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Suddenly there were no item girls but the glamour quotient never dipped. This was when the leading ladies decided that they had had enough of hiding in the shadows of the vamps. The then glamour goddess Kushboo, the spicy pair of Roja and Meena and the steaming red hot Rambha and Nagma saw to it that the silver screen is devoid of item girls. Glamour had become the heroine’s responsibility and anyone who was not willing to carry on the trend was shown the door or relegated to the odd one or two movies. Vamps were no longer required in Tamil cinema, nor were the item numbers considered important.
Then a leading heroine of the times, Gauthami did the unthinkable (at that time), an item song. Remember the sensational ‘Chiku Bukku’ from Gentleman, the song opened the floodgates, making it no longer unacceptable for a heroine to do item numbers. Most of the lead ladies followed suit and even tasted considerable success. A new trend started to emerge. There were still no traces of item girls; however lead heroines started doing item numbers.

The trend of leading ladies handling the glamour department and doing the occasional item number passed on safely to the hands of Simran and later Jyothika. Still there were no signs of the item girls.

Now things seem to be coming full circle. Yes, Namitha and Malavika have emerged as strong item girls, enjoying a huge fan base and contributing to the commercial success of their movies.

With the ‘leading’ ladies of Kollywood (Asin, Trisha and Shriya) reportedly refusing all offers given to them for item songs, the offered sum running up to many crores, producers are taking off to Mumbai in search of item girls. Mumaith Khan & ‘seena thana’ fame Ragasiya seem to be some of their latest discoveries. So after having survived many years in a camouflaged alter ego, the item girls are coming back in their true form. Like it or hate it, commercial cinema and item girls go hand in hand.

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