Malaika Arora says she enjoyed being ‘this object of desire’ in ‘item numbers’, reacts to comparison with Helen
- Malaika Arora recently opened up about featuring in ‘item dance numbers’ and said that it felt ‘liberating’. She also reacted to being compared with Helen.
Malaika Arora said that doing ‘special item numbers’ in films at a time when not many were open to the idea, was a ‘liberating’ feeling. Speaking in a podcast, she also told the host that being compared to Helen is the ‘biggest’ compliment for her.
Malaika’s stint with special dance numbers in movies began with Chhaiya Chhaiya from Dil Se, in which she featured with Shah Rukh Khan. She said that when choreographer Farah Khan reached out to her, she just couldn’t let go of the offer.
When Namrata Zakaria told her on the Tell Me How You Did It podcast that nobody filled Helen’s shoes as a dancing diva the way that she did, Malaika responded: “Firstly, to be compared to Helen aunty is always the biggest, nicest, and most lovely compliment. She was one of a kind.”
Talking about the concept of ‘item number’ in films, Malaika added: “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.”
Malaika said she never felt ‘objectified’ due to her portrayal in the songs: “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.”
Apart from Chhaiya Chhaiya, over the years, Malaika has starred in dance numbers such as Anarkali Disco Chali, Hoth Rasiley and Munni Badnaam. She reunited with Shah Rukh in the song Kaal Dhamaal.