Why Do We Still Chaiyya Chaiyya Over Malaika Arora?

Pop Culture

Why Do We Still Chaiyya Chaiyya Over Malaika Arora?

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré


wenty years ago, a diminutive lady in a ghaghra and a backless choli shimmied into the nation’s collective consciousness atop a slowly chugging train. It was the item song of the decade — perhaps of our lives — and “hot girl” Malaika Arora had arrived. Twenty years later, she’s still living in the same “hot” mode, still shimmying on to screens in her public and social media appearances, and it doesn’t show signs of decelerating any time soon.

Let us consider for a moment the curious case of Malaika Arora. In an industry that runs through its women faster than a box of Kleenex, here is a woman who, despite having no films, no vocation or avocation except for the inexpungeable label of being “hot” or “sexy”, still manages to capture public imagination. Her stint as an MTV VJ ended 14 years ago, and her only movie gig as a mainstream actress was the colossal dud EMI, which no amount of EMI or any other mode of payment could salvage.