Ramp models in item songs: a new trend catching on

Cultural Correspondent
Clockwise from top-left, Naila Nayem in Run Out, Piya Bipasha in Gungstar Returns and Ruma in U Turn.

Clockwise from top-left, Naila Nayem in Run Out, Piya Bipasha in Gungstar Returns and Ruma in U Turn.

Dhallywood loves to follow. From catchy dialogues to hit songs to celeb-inspired hairstyles, it follows anything and everything from films made in India.
The latest trend wafting in from outside the country is the use of item songs in commercial films. However, unlike Indian films, which pioneered the trend with known and less-known actresses, local directors are using ramp models as item girls.
Item songs are musical performances that have little to do with the subject of a film, generally used to increase its marketability, using highly suggestive lyrics, scantily-clad actresses and sexually provocative dance sequences.
‘Item songs are really an important part of commercial action-romance films as these songs are entertaining, and people love to watch them,’ said director Ashikur Rahman, who used such songs in his films Kistimat and Gangster Returns.
‘These songs make a film more acceptable to the general filmgoers, who demand to be entertained in return for their money,’ he added.
Director Sohanur Rahman Sohan argues that a film needs a variety of songs including item songs. ‘However, songs should be relevant to the film’s story and should not be put in only for the sake of putting in,’ he said.
The directors are casting ramp models to perform in the item songs instead of regular actresses, in the hope that they might cater more to the male fantasy with their usually tall, slender and attractive figures.
Some of the popular models being featured in item songs are Ruma, Airin Sultana, Peya Bipasha and Naila Nayem. ‘These models are physically attractive and can make smarter on-screen appearances. Besides, the filmgoers want to see fresh faces every now and then,’ said Ashikur Rahman.
The models, however, disagree. They say item songs are more than just a display of skin to them. ‘It is like an adventure where you have scopes to do and try something new,’ said Ruma, who danced with the hit item song Pagol in Syed Nabil Ashraf’s Rangdhonu.
‘Besides, the track was really nice and when the director played it for me, I was instantly hooked,’ added Ruma, who also performed as an item girl in Alvi Ahmed’s U-Turn.
Ruma thinks item songs should not be stigmatised since a large number of people want to watch them. ‘I don’t think there is anything wrong with item songs as these are mere tools of entertainment and they do not defy the conventions of our time either,’ she said.
Naila Nayem, who performed in an item song for the film Runout, observed that item songs should be considered with due importance. ‘I think people’s perception has changed a lot over the years with increased exposure to social media and foreign films. We are trying to follow Tallywood and Bollywood and can do even better,’ she said.
‘We have increased our movie budget and it reflects in the quality of songs. Even Bollywood stars are doing item songs these days, so I think this kind of songs can well be mainstreamed in our country too,’ she added.
Airin Sultana, who created quite a stir with her performance in Saif Chandan’s Cheleti Abol Tabol Meyeti Pagol Pagol, said it was not an item song for her.
‘My appearance in the song was for a few seconds only. Actually, it was another woman performing in the song and the hero (Shahed Sharif Khan) imagines me dancing instead of the girl. So, I don’t consider it a fully-fledged item number for me,’ she said.

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