Actress Hebah Patel’s racy number Dinchak in Red, and the Bhoom Bhaaddal number by Apsara Rani in Krack, both of which hit the screens during the Sankranti festival, have clicked big time with the masses.
The divas matched their steps with hotshots Ram and Ravi Teja respectively, and drew appreciative whistles from the theatre audiences. And now, the anchor-turned-actress Anasuya Bharadwaj will showcase her oomph in an item number in Chaavu Kaaburu Challaga starring Karthikeya Gummakonda.
“Now-a-days, well-mounted and racy item songs are triggering a lot of hype on social media. I immensely enjoyed performing Dinchak,” says Hebbah.
She feels doing item songs once-in-a-while along with regular acting is a sort of ‘expansion of brand equity.’ “Picking the right ones is key,” she adds.
The craze for special songs certainly seems to be growing, and has attracted even A-listers like Tamannaah, Kajal Aggarwal, Shriya Saran and Shruti Haasan in the last few years. At one time, top-rung actresses were reluctant to do special songs in other films since they were uncomfortable with the term ‘item number’, but it’s a different story now.
The entry of top-league actresses has raised the bar on low-brow item songs and they have been rechristened as ‘special songs’ in Tollywood. The richly-mounted songs are being compared with Bollywood item numbers. Some of the songs that topped popularity charts include Tamannaah’s Daang Daang in Sarileru Neekevvaru and Swing Zara from Jai Lava Kusa, Kajal Agarwal’s Pakka Local (Janatha Garage), and Shruti Haasan’s Junction Lo in Aagadu.
“No doubt, glam divas have raised the bar on special songs in Telugu movies and it augurs well for big ticket extravaganzas. Also we are spending lavishly and promoting them on par with Bollywood numbers, so top-rung actresses are showing some interest,” says ace producer Ravi Shankar Yellamanchili, who roped in A-lister Pooja Hegde for a swashbuckling number Jigelu Rani in the blockbuster Rangasthalam.
Elaborating on the trend, Ravi says, “Sometimes, special numbers by actresses who are not part of the film, triggers a lot of curiosity and hype. Also directors like to place the song at the crucial juncture of the movie to provide some relief to the audience from the serious mood of the film and cater to the masses as well as to the youth.”
Supporting the trend of actresses turning ‘item girls’, director Teja says, “Nothing wrong in inserting item numbers in commercial movies since even ace filmmaker Mani Rathnam had item songs in his movies However, it all depends on how a filmmaker intends to design and place it.”
Tongue-in-cheek, he says, “Now-a-days, top heroines are scantily clad even in romantic numbers, and their doing item songs doesn’t come as a surprise.” So, the new challenge for filmmakers, he says, is making an item number even hotter. Teja had glam actress Payal Rajput shake her leg for a foot-thumping number Bulreddy in his latest release, Sita.
Much sought-after dancing queen Hamsa Nandini feels, “Special songs and item songs are as different as chalk and cheese.” She says, “I am doing only special songs since they are shot elegantly and designed for a purpose in a movie and at times they also carry the story forward, whereas item songs are loaded with sexual overtures and meant to titillate masses.”
The actress showcased her dancing abilities in special songs like Mirchi and It’s time to Party. “Just a week ago, I declined an special song since I wasn’t happy with the concept. Dancing is not easy as it looks — it is a special skill. Hence, dancing is not meant for every actress,” she says....