Item songs have been a Bollywood staple. They gave rise to item queens such as Helen, Bindu, Aruna Irani and many others. After the 70s, item songs went out of fashion. They didn't appear that frequently and the era of item queens ended. The 90s re-established the item song trend. These songs were provocative and sexy and sometimes starred the leading lady of the film. The only common theme to these songs is that the film's narrative would not suffer if these songs were omitted. So without further adieu, here are my favorite item songs of the 90s.
Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai - Khalnayak (1993)
I still remember when this song came out. This song was considered provocative and the suggestive lyrics added to the woes of women's groups who fervently protested the song. Needless to say, this song is probably Madhuri Dixit's most famous song. In the movie Khalnayak, Madhuri's character goes undercover to get information about Sanjay Dutt's character. It is during this song that she makes contact with Sanjay Dutt's character.
Baby Baby Mujhe Log Bole - Khuddar (1994)
This song originally started off as "Sexy Sexy Mujhe Log Bole." The original lyrics of the songs caused such a stir that they had to be changed after the fact. Along with the lyrics of the song, Karisma Kapoor was also dragged into the controversy. It's sad when the leading lady is dragged into the mix when she had nothing to do with the lyrics. Regardless, this song makes my list because it's catchy and for the first time had a good amount of English lyrics.
Gup Chup - Karan Arjun (1995)
Mamta Kulkarni - a name associated with sexiness and oomph for the 90s. She was no stranger to controversy. Its not surprising that she was a part of this suggestive song. Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Kajol got most of the recognition for Karan Arjun while most people forget about Mamta Kulkarni. She was cast opposite Salman Khan and did quite a good job. In this song, she is attempting to distract the villains while the brothers, Karan and Arjun, set their plan to defeat the villains in motion.
Humma Humma - Bombay (1995)
A.R. Rahman was making waves in Bollywood with his new style of music. Needless to say, Humma Humma certainly did not disappoint. The catchy chorus and the interesting vocals by Remo Fernandes made sure to hold attention. Bombay was a serious movie that dealt with the topic of the religious riots. This song takes place right after the main characters get married. This song provided just enough distraction from the seriousness. And yes that is Prabu Deva's brother and Sonali Bendre dancing it out!
Sheher Ki Ladki - Rakshak (1996)
Now this one is a typical item song. Raveena Tandon made waves by doing this song. She created a trend by doing this song. It won't be to much to say that this song created curiosity for this movie. I didn't watch this movie but I did watch this song countless times!
Koi Jaye To Le Aaye - Ghatak (1996)
Now I'm not sure if this song would be considered an Item Song but I'll add it to the list anyway. These stage show type songs were all the rage in the 90s. Not that the main characters were stage dancers or anything but they still had such a song. I still remember the craze that this song spawned! Mamta Kulkarni's name was on everyone's lips! She rocked this song and I'm sure no one else would have created as much noise as she did.
Le Gayi Le Gayi - Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)
Dil To Pagal Hai started out with this song. It really has nothing to do with the movie other than introduce the audience to Shah Rukh Khan and Karisma Kapoor. This song was another one of Karisma Kapoor's famous songs.
Chamma Chamma - China Gate (1998)
This song highlights the power of a good item song. An amazing item song creates interest for the movie, adds some drama to the movie and finally is extremely catchy. Chamma Chamma instantly created interest for China Gate. Urmila Matonkar performed this song perfectly. She was able to show off her dancing ability and create just enough oomph to keep viewers interested. Not only was thins song popular in India but it also was a part of a sequence in Moulin Rouge. Check it out here.
Main Kudi Anjani Hoon - Zor (1998)
I remember watching this song and thinking about how amazing Sushmita Sen was in it. This was an interesting song and for the first time Sushmita Sen took center stage and owned the song. It was also a time when Hema Sardesai, the singer of the song, was becoming increasingly popular for her catchy songs. All together, this is an enjoyable song and I'm sure one that Sushmita is proud to call her own.
Chaiyya Chaiyya - Dil Se (1998)
And this is how Munni got her start. This iconic A.R. Rahman number is the most recognized item song. This is the result of another Mani Ratnam and A.R. Rahman collaboration after Bombay. This is Malaika Arora's first item song. The visuals, the dancing and the music are what make this the best item song of the year!
Makhna - Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998)
The world was pleasantly surprised when Madhuri Dixit featured in this song from Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Back when Amitabh Bachchan was trying to get back into the public eye, he did a slew of films acting as the hero nonetheless. This was one of the few hits he had during those days. Regardless, Madhuri's presence and the fun song added quite a bit to the curiosity of the movie. This is one total fun and classic Item Song!
Dilbar Dilbar - Sirf Tum (1999)
With this song Sushmita Sen stepped into the world of Item Songs. Sirf Tum was a simple movie about lost lovers trying to find themselves a bit like Sleepless in Seattle. This song added some much needed brightness and oomph. Sushmita looks amazing and single-handedly created interest for the movie with this song.
Main Aayi Hoon U.P. Bihar Lootne - Shool (1999)
Watch and learn - That's what Shilpa Shetty must have said when she became a part of this iconic Item song from the 90s. No one can forget the raw sensuousness of this song. Shilpa does a fantastic job playing the seductive village belle in this song.
These are the item songs of the 90s that stand out to me. Do you have any favorites that I missed? Let me know in the comments! I would love to find others that I may have forgotten.