Item numbers have been a hotly debated film element, both in Pakistani cinema and Bollywood.

One Indian artist Ram Subramanian has tried to make a case against them with the following public service message:

Shot in the style of an item number, the PSM features a dancer who is soon surrounded by adolescent boys, who hoot and cheer as she performs.

The video closes with a link to a petition, which refers to item numbers as "unregulated adult content" and appeals to the Indian government to regrade item numbers. Based on the premise that exposure to adult content has led to an increase in sexual violence in the country, the petition asks that the cycle of habitual conditioning of young minds to see women as sexual objects is broken.