Including postage to Saudi Arabia
The twelfth issue of Motherland tackles a hyper-local phenomenon: the item number. Right from the high-camp of Helen and all the taboos she embodied, through to the high-gloss choreography and sinew of her present day counterparts, there is nothing more Indian than the item number. These song and dance sequences form one of Bollywood’s most defining characteristics, and have evolved from coy, suggestive numbers into unapologetically explicit, provocative sequences. At a time when these cameos, so disconnected from the plotlines of the films in which they appear, turn into speeding juggernauts of hype and publicity, we’re taking a look back at the origins of the item number, and onward to it’s future.