake. Yet it’s a rather boring item number: the gangster’s girlfriend dances in skimpy clothes, and eventually he joins her […]

“Jai Ho” (Slumdog Millionaire, 2008)

“Remediation,” as defined by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, is the idea that new media achieves cultural significance by referring to and building on old media. One form of art or culture as reflected […]

“Tattad Tattad” (Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, 2013)

“Tattad Tattad” is my platonic ideal of an item number: catchy, fun, a performance by a gorgeous actor, colorful visuals. Because this is a male item number, the focus is on Ranveer Singh’s desirability and […]

“Girls Like to Swing” (Dil Dhadakne Do, 2015)

The YouTube thumbnail for “Girls Like to Swing” shows Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma smiling into the camera, beckoning the viewer to join them. The camera is tight on their faces, and Sharma’s hand rests […]