“Item numbers” weren’t always like this. They weren’t designed to be seductresses surrounded by salivating guys. The Honton Pe Aisi Baat of the 1950s had the same sexual urgency as Piya Tu, Ab Tou Aaja. As times changed and sexual themes became more acceptable, songs like Jumma Chumma De De and Choli Ke Peeche changed how evocative music was played and seen.
Gulzar’s Kajra Re and Beedi were followed by Sheila Ki Jawaani and Munni Badnaam Hui. The first caused audiences to feel “cheated” by Tees Maar Khan. So, Pakistani filmmakers, who were trying to “revive” their own film industry, used the model and never looked back.
While Pakistani viewers didn’t adore Ayesha Omar and Mehwish Hayat for Tutti Fruiti and Billi as much as Malaika Arora and Katrina Kaif for Sheila and Munni, item songs generated buzz for Karachi Se Lahore and Na Maloom Afraad. Even Chaudhry — the Martyr — perceives Aatish as a “performance song,” as Amna Ilyas puts it.
The model feels the current definition of “item song” doesn’t do it credit. Amna told The Express Tribune that society has created a bad impression of item songs. She said, “Performance music flavors a film.” She said they’re supposed to entertain the audience with a catchy melody and showcase a skilled dancer.
Amna explains why she took the number despite the controversy. “We link subcontinental flicks with their music. Once upon a time, viewers could witness Barbara Sharif or Resham Jee sing and dance in a different venue without any backlash. She added, “Music and dance have always been the hallmarks of Pakistani and Indian film success.”
Aatish failed at the box office, yet it has over a million YouTube views. Sunidhi Chauhan and Ali Quli Mirza sing the Wahab Shah-choreographed, Hunny Haroon-styled tune. Amna appears as a fiery femme fatale. When an artist puts their blood, sweat, and tears into something, the public should praise it, not denigrate it.
The Baaji star criticized Pakistani viewers for praising international stars for bold choices that would humiliate the country if a native artist made them. “Our fans love Bollywood’s performance songs, but when local talent does the same, they hate it. “That’s unfair,” she said.
Amna: “Mehwish Hayat’s dancing in Billi was perfect.” Katrina Kaif for Sheila Ki Jawaani and Ayesha Omer for Tutti Fruitti. Everyone deserves praise. I’d encourage our audiences to praise local artists. We sacrifice a lot to make children happy. Before joining the hate train, remember this. Amna talked about the work that went into Aatish and how comfortable and enlightening it was. From rehearsals to wardrobe fittings to two days of filming the song, it was thrilling and instructive. The best thing was having a friendly team.
The first song in Pakistan to have three wardrobe changes. Amna’s dance takes stamina because she must constantly move, jump, and glide. “The task initially scared me. As she rehearsed and absorbed the song’s beat, things fell into place. Creative freedom was given to me by Wahab Shah, Hunny Haroon, Arshad Khan, and Aali Khan. We worked together to achieve our vision. “We drew inspiration from Arabic cabaret dancers to highlight each appearance,” said the model. Amna said she takes pride in “knowing the public’s perception of things,” so she was prepared for Aatish’s release. When you take pride in your work and realize it’s a task, you execute it wholeheartedly no matter the cost. I believe women can do anything they want. They deserve respect, whether they perform on stage or join the army. “