Item numbers have history of more than 50 years in the Telugu film industry. The trend of special songs, featuring beautiful women dancing in revealing clothes, started in 1950s and it was basically used to lend support to the marketability of the film and they did not have any connection to the plot.
This trend of having an item song in films has continued till today and it has remained as the main trick to generate easy publicity. These days, it has become one of the main mass masala elements and a 'must feature in Tollywood. In a bid to woo audience, every filmmaker plans for one item song, which has catchy and suggestive lyrics, trendy music, sexually provocative dance and feature them in the trailers.
The origin of the term 'item number' is obscure and it derives its meaning from the filmy Mumbai slang item, which means a sexy woman. A female actor, singer or dancer, who appears in an item number, is known as an item girl. There are item boys as well. But item girls are very popular than item boys in Telugu films.
However, Tollywood has produced more than thousand item numbers in span of 50 years, but very few of them have been successful and remained fresh & green in the minds of film goers. 'Ringa Ringa', 'Aa Ante Amalapuram', 'Ippati Kinka', 'Naa Peru Kanchana Mala', 'Diyalo Diyala', 'Poovai Poovai', 'Silakemo Sikakulam' and 'Bad Boys' are some hottest and ever green item numbers from Telugu.