The item number, a mainstay of movies today, has come a long, long way. Yesteryear actresses pushed the envelope just as much as girls today do. As the 100 year anniversary of Indian cinema approaches, we celebrate the most iconic item girls of our time here...
Lalita Pawar Before an unfortunate accident left Lalita Pawar's eye damaged, she was christened India's Greta Garbo by the press for her sexy moves on screen. Check out her outfit here from the 1935 movie 'Himmat E Marda'! Her moves in that film make her the kind of item girl that would give even the Bablis and Munnis of today, a run for their money
Cuckoo Moray Bollywood's obsession with fair skin dates back decades ago to when Cuckoo Moray, a dancer of Anglo-Indian origin with a flexible body that earned her the sobriquet 'rubber girl'. Her performances in songs sung by the late Shamshad Begum and in movies like 'Anokhi Ada' (1948), 'Patanga' (1949) and 'Aankhen' made her one of the decade's favourite dancers
Helen Another phoren girl who held sway over audiences for years was Helen. Her breakthrough number came with 'Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu' in 'Howrah Bridge' (1958) and there was no looking back from then on. She mesmerized us as the vamp and cabaret girl and set a precedent that hundreds would follow in her wake.
Bindu 'Mona Darling' was the darling of the audiences long before 'Zanjeer' thanks to her fantastic dancing skills. Her first bonafide hit was 'Mera Naam Shabnam' from 'Kati Patang' (1970)
Aruna Irani Along with Bindu and Helen, the third vamp to take Bollywood by storm in the 70s was Aruna Irani. With songs like 'Meri Beri Ke Ber Mat Todo' from 'Anokhi Raat', she left a lasting impression that helped her transition into a fantastic character actress in her later years.
Silk Smitha Meanwhile down south, the sensation that was Silk Smitha had hit the mainland and was creating waves. After making her debut in 1979, Smitha's sex appeal made filmmakers cast her in a number of cabaret and item numbers in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films. Her draw was such that films were sold solely because of the addition of a Silk Smitha song.
Koena Mitra Before that unfortunate nose job, Koena Mitra was the Bong beauty steaming up our screens in racy item numbers like 'Khullam Khulla' from Road (2002) and 'Saaki Saaki' from 'Musafir' (2004).
Mumaith Khan Bollywood aficionados may only remember Mumaith for her performance in 'Dekh Le' from the first Munnabhai film but she's danced her way into the hearts of audiences thanks to more than one South Indian blockbuster to her credit. From 'Manela Thintivira Kana' from 'Chhatrapati' (2005) to 'Ippatikinka Na Vayasu' from 'Pokkiri' (2007), Mumaith has left a mark across regional industries.
Malaika Arora Khan Even though we can't name a single role in which Malaika Arora Khan's shone in, she's kept us mesmerized for more than a decade now thanks to her sexy moves. Malaika's dancing talents have evolved over the years. She's gone from dancing on trains (Dil Se, 1998) to around poles (Kaante, 2002) to even seducing cops (Dabangg, 2010). She is THE item girl of our times and even though other actresses have tried hard to steal her title, she remains the undisputed queen.
Who's your favourite item girl? Let us know in the comments section!