Holi, like the Ramu kakas and the drum-filled villains’ dens of yore, has been pretty much rendered superfluous on the silver screen in recent times. Luckily for buffs of both - the festival and its role in films – there has been no dearth of movies that celebrate the many hues of Holi.
Here’s our tribute to the films that used the metaphor of this festival of colors to portray a range of emotions. Let the feelings flow!
The Colour of Passion
It doesn’t get hotter than Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s love play in ‘Lahu munh lag gaya…’ (Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela). He’s the handsome stranger infatuated by her beauty, she is the audacious belle who fuses lips with his, to share the gulal that smears his mouth. Interspersed with energetic moves as they dance with revelers in a circle, it is fascination and it is very mutual!
The Colour of Reconciliation
It’s a scene that gives one the goose-bumps as Rajeshwar Singh ends his long-standing violent feud with Veer Singh on the occasion of Holi when he throws a handful of gulal at his once-close friend. All animosity is blown off at that moment in Saudagar, as love and loyalty and all good things emerge cleansed by the colors of the festival. In fact, the entire climax of the film is played out around the festival.
The Colour of Fear
Applying gulal on one another’s cheeks is the most simple yet wonderful ritual of this celebration. But not when the person doing it happens to be an obsessive lover! The Holi sequence from Darr, portrayed Juhi Chawla’s shock and horror when her stalker, played by Shah Rukh Khan, walks up to her and smears color on her cheeks, delivering that infamous stuttering line: “I love you KKKK...Kiran”.
The Colour of Infidelity
‘Rang Barse …’ This sequence from Yashraj Films’ Silsila makes the pain and shame of Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri palpable, as their respective spouses, played by Rekha and Amitabh Bachchan, throw caution to the winds and let their amorous feelings show. The hedonistic indulging in bhaang, the sensual attention he showers on her, dousing her in flower petals, yanking her to match his moves… And spouses aren’t supposed to mind – bura na mano holi hai?
The Colour of Revenge
In Sholay, Jai played by Amitabh Bachchan uses gulal to briefly blind the cruel Gabbar Singh and mounts a daring attack on the dacoit. In fact, the film’s dramatic high comes on the day of Holi, when comrades Jai and Veeru discuss how Thakur and his family have been brutalized by the dreaded Gabbar. The duo succeeds in repelling Gabbar’s surprise attack on the village and forces him to flee.
The Colour of Justice
A young maidservant gets raped on the day of Holi in a rich, powerful family. It sets into motion one of the finest written onscreen battles of right vs wrong. Rajkumar Santoshi’s Damini portrayed Meenakshi Seshadri’s world turning upside down on the day of the festival, as she has to choose between blind loyalty to her in-laws and justice for an innocent woman.
The Colour of Hallucination
Holi is synonymous with bhang – the intoxicating drink containing cannabis, milk, sugar, and spice, which is ritually consumed on the day of the festival. Of course, side effects apply! Namak Haraam shows the results of consuming this heady brew, as Rajesh Khanna starts to howl, believing his hands have become interlocked! And there’s also his partner in crime, Asrani who, after a bout of bhang-induced laughter, is petrified believing he is about to take off flying!
The Colour of Attraction
Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor romping to the innuendo-laden ‘Balam Pichkari’ in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani was a fun ride. She takes him by surprise hosing him down, he is intrigued, chases after her and smears her thoroughly with the multi-hued powders. And when she breaks out singing, “Itna maza, kyun aa raha hai tune hawa mein bhaang milaya…’ you know that lust has arrived!
The Colour of Hope
When Rajesh Khanna inadvertently smears a widow’s maang with color during Holi, he ends up seriously offending society. Shakti Samanta’s Kati Patang put forward a feminist message strongly, as the hero takes up the cause of a widow having the right to live her life again.
The Colour of Conscience
Akshay Kumar in Jolly LLB 2, is a lawyer not known for his ethics. He tricks a trusted client into paying a hefty fee. Having purchased his own chamber in court, he is on a high. And then, just as all the revelry of Holi ends, he is confronted by a woman who kills herself on the same day. The tragic incident serves as a wake-up call for Jolly and sets his course right.