A dance number is a popular term in the commercial Indian and Pakistani cinema. There is no concrete definition but is a song, with catchy lyrics, chorus dancing, gaudy styling, halla gulla and attractive lyrics and choreography. Sometimes dance numbers are also called as item numbers but item numbers differs slightly from a regular dance number, as item numbers usually have a more glamorized, seductive appeal. To me every item number is an advanced form of a dance number, but not all dance numbers are item numbers.
In our country the entertainment started from cinema. Even before the creation of Pakistan, Lahore was a major hub of Punjabi and Hindustani (Urdu/Hindi) film making in Northern British India. After 1947, Lahore became part of Pakistan and film making continued in Pakistan from Lahore. Later Karachi and Dhaka also emerged as a centre of Urdu film making. Though we differ in many accounts with our neighboring India, but when it comes to the filmi entertainment majority of the Pakistani audience likes the entertainment formula of Bollywood. So it was no surprise that the style of Urdu film making in Pakistan was on the same patterns which were laid by Bollywood.
Dance number or item number is an essential part of Bollywood entertainment formula and in recent years many Bollywood item numbers have been very popular in Pakistan like Munni, Sheela to name a few. Pakistani Urdu films of 60’s and 70’s regularly have a dance number shot in a disco club (pronounced as kee-lub in our films) while Punjabi films mostly have a mujra dance number. Urdu and Punjabi film making eventually come to an end in Lahore till mid 2000. From past two three years film maker of Karachi have revived the urdu cinema of Pakistan by providing back to back successful films and thus Karachi is emerging as a new hub of Urdu film making.
2015 has been a successful year for Urdu cinema, where many Urdu films mainly produced in Karachi proved successful. The common thing in all these commercial films was dance numbers. Few of the dance numbers easily fall into the category of item numbers due to their treatment. So lets review the famous dance numbers of 2015.
Jalaibee was produced in Islamabad and released on 20th March 2015. The film featured a dance number Jawwani shot on Zhalay Sarhadi. Zhalay Sarhadi was playing the role of Bannu a club dancer, so the dance number was not a forced song in this film. The music was composed by Shuja Hyder and vocals are provided by Ghazal Ali and Naqash Hyder
Wrong No. was produced in Karachi and released on 19th July 2015. The film featured a dance number Selfiyan shot on Sohai Ali Aabroo. The situation of the song was that Laila (Sohai Ali Aabroo) is dancing on a family gathering in front of other family members. The music is composed by Waqar Ali, and her daughter Aliya Waqar provided the vocals.
Bin Roye was produced in Karachi and released on 19th July 2015. The film featured a dance number Balle Balle shot on Adeel Hussain and Mahira Khan. The situation of the song was the marriage of the Saman who is the sister of Saba (Mahira Khan). Its music was composed by Shiraz Uppal, while vocals are provided by Shiraz Uppal and Harshdeep Kaur.
Karachi Se Lahore
Karachi Se Lahore was produced in Karachi and released on 31st July 2015. The film featured three dance numbers. Its music composer was Shiraz Uppal
Tooti Frooti was shot on Ayesha Omar and Shahzad Sheikh, the situation of the song was a hypothetical festival of truck drivers some where in Pakistan, where to free one of her friend Ayesha Omar replaces the professional dancer and dances in front of the truck drivers. Overall it seemed a forced attempt in the flow of the story of the film. Vocals by Ayesha Omar and Shiraz Uppal
Rabbi Rali the other dance number of this film was shot on Mantaha Tareen Maqsood and Javed Sheikh it was a pure mujra song, where Mantaha Tareen Maqsood was palying the role of a dancer so it fits on her role in the film. Vocals by Zarrish, Ali Hamza
Lahoriya was shot on Ahmed Hassan, Yasir Hussain, Ayesha Omar and Shahzad Sheikh. Vocals by Shiraz Uppal
Dekh Magar Pyar Se
Dekh Magar Pyar Se was produced in Karachi but shot in Lahore and London, released on 14. The film featured one dance number Kala Doriya shot on the top model Aamnah Ilyas. Like the rest of the film does not make any sense. Its music was composed by Soch band.
Jawani Phir Nahin Aani
Jawani Phir Nahin Aani became the highest earning Pakistani film ever, released on 25 September 2015. Produced in Karachi it was shot in Karachi, Lahore and Bangkok. The film featured three dance numbers. Its music composer was Sahir Ali Bagga.
Jawani Phir Nahin Aani was shot on Humayun Saeed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ahmed Ali Butt, Vasay Chadhary and Mehwish Hayat in a disco club of Bangkok. Vocals by Mika Singh, Tehreem, Muniba, Shani-Arshad
Tarang was shot on Humayun Saeed and Sohai Ali Aabroo on the occassion of their engagement. Vocals by Sara Raza, Nabeel Shaukat Ali
Fair & Lovely ka jalwa was shot on Humayun Saeed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ahmed Ali Butt, Vasay Chadhary and Sohai Ali Aabroo on the wedding occasion of Humayun Saeed and Sohai Ali Aabroo in the film. Vocals by Sana Zulfiqaar, Sahir Ali Bagga
Halla Gulla was produced in Karachi and shot in Karachi and Bangkok, released on 25 September 2015. The film featured four dance numbers shot on different artists. Its music composer was Sahir Ali Bagga. Sadly its dance numbers were quite bold but despite this it failed to register success at the box office.
Halla Gulla was shot on Asim Mehmood, Munib Riaz Butt and Rachel. The vocals are provided by Sahir Ali Bagga, Kunal Ganjawala, Beena Khan
Kamla was shot on Mariam Ansari, vocals by Sana Ze
Thumka was shot on Mahnoor, Munib Riaz Butt and Asim Mahmood, vocals by Sana Ze, Kunal Ganjawala, Sahir Ali Bagga
Zero Meter was shot on Rubab vocals by Sana Ze, Malko, The video of this song is not released so only audio is shared here
So it ends the list of dance numbers in the films released in 2015. The readers of this articles can decide themselves which dance number falls in the category of an item number and which is merely a dance number. Though the trend of item numbers has been hugely criticized on social as well as print media still many upcoming commercial films like Hijrat releasing on the 21st January 2016 has an item number too and Ho Mann Jahan releasing on the 1st January 2016 has a dance number Shakkar Wandan.
Either we like it or not, but it is evident that dance numbers or item numbers will be very much part of Urdu films in the year 2016. Our film makers always put forth the reason of public demand while adding an item number. Can we request film makers, that if it is so essential to add a dance number please meet half way, add the glamour, loud dance, halla gulla, but avoid the degrading lyrics and seductive moves and dressing. The dance number like Balle Balle of Bin Roye, Jawwani of Jalaibee can be taken as an example which are colorful without going too loud. On the contrary Halla Gulla has four dance numbers and all were quite bold but still the film flopped badly proving that bold dance numbers are not a parameter of success.
There is enough to discuss about the dance numbers. Which dance number of 2015 is the best in your point of view? Do you like a dance number? Is it essential to have a dance number in the film? If a dance number is so essential for the story of the film, are there any limits it should adhere to?
Rashid Nazir Ali