Festival of colours in Bollywood style

Posted by: Adhika | Posted on: March 27th, 2013 | No Comments

Though Holi continues to be celebrated in all its revelry and glory in iconic star homes, the colours seem to have faded as far as the big screen is concerned. The Holi celebration was last seen in films like ‘Baghbaan’ (2003), ‘Waqt: Race Against Time’ (2005) and ‘Action Replayy’ (2010). But there was a time when the festival played a very ‘important role’, often as a prop, to either spark off tension or add a light moment to the on-going saga on screen.  

In Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay (1975), the festival is the catalyst for the dacoits to attack the villagers, while in Rajkumar Santoshi’s Damini (1993), it served as a backdrop of brutality where the protagonist’s (Meenakshi Sheshadri) maid is sexually assaulted by her brother-in-law and adds further drama when, in the court, Sheshadri is unable to recognise the criminals because of the Holi colours smeared on their faces.

Similarly, in Yash Chopra’s Darr, it is during the Holi number, Ang Se Ang Lagana, that Juhi (Chawla) comes face to face with her obsessed lover (Shah Rukh Khan), but fails to later pin him as he is doused with colour.

In another Yash Chopra venture, Silsila, the Holi song, Rang Barse, shows the husband’s (Sanjeev Kumar) doubts being confirmed about his wife’s (Rekha) affair with Amit ( Amitabh Bachchan). The dialogue by Rekha, “Yeh rang ja nahi raha. Kuch mila to nahi diya Amit ne” and Sanjeev Kumar replying, “Pehle toh shak tha ab yakeen hai,” indicated the pun intended.

Holi has also been used as synonym with a widow showing the contrast of varied hues against white. Attired in an immaculate white saree, the widowed heroine would be seen thinking of her dead husband. The hero would invariably land up being intrigued by her and coincidentally, the dry gulaal would dust her saree and her maang — a symbol of remarriage as seen in Kati Patang (Asha Parekh) (1970), Sholay ( Jaya Bachchan) (1975), Dhanwan (Reena Roy) (1981) and Mohabbatein (Priti Jhangiani) (2000).

Some of the other films where the songs of Holi added colour to the ongoing plot were Mother India (1957), Navrang (1959), Phagun (1973), Zakhmee (1975) and Dhartiputra (1993). And one witnessed even its glaring display in Souten (1983) and Khalnaaika (1993).

Music director Anu Malik, who rendered the Do Me A Favour Let’s Play Holi from Waqt concludes saying, “Filmmakers today are into pathbreaking cinema and the festivals have taken a back seat. But I would love to do a Holi number and am eagerly waiting for some filmmaker to offer a song like that to me again.”

But all is not lost. Karan Johar, in his forthcoming Ranbir Kapoor-Deepika Padukone starrer Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, has a Holi song sequence that is also being used as a promotional tool. When asked about Holi, Johar said, “Holi is an important sequence of this urban romantic film. But haven’t festivals always been an integral part of my films?”

Special thanks to Times of India for publishing this content. Please do join our conversation on our facebook Prem United group page and share details of your favourite Holi Celebrations. Thank you 🙂


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