Holi As Depicted In Indian Films

In Hindi films, there are various shades and gradations of colours and emotions in all Holi-sequences which have nothing to do with colour therapy. These scenes are virtual-unrealities which you will never find in real life.

To begin with, there are very happy and colourful Holis like the spectacular one in V Shantaram’s ‘Navrang’ with Sandhya playing both the male and female character, singing, ‘Arrey Ja Re Hatt, Natakhat, Na Chhoo Re Mora Ghunghat’.  Superb choreography and to my mind, the very best Holi sequence ever on celluloid. Sometimes, the happy-Holi comes with a tinge of sadness as in Mother India’s ‘Holi Aayi Re Kanhai’ when Nargis pines for her missing husband played by Raj Kumar in the line ‘Holi Ghar Aayi Tu Bhi Aaja Kanhai’.  Then there’s the Holi in ‘Dushman’ where Rajesh Khanna regrets that Meena Kumari whose husband, he had accidentally killed, has not forgiven him in the line, ‘Sab Ne Maaf Kiya Mujkho Lekin …….’

Then there’s the ‘lady in white’ kind of Holi with the widow as a prop, in songs like Kati Patang’s Asha Parekh, ‘Dhanvaan’s’ Reena Roy, ‘Sholay’s’ Jaya Bhadhuri and ‘Mohabbatein’s’ Priety Jhangiani. We even have a first wedding anniversary Holi. Remember Jaya Prada and Rakesh Roshan in ‘Kaamchor’ celebrating Holi with ‘Mal De Gulal Mohe, Aayi Holi Aayi Re’. There was also a search-warrant-Holi in ‘Zakhmee’ when Police Inspector Sunil Dutt uses a ‘Dafli’ to go incognito with a crowd of revellers to find his wife and child singing, ‘Holi Aayi Re, Aayi Re, Holi Aayi, Toofan Dil Mein Liye’. This ‘toofan’ gets more pronounced as he sings the line, ‘Dil Mein Holi, Jal Rahi Hai.’

Anyone for a family get-together Holi? Well, be my guest. Rewind your cinematic memory to ‘Aakhir Kyon’ in which Rajesh Khanna, Smita Patil, Rakesh Roshan and Tina Munim play not-so-happy family since the love-birds are (un)happily married elsewhere. What’s worse, Rakesh romances his wife’s (Smita’s) sister (Tina) with ‘Apne Rang Mein Rang De Mujhko’ while the wife sees red at this ‘menage-de-trois’ since she hates playing ‘mixed-doubles’. Another love-triangle (love quadrangle?) Holi was in ‘Silsiley’ with Amitabh Bachan romancing Rekha singing, ‘Rang Barse Bheegey Chunarvali’ while Sanjeev and Jaya watch helplessly.

Another family-get-together Holi was in ‘Baghban’. The parents, Amitabh and Hema are too much of a burden to their four married sons and they come to a sinister decision to take care of them by turns. With sons like these, who needs enemies? Here we say ‘Art imitates life’ because unfortunately in some families, old parents are considered a burden.

There are also Alfred Hitchkock ‘What-will-happen-next’ types of Holis which keep you on the edge of your seat with their nail-biting suspense, like the one in Darr in which the audience knows that an obsessed Shahrukh Khan wants to get close to Juhi Chavla who is blissfully ignorant of his presence. I still remember how as the line ‘Ang Se Ang Laga Le Sanam’ played on the screen, someone from the audience had shouted, “Aagey Badh Shahrukh, Chance Maar Le”. Damini’s Holi sounds like thunder, camouflaging the sinister rape of a domestic servant by her rich master. Sholay’s Holi and the merryment of the song, ‘Holi Ke Din, Dil Khil Jaate Hain’ serves as an anti-climax in this desi-Spagetti -Western with Gabbar’s gang playing spoil-sports as soon as the song is done with.

Then there’s a modern Holi song in Waqt viz. ‘Do me a favour, Let’s Play Holi’. Mr. Anu Malik, please do us a favour by not composing such songs. You may sing this and your other song Rain Is Falling, Is Falling while you are in your bath-room but puh-leez spare us!!

As for the crass sex-oozing Holi songs of Sauten and Khalnayika, less said the better!! In the Holi song of Padmavat, there’s no chemistry between Deepika and Shahid Kapoor. Whereas in Ram Leela, it was pure sensuality between Deepika and Ranveer Singh. That’s the difference between ‘reel’ and ‘real’ life Holis!

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