KARACHI: Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world, both in terms of profits generated and the number of films produced. In contrast, the Pakistani film industry has only just taken flight after decades of mediocre films that were shunned by discerning audiences.
One of the key factors that has contributed to the success of Bollywood films has been the "item numbers" - a song featuring a scantily clad "item girl" seductively dancing to provocative lyrics. The song itself usually has little to no link with the plot, the sole purpose being only to draw crowds to the theatre.
Realizing the value of item songs, Pakistani film directors seem to have taken a leaf from Bollywood film makers and it appears that every new production in the Pakistani cinema now features an item number. Despite the criticism and hate directed towards the artists, it cannot be denied that the locally produced item numbers have become the most watched songs in the recent months.
Here’s a look into some of our local item girls and how they stack up against their Bollywood counterparts.
1. Billi never fails to remind you of Beeri
Mehwish Hayatt grabbed the audiences with her sizzling item number Billi in the recent hit Na Maloom Afraad. Set against the same backdrop of a local circus scenario surrounded by gangsters and enthusiasts, Billi is reminiscent of Bipasha Basu’s Beeri for Vivek Oberoi and Saif Ali Khan starrer Omkara where Bipasha was seen grooving on the desi beats of Beeri Jaliye Ley.
Watch Mehwish Hayat’s Billi:
Compare this with Beeri:
2. Mahnoor & Mathira, vs. Katrina & Mehek Chahal
The forever-young Mahnoor Baloch and notorious for her gujji gujjis, Mathira stunned the audiences with their combined item number Teri Hi Kami in Humayoun Saeed’s Mein Houn Shahid Afridi. While Mathira embraced the Arabic attire reminding you of Mehek Chahal in Le Le Maza from Salman Khan's film Wanted, one couldn’t let Mahnoor’s resemblance to Katrina Kaif in Zara Zara Touch Me go unnoticed.
Watch Mahnoor and Mathira’s item number here:
See how it stacks up against Le Le Maza Re...
...and Zara Zara Touch Me here:
3. Jawaani – the Pakistani version of Madhuri’s Ghagra
No discussion of item numbers is complete without a discussion of Jawani starring Zhalay Sarhadi. The song may not qualify under the category of item numbers given that Zhalay is fully clothed, but you can't help but be reminded of Madhuri’s performance in Ghaghra in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, even if Zhalay does not quite match Madhuri’s perfection in dance.
Watch Zhalay in action here...
...and Madhuri here:
4. Saba Qamar, our very own Sheila
Famed for her drama serials, Saba Qamar rose to controversy after the trailer of her item song Mastani for an upcoming movie 8969. While no particular dates have been announced for the movie’s release, Saba Qamar’s Mastani went viral on the internet. Even the trailer claimed ‘Bollywood has Sheila, we have Mastani’. While the dance moves and tracks can't match Farah Khan's efforts in Sheila, Mastani is sure to move grab audiences with her moves.
Watch for yourself how she compares to Katrina:
5. Ayesha Omar, the Pakistani answer to Fevicol
Even though the trailer for Ayesha Omar’s item number in the forthcoming Karachi say Lahore is barely a few seconds long, people are all psyched about what could be the local version of Kareena Kapoor’s Fevicol. With a sneak peak that shows candid Ayesha Omer shaking on the beats of the number, the song is expected to beat the records of the recent item numbers in the industry.
Watch the sneak peak of Ayesha Omar’s Item number in Karachi Say Lahore:
Compare this with Fevicol: