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Malaika Arora defends doing item numbers, says she liked being an ‘object of desire’

Malaika Arora defended appearing in 'item songs', and said that doing those dance numbers made her feel liberated.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 23, 2022 9:40:14 am
Malaika Arora in a still from Chaiyya Chaiyya.

Malaika Arora said that she had no firm plan to become synonymous with ‘item songs‘ in films, but decided to take up Dil Se’s Chaiyya Chaiyya at the insistence of her ‘dear friend’, choreographer Farah Khan. Malaika, who has since performed many special dance numbers in major films, went on to defend ‘item numbers’, suggesting that they’re just a representation of the colourful, ‘larger-than-life’ nature of Indian films.

In an appearance on Namrata Zakaria’s podcast, Tell Me How You Did It, Malaika said that the offer was simply too good to refuse. She’d be working with not just Farah, but co-star Shah Rukh Khan, director Mani Ratnam, composer AR Rahman, and cinematographer Santosh Sivan. Plus, she’d be paid for doing something she already enjoyed.

“That’s what our films are all about, let’s not hide that fact, let’s not be shy about the fact. That’s what we celebrate in our films. Our films are a celebration of life, they’re larger than life. Yes, the concept now, in today’s day and age, has really dwindled. Because there’s just so much emphasis on not having to objectify, etc. But when I did it, and when I was a part of all those songs, for me it was liberating. It really was,” she said.

Malaika added, “I felt that I could just be on screen, as this woman and this object of desire. For me, it was very liberating. I never looked at it as, ‘Oh my God, you’re being objectified’. For me, it felt like I was in control. I’m anyway one of those women, I like being in control, I like being the master of my own destiny. I don’t like being told what to, how to, where to. It felt amazing.”

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She noted that the songs ‘really helped the economics’ of those films. Besides Chaiyya Chaiyya, Malaika has also appeared in hit numbers such as Munni Badmaan Hui, Anarkali Disco Chali, and many more. She also appears as a judge on reality shows such as India’s Best Dancer and India’s Got Talent.

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