Model turned actor Malaika Arora, who made her mark in Bollywood with the hit item number “Chhaiya Chhaiya” from the 1998 film Dil Se, says she gets nostalgic at the mere mention of the song.
“I still remember that shoot, I still remember every step and every moment and it just makes me smile,” the 39-year-old says. The song went on to become a super hit and is still the favourite of many across the globe, for who can forget Shahrukh Khan and Malaika Arora, dressed in a ghaghra choli and wearing minimal make-up, dancing on top of a moving train in the phenomenal number.
“Chhaiya Chhaiya” is the joint venture of film-maker Mani Ratnam, music composer AR Rehman, lyricist Gulzar and singers Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi along with the hard work of choreographer Farah Khan. The song has even bagged the ninth position in a poll conducted by BBC Worldwide Service International in 2003, even though the movie itself failed at the box office.
The six minute and 54 second long song that took four-and-a -half days to complete is actually based on a Sufi folk song “Thaiyya Thaiyya” by poet Bulleh Shah. The train track where the song was shot has become a tourist attraction and the train ride through the Blue Mountains in the Ooty hills is famous for it too.
“Since the terrain was dangerous and the train was moving, we made sure we were harnessed, so we would not have an accident. Of course, there were times when people did fall off the train,” said the item girl in an interview with the Times of India.
Choreographer-turned-actor Farah Khan, who has recently debuted in the lead role as Shirin in Shirin Farhad ki Toh Nikal Padi, says that Malaika’s sense of rhythm is remarkable and so are her inputs in terms of costumes and moves. It’s very easy to conceive an item number for her.
Malaika was also all praise as far as the production of the song goes. “I think the manner in which the song was shot was a novel experience. Farah is a brilliant choreographer and she gave me steps that complimented me. Mani Ratnam is a brilliant director, the music by Rahman was great and having Shahrukh for a co-star was a definite bonus!”
The item girl has gone on to do several more numbers, so when asked about her personal favourite, she said: “I would definitely say ‘Munni Badnaam Hui’ from Dabangg.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2012.
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