“Name few social workers” asks interviewer (Brahmanandam) in Chirunavvutho movie and the interviewee (hero Venu) answers “Jyothi Lakshmi, Jayamalini, Silk Smitha…” – the interviewer shocks & hero rocks!
We too were quite impressed with Trivikram’s logic behind the dialogue and felt like commemorating the most popular item girls who adorned our Telugu celluloid and shined surviving the stiff competition and stereotyping in and outside the industry. Here are few phenomenal “social workers” (according to Trivikram’s logic) of our TFI:
Jayamalini/Jyoti Lakshmi: This power packed item dance duo sizzled on screen for nearly two decades. Megastar Chiranjeevi himself mentioned in an interview that they are his inspiration in dance! There are some shocking moments in Tollywood where many heroes were dominated in dance by this stunning duo! It would be a huge list to name their top songs which became all time favourites of many youngsters those days.
Anuradha: This velvety looking dancer was the immediate next choice after the trendsetting duo during 70s era. She had an aura of composedness and could carry any skimpy costume with great ease! She also has many memorable item numbers and danced with upcoming heroes of that age such as Sobhan Babu as well.
Silk Smitha: While most of the item dancers are quite relatively loud in their presence, this dusky actress rocked South Indian Cinema with her mellowed antics and childish voice. She oozed sensuousness in every move and not to forget, even celestial beauty Sridevi was all praises for her style and appearance off the screen! She has the credit of dancing with all the top heroes of Tollywood and was fortunate to get some memorable roles to showcase her acting skills too. She was such a trendsetter that a film titled “Dirty Picture” was made upon her that eventually became yet another trendsetter.
Disco Shanti: She is a thunderous dancer and could sport any modern costume with grace and poise. At a point, Shanti (Fondly called “Disco” Shanti) was perhaps the only dancer who could match the lightening speed of Chiranjeevi in his dances and one cannot forget songs like Bangaru Kodi Petta and Bolo Bolo Rani which rocked the charts those days.
Alfansa: This cat eyed beauty became a top dancer of the 90s and has tremendous screen presence and glamorous looks. She is popular for songs like Sambarala Thotalo in Venkatesh’s Preminchukundam Raa.
Mumtaz: The chubby dancer was first noticed with her cute antics in Pawan Kalyan’s Kushi and also danced with him later in Attarintiki Daaredi. Her best remembered song is undoubtedly Gemini title song along with Victory Venkatesh.
Yana Gupta: This international model is a jet speed dancer and stunningly pretty at the same time. She ruled the item dance arena in Telugu as well as Tamil film industries for few years. However, the most popular song of hers would be Aakalesthe Annam Pedatha in Shankar Dada Zindabad.
Mumaith Khan: The quirky dancer became a hot sensation when she shook a leg with Prince Mahesh Babu for Ippatikinka Naa Vayasu in all time hit Pokiri. She became a firsthand choice for any item song after that and stole the hearts of many young men with her stupendous dance moves. She later rose to stardom and featured in full-length heroine roles like Misamma IPS and is finally back to her item song segment.
Malaika Arora Khan: The nationwide popular dancer Malaika also had her presence felt in Tollywood by dancing with Mahesh Babu in Athidhi along with the smash hit Kevvu Keka in Pawan Kalyan in Gabbar Singh! Mesmerized by the “Munni” magic in Dabangg, GS makers were particular about roping her up for Kevvu Keka as well. Even at the age of 40s, her ravising beauty, elan and grace in dance moves make people skip a beat!
Hamsa Nandini: Unlike others who started off as item girls and turned heroines, this lanky beauty rose to stardom otherwise. She proved her mettle as a seductress though she couldn’t earn proper hits as a heroine. Her song in Pawan Kalyan’s Attarintiki Daaredi gave her the much needed milege and she never looked back after that. She has a peppy look and carries herself with utmost grace and perfection in which ever seducing character she does!
However, heroines in today’s world carry that extra edge of being the “item girl” thereby erasing the need of one. While being an actress itself is a daunting task in a male dominated industry, imagine the plight and confidence of item girls (since the black and white era) who made a huge presence in Tollywood! We always have a special place for an item girl in our hearts but unfortunately take their lived for granted with some prejudice. Hope the outlook changes with the changing world. #HappyWomen’sDay to them as well!