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Kollywood is known for its movies that appeal to the masses. Most filmmakers of Tamil films have always made sure that their movies are watched by all age groups. But that fact has never affected the inclusion of bold roles and item numbers in Kollywood.
If you think that item songs are for the current generation then the idea is baseless; for item songs in Tamil films have a history that goes back as far as 1936. Item songs and its dream girls who can make dead men to drop their jaws have always existed not only in Kollywood but also in various others films across our nation.
In an era where item numbers rule Tamil films like never before, it is important not to ignore the ladies who had started the trend and still remains ever so gorgeous in all the songs for which they have shaken their legs that makes everyone to sway even today.
T. R. Rajakumari
T. R. Rajakumari's first movie was Devdas which released in 1936. The movie saw the enchanting actress essay the role of Chandramukhi and was probably the first item girl of Tamil cinema. She is also referred as the first dream girl of Kollywood. Her song 'Manmatha leelaiyai vendrar' from the movie Haridas gained her recognition for her glamorous portrayal.
Jyothi Lakshmi carried on the legacy of T.R. Rajakumari by entering the field in 1963 through her first movie Periya Idathu Penn. Jyothi Lakshmi is one actress who has featured in item songs even at the age of 65. She is seen in movies even today doing what she does best.
Jayamalini is the sister of Jyothi Lakshmi and she too like her sister have set screens on fire with her item numbers. She has acted in more than 500 movies and her role as an enchanting demon of lust in the movie Jaganmohini is appreciated even today.
Anuradha made her film debut at the age of 13. She started off as a heroine in a couple of films but later moved onto item numbers in which she stamped her authority. Thanks to Jyothi Lakshmi and Jayamalini, item numbers became a prominent part of Tamil films in the late 1980's and Anuradha cashed in on that factor and impressed one and with her glamorous looks.
Silk Smitha started a new trend and took the item songs to next level. She made her debut in the year 1978 and due to her marked sex appeal, she soon became the most wanted item girl. She excelled in her roles as a cabaret dancer and became the ultimate symbol of sensuality in Kollywood.
Though her image was shadowed by the sparkling career of Silk Smitha, Disco Shanti managed to star in many item songs and made a name for herself by doing titillating roles. Disco Shanti and Silk Smitha together took Tamil films by storm and ruled as the queens of item songs from 1980 to late 1990's
When people had thought the loss of Silk Smitha was irreplaceable, then came Mumtaj. Mumtaj made her debut in 1999 through her Tamil film Monisha En Monalisa and was portrayed as a young carefree girl who had to reveal a lot of skin for the role. Post her first movie, she became a force to reckon with when it came to item songs.
Namitha is one of the tallest actress in Kollywood and the roles in her movies have always carried an oomph factor. Namitha, apart from being seen in many item songs have also done a few important roles but is known for her seductive looks.
Ragasiya became an instant hit after featuring in the item song 'seena thaana' from the film Vasool Raja MBBS. She has acted in many item songs ever since. Having worked as an assistant choreographer, she is known for her dancing skills and of course for her captivating looks.
Mumaith Khan is the latest sensation when it comes to item songs and have featured in more than 80 item songs in all languages including Hindi. She rose to fame with the song 'Kaththi Kappal' in the film Pokkiri and has not looked back ever since.