... an opportunity to forget all differences and indulge in unadulterated fun. It has traditionally been celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of cast, creed, color, race, status or sex. It is one occasion when sprinkling colored powder ('gulal') or colored water on each other breaks all barriers of discrimination so that everyone looks the same and universal brotherhood is reaffirmed.
This centuries-old celebrations has changed over time - even in how it was celebrated by the film fraternity of Bollywood. According to HoliFestival.org,
The trend of Holi celebration in film industry was initiated by showman Raj Kapoor, who started Holi celebration in a big way at his studio. A large number of industry people would gather there and play holi, making it a star-studded event. The tradition that was followed was that anybody who came would first be greeted with a dip in the pool of coloured water. Kapoors also took care that women were treated with dignity and nobody misbehaved with them.
While star-studded Bollywood celebrations of Holi have toned down a bit over the years, there continue to be many picturizations of Holi on the silver screen. Here are five of our favorites:
Film: Darr: A Violent Love Story (1993)
Music by: Shiv-Hari
Description: When Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) learns that Kiran (Juhi Chawla) and her family will be celebrating Holi at their home with some friends, he crashes the party as a member of the band. He joins them in the holi celebrations, drumming in song after the song. After the festivities are over, Kiran offers the band some money for their performance. Rahul, veiled in Holi colors and with an unshaven face, grabs Kiran's wrist and wishes her "Happy Holi, K-K-K-kiran" as he smears gulal powder on her face. Sunil (Sunny Deol) chases Rahul into the streets of the city where the Holi Festival is in full swing.
Why I Love This: This memorable song and dance scene adds to the creepiness of the film. As everyone is joyfully and playfully celebrating another Holi, they are unaware that what they fear has become part of the festival. Rahul watches Kiran and we watch Rahul, who's hard stare at Kiran is truly disturbing.
Film: Mohabbatein (2000)
Description: Narayan Shankar (Amitabh Bachchan) is the strict headmaster of Gurukul, a prestigious all-boys university. Raj Aryan (Shah Rukh Khan) joins Gurukul as a music teacher and slowly challenges the status quo. Aryan asks Shankar if the students can celebrate Holi. Shankar tells him that Holi will never be celebrated at Gurukul, but if the students want to celebrate outside the school grounds, they may. They do.
Why I Love This: While the song focuses on the budding relationships between the different love interests, the festival is non-stop action with plenty of gulal to go around. This is a Holi celebration of epic proportions with outstanding choreography by Farah Khan.
Film: Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005)
Music by: Anu Malik and Aatish Kapadia; Lyrics by Sameer.
Description: Very much in love, Aditya Thakur (Akshay Kumar) and Pooja (Priyanka Chopra) have eloped. But their families accept their marriage despite the fact that neither of them is ready or willing to take on the responsibility of being adults and working to earn a living. This song reflects their love and carefree attitude about life.
Why I Love This: The song is infectious - you can't help but sing and dance along. While the performance is large scale with many dancers on a large floating platform, the song is intimate as Aditya and Pooja playfully flirt with each other. The lyrics are simple and the tune easy to remember - so much so that when we return from the intermission, Aditya is still singing it.
Song: Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005)
Description: It is 1857, when India was ruled by the British East India Company. Mangal Pandey (Aamir Khan) is a sepoy, a soldier of Indian origin, in the army of the East India Company. A strong friendship develops between Pandey and his British commanding officer, William Gordon (Toby Stephens), transcending both rank and race. He has also developed an attraction to Heera (Rani Mukerji), a poor girl who has been sold to the local "pleasure house."
Why I Love This: This version of the celebration most effectively reflects the Holi theme of brotherhood. Festival participants break down physical and cultural barriers to bring people from different backgrounds together to joyfully celebrate unity as they are bathed in an incredible colorific palette.
Film: Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)
Description: Kabir "Bunny" Thapar (Ranbir Kapoor), Avi (Aditya Roy Kapur), Aditi (Kalki Koechlin), and Naina (Deepika Padukone) take a commercial hiking trip together through the Himalayas. As their friendships deepen, their inhibitions lessen. When the come across a Holi festival, they spend the day immersing themselves in the joy of the celebration.
Why I Love This: This friendship is in full bloom and everyone is having a blast. This is the kind of Holi celebration that puts a smile on your face and a bounce in your step. This is fun, pure and simple.
The following playlist features videos for all five songs, so you can practice your dance moves as you prepare for the next Holi Festival!