Malaika Arora had become a synonym for ‘item songs’ at one point in Bollywood. The actress and dancer kicked off her special song journey with Dil Se’s Chaiyya Chaiyya and went on to appear in a slew of songs, including Munni Badnaam Hui and Mahi Ve. While item songs have been criticized for objectifying women, Malaika defended the songs she appeared in and said that it was a ‘liberating’ experience.
In an appearance on Namrata Zakaria’s podcast, Malaika defended the songs by suggesting that they’re mere representations of colourful, ‘larger-than-life’ nature of Indian films. She added that the concept of ‘item songs’ has dwindled in today’s time for there’s ‘so much emphasis on not having to objectify, etc.’ However, when she had signed up for the songs and performed for the camera, she felt liberated.
“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,” Malaika said. She also added that the songs have helped in the commercial side of the film.
While Malaika was a rage at one point, featuring in a special song in almost every film, the actress has appeared in fewer movies in recent years. Lately, she has been busy with her work on the small screen. Malaika is often seen as the judge of reality shows. The recent appearance as a judge was on India’s Best Dancer 2. The actress had judged the dance show alongside Terence Lewis and Geeta Kapur. She was forced to miss out on the finale due to her health.