The concept of item song is not new to the movies. The Mahbooba Mehbooba item song of Sholay is still fresh in out minds. It continues today also. Producers are ready to pay a remuneration of Rs one core per item song if she is a popular heroine.
It’s usually the big budget films that cast lead actresses in item songs, since the makers don’t hesitate to pay hefty amounts. “When the regular item girls like Hamsa Nandini, Mumaith Khan, and the likes charge between Rs 20-30 lakh, producers are ready to shell out Rs 50 lakh to a leading actress for the same song.
The craze for ‘item songs’ in Telugu films is on the rise, even though not too long ago, the industry’s leading ladies considered it as a taboo.
But now that producers are shelling out huge sums, actresses are agreeing. For just a four-day shoot, the remuneration is almost on par with that of the film’s heroine.
Producers say they are often pressurised by distributors to include an item number by a well known star in film, to attract more viewers. This has worked in Bollywood too.
Tamannaah charged nearly Rs 75 lakh for her latest item number in the film Jaguar. “These item songs are always attractive and hype up the film, especially when a newcomer is the lead actor,” explains Anil Sunkara, one of the producers of Dookudu. He added that the film gets the necessary propaganda when they cast a leading actress for the same.
“Sometimes, distributors and exhibitors pressurise us to sign a big actress for a special song,” he says. They had roped in Shruti Haasan for their film Aagadu opposite Mahesh Babu. According to a source, the makers paid her Rs 40 lakh for the song.
In the recently released Janatha Garage, Kajal Aggarwal did an item number with Jr NTR. The makers paid her nearly Rs 50 lakh for the appearance, and it became the highlight of the film. “I don’t want to use the word ‘item’, so I call it a special song. I want to highlight that it is a decent song and that’s why I requested my producers to cast a leading actress.” says Koratala Siva, director of the film.
Accepting the fact that she did charge a high fee for the song in Jaguar, Tamannaah says an item song adds glamour to the film. The actress had earlier done item songs in Alludu Seenu and Speedunnodu. Word has it that in both the films, she charged nearly Rs 1 crore. “Bellamkonda Suresh had paid an advance of `1 crore to Tamannaah to star opposite his son Srinivas in a film.