Bura na mano holi hai: The Evolution of Holi Songs in Bollywood

Holi! It is not just a festival, it is a joyous feeling of colors and mythology. The story of great legends like Krishna and Prahlad, woven into the Holi festival.

By Sulena Majumdar Arora
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Bura na mano holi hai: The Evolution of Holi Songs in Bollywood
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Holi! It is not just a festival, it is a joyous feeling of colors and mythology. The story of great legends like Krishna and Prahlad, woven into the Holi festival. On the day of Holi, the beat of drums creates a strange joy in the heart of all Indians and then begins the hustle and bustle of Holi which sees neither age nor status nor any differences. From Holi of North India to Dol Purnima of Bengal, the entire country gets colored in red, blue and yellow. In Barsana too, women get a chance to chase away में playing pranks with their sticks – this tradition-laden festival has spread its secrets from the general public to celebrities and cinema screens.

Let us know since when has Holi established its colors in Bollywood?

The first Holi song in Hindi cinema "Hori Mujhe Khel Ko Tesu Manga De.." was performed in the film Gulru Zarina in 1932. Since then, Holi songs have been included in films for decades like Jeevan Prabhat, Aurat. Jogan, Baghi,  Aan,  Chingari,  Meera, Rahi, Amrapali, Dhanwan Namak Haraam, Nadiya Ke Paar, Mashaal,  Mangal Pandey, Baagban, Raanjhana.

The songs of these films have helped make Holi more popular and famous as a symbol of Indian tradition across the world. It is through these films that the world has got to understand the essence of Holi. Holi in India is not just a festival, it is a kaleidoscope of emotions depicted on the silver screen. For generations, Bollywood films have captured the magic of Holi with heart-touching music.

Holi has woven its magic in Bollywood since its inception, like a living thread through the tapestry of Indian cinema. The films aren't just titled "Holi" - the spirit of the festival is scattered across countless stories, leaving behind emotion-filled songs.

Here are some interesting facts about Holi songs in Hindi films:

The first Holi song was "Hori Mujhe Khel Ko Tesu Manga De..", which was featured in the film Gulru Zarina in 1932. Mehboob Khan's film Aurat (1940) also had two Holi songs.

Well, even before the era of elaborate song-and-dance in Hindi films, Holi had found her voice in Bollywood. The early 1930s marked the beginning of the era of talky cinema. Films like "Daulat Ka Nasha" (1931) and "Pak Daman" included some of the earliest Holi songs. Those songs are not available but it had such soft songs of Holi requesting the holi players not to put colors on them . These songs were not just about celebration, there was a gentle vulnerability amidst the vibrant exuberance that captured a soft endearment. There is also a beautiful song in the 1931 film 'Ghar Ki Lakshmi' which complains and laments, "Mo pe dar gayo saare rang, rang ki gagar, kaisa dhoka diya". At the same time, a non-film song sung by Sehgal also became very famous, 'Hori Ho Brij'.

The song 'Jamuna Tat Shyam Khele Hai Holi' from the 1940 film 'Aurat' was sung in every household in those days.
Talking about the early days of "talkie" films, they were the first attempts to capture sound and motion, a vibrant celebration brought to life on the silver screen.

Who can forget the Holi song from India's first Technicolor film 'Aan' in 1952, in which the colorful colors of Holi have been brought to the fore on screen. Jai Tilak (Dilip Kumar) plays Holi with his village girl Mangala (Nimmi) and in this playful attempts of Holi, Mangala's dupatta flies and falls in the face of the arrogant princess, who is passing by, riding an elephant. Due to this incident  she gets into a misunderstanding. The lyrics of this Holi song are, 'Khelo Rang Hamare Sang Din Rang Rangeela Aaya'.

There is a very beautiful Holi song in the 1953 film 'Raahi'.
'Holi Khele Nandlala Biraj Mein', in which Dev Anand is seen  not playing Holi, but he is just watching. According to the news, Dev Anand never filmed any scene of himself, openly playing Holi.
There is a very beautiful Holi song of Suraiya and Mukesh in the 1953 film 'Maashuka' but unfortunately its video is not available, Mukesh and Suraiya acted in this film.

A heart-touching Holi song was picturized in the 1956 superhit film 'Durgesh Nandini' starring princely hero Pradeep Kumar and the gorgeous Bina Roy. In which Holi festival has been depicted very beautifully. Even at that time, a grand Holi dance was filmed in a very surprising manner in which the song starts after the drums and music plays for a long time. The lyrics of the song are very intoxicating, 'Mat Maro Shyam Pichkari, Mori Bheegi Chunariya Saari, Najuk Tan Mora, Rang Na Daro Shyama Ang Ang Mora Bhadke' This song was very famous in those days.

A song from the 1959 film "Navrang" "Are Ja Re Hat Natkhat.." is famous even today. Sandhya, a captivating actress of that time, played both Radha and Shyam in a beautiful, fantasy world. The song itself is like a dream, in which she seems to be floating and dancing in the air with the amazing classical dance choreography. It is a beautiful depiction of a wonderful mind's imagination, reminiscent of a time when happiness seemed limitless and the colors of Holi had a touch of magic.

"Tan Rang Lo Ji.." from the 1960 film "Kohinoor" Even today it is famous as a Holi song but this song did not live up to the expectations of the audience at that time because both Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari, who are known for their tragic roles, are playing with free expressions here. . The camera captures the joy of a grand Holi celebration – colors fly, the entire state is invited to join the festivities. Watching them dance is almost like you can hear the laughter echoing through the screen. This  song reminds us that even the saddest hearts cannot resist the joy of Holi.

In the 1950s and 60s, the beauty of Holi was presented to the audience in a very stylish manner.

Films like 1957's "Mother India" extensively weaved in scenes from Holi celebrations, often in films, with Holi songs serving as a beautiful interlude in the story. The songs were full of excitement, colour, pomp and show, as well as being as soft and sweet as flowers, often with a touch of Indian classical music. Holi scenes of that era painted a picture of innocent romance, playful flirting and the simple joy of celebrating life with loved ones. Remember Mother India's "Holi Aayi Re Kanhai.."This song is not just about the Holi celebration, it is also about the bittersweet memories shared by Radha and Shamu while dancing, a glimpse of their happy past before drastic changes took place in their lives.

Take "Holi khelat Nandlal..." from the film Godaan in 1963Forget the usual Bollywood conventions – here, there is no country girl dancing, no bubbly sexy dance,  Instead the song shows a gentle attempt by the villagers to celebrate Holi even in poverty, whispering hope and new happiness like a flower blooming amidst the chaos.

In the Holi song "Lai Hai Hazaaron Rang Holi.." from the 1966 film Phool Aur Patthar, the pain of a lonely woman's ruined life is clearly visible amidst the thousands of colors of Holi. Two souls hurt by life find solace in each other. Because the colors of Holi revolve around them The song talks about the complexities of relationships, where even the darkest corners can be illuminated by the light of love.

Waheeda Rehman's exuberant energy can be seen in all her vigor and youth in "Piya Tose Naina Laage Re, Aayi Holi Aayi.." from the 1965 film "Guide", filled with grand sets and beautiful songs. It's a joyous celebration of life and freedom, a gentle reminder that sometimes, all you need to find happiness is a light splash of colors and a carefree spirit.

As time changed, feelings also started changing. The 70s brought nostalgia with a new flavor in Holi music. The songs tell the stories of long-lost love, rekindled friendships and bittersweet memories of Holi celebrations.

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Think of beautiful music that makes you want to close your eyes and remember happy times. Even in the 70s and 80s, Holi songs were a bit of fun, in terms of the vibrant lyrics and lively melodies. This decade also told of unspoken longings, missed relationships and hopes of finding love on the colorful Holi. The much-loved 1970 film ‘Kati Patang’ takes a different approach. "Aaj Na Chhodenge.."This Holi song mixes the joys of Holi with a bit of life change, as a playful young hero tries to win over a shy woman. This is a testament to the festival’s ability to unite hearts and break down barriers. But Holi is not always fun, colorful and funny. The Holi song "Nadiya Se Dariya.." from the popular 1973 film "Namak Haram" shows another side. Lost in thought, Rajesh Khanna sings a reflective song during the festival. It is a quietly contemplative series where, even amidst the excitement, there is room for introspection. Today, when Bollywood Holi music is full of energetic dance tracks, there is still room for sweet sentiments. In Bollywood films, the festival of Holi can also serve as a platform for expressing deep emotions. In the 1992 film "Deewana", Shahrukh Khan uses the hot theme of Holi to express his love for a widow. It is a powerful declaration, where the riot of colors reveals the intensity of his emotions. Holi in Bollywood isn’t just a party – it’s a kaleidoscope of emotions, some warm, some dark, all woven with musical magic. Here, in a happy life, dark topics sometimes come to the fore. "Aali Re Aali Re Holi Aali Re Aali Re Holi, Aali Mastan Ki Toli, Toofan Dil Mein Liye, Dil Mein Holi Jal Rahi Hai" from the 1975 film "Jakhmi" is not festive; This is a revenge song. Sunil Dutt’s character is full of anger and uses the energy of the festival to vent his anger. It’s a terrifying reminder that the darkness within us can even sabotage happiness. In "Damini" (1993), Holi becomes the aftermath of a terrible reality. Meenakshi Sheshadri finds some cruel crime in the carnival, in stark contrast to the joy-filled celebration. The film uses Holi to explore harsh realities that may be hidden under the guise of the festival.

But Holi is also the language of love, which is expressed in many ways. "Mal De Gulal Mohe..." from the 1982 film "Kamchor" is bitter-sweet. The song talks about longing and connection, along with the joy of being together and the heartache of separation. It is a gentle raga that reflects the complex emotions that Holi can evoke within us.

Holi song from the 1983 film 'Sautan' "Meri pehle hi tang thi choli..."From the playful teasing in 'Mohabbatein' to the emotional intensity of the Holi dance "Soni Soni.." from the 2000 film 'Mohabbatein', Holi provides a platform for love to play out. Be it Shah Rukh Khan's flirtatious charm or Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh's steamy embrace in the 2013 film "Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ramleela", the Holi song, 'Lahu Munh Lag Gaya' lets emotions blossom, sometimes surprisingly. In ways.

Holi also reflects the changing times. In another 2013 film 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani', the Holi song "Balam Pichkari..is a high-energy anthem for the young generation. It reflects the modern way of celebrating - selfie sticks, garden hose and vibrant colors Sprinkles. It's a reminder that while traditions evolve, the spirit of Holi lives onIn this, Deepika leaves her shyness and gets immersed in the fun of Holi.

Sometimes, Holi scenes in Bollywood even foreshadow a storm brewing on the horizon. Remember the 1975 super hit film "Sholay"? Gabbar Singh's menacing growl, "When is Holi?" In a scene of joyous celebration - dancing women, people dancing, colors flying.  the camera pans to Veeru and Basanti, who are lost in the life-filled song "Holi ke din dil khil jaatein.." This joyous atmosphere is ready for an explosion, knowing that darkness awaits them. It's a poignant story of how even amidst celebration, the shadow of trouble can loom.

There is another similar story giving a scary message which shows that not all the stories of Holi are light-hearted. Darr (1993) uses the festival to explore the dark side of obsession. Shah Rukh Khan's character uses the chaos of Holi to get closer to his victim, a chilling reminder that even under the guise of celebration, danger can lurk.

The pomp and show that surrounds the filmy Holi has diminished a bit on the silver screen recently. It seems that the colorful anarchy that used to be prevalent in Bollywood films has now been replaced by more glamorous themes. It is possible that the peppy Holi songs and charming dances may gradually fade away, leaving them behind.

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So, even though movies may not be full of Holi scenes this year, let's keep the spirit alive. Let the colors of happiness flow in our lives, on and off the screen. A happy Holi is ahead, full of love, laughter and perhaps a splash of colours.


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