Compared to Helen is the “greatest” compliment
Malaika Arora described doing special item numbers’ in films as a ‘liberating’ sensation at a period when few people were open to the idea. She also informed the host of a podcast that is compared to Helen is the “greatest” compliment she has ever received.
Malaika’s career as a special dancer in films began with Dil Se’s Chhaiya Chhaiya, in which she co-starred with Shah Rukh Khan. She says she couldn’t say no when choreographer Farah Khan approached her with the proposition.
“No one has ever filled Helen’s shoes as a dancing diva like you have”
When Namrata Zakaria informed her on the Tell Me How You Did It podcast that no one had ever filled Helen’s shoes as a dancing diva-like she had, Malaika retorted, “No one has ever filled Helen’s shoes as a dancing diva like you have.” “Firstly, to be compared to Helen aunty is always the biggest, nicest, and most lovely compliment. She was one of a kind.”
“That’s what our films are all about, let’s not conceal that fact, let’s not be bashful about the reality,” Malaika said when asked about the concept of ‘item number’ in films. That’s what our films are all about. Our movies are larger-than-life celebrations of life. Yes, in today’s world, the concept has diminished significantly. Because there’s a lot of emphasis on not having to objectify, and so on. But it felt liberated to me when I did it and was a part of all those tunes. “It was true.”
“I felt like I could simply be on television, as this woman and this object of desire,” Malaika said of her role in the songs, adding that she never felt “objectified.” It was quite liberating for me. ‘Oh my God, you’re being objectified,’ I never thought. It felt like I was in command to me. I’m one of those women that prefer to be in charge, to be the master of her own fate. I dislike being told what to do, how to do it, or where to go. It was incredible.”
Apart from Chhaiya Chhaiya, over the years, Malaika has starred in dance numbers such as Anarkali Disco Chali, Hoth Rasiley, and Munni Badnaam. She reunited with Shah Rukh in the song Kaal Dhamaal.