Songs are dances make the major fabric of Hindi cinema and now that Holi is being celebrated with all gusto after pandemic induced hiatus, cine goers and the general people never miss a toast of Holi related song in any Holi celebration.
There was a pre-Holi celebration on 7th evening where this author was a part. The occasion also brought back the memories how Bollywood has a compulsive inclusion of Holi, a festival of colours. From ‘Are Ja Re Ja Natkhat’ in Navrang (1959) to ‘Jai Jai Shivshankar’ in War (2019) and more, Bollywood has long used Holi songs to hint at significant plot points.
In Sholay, Holi is used both as the calm before the storm and to recount Radha’s story. In Silsila and Aakhir Kyon?, for instance, the protagonist discovers that her partner has an extramarital affair and that acts as a catalyst to the rest of the story.
While recognising the impact of these songs in the films, there is another conversation that must be had. Several Holi songs, especially through their lyrics, often normalise harassment. There is a template in most Holi songs – a woman is usually surrounded by a large group comprising majorly of men, she says no to participating and then eventually “gives in”.
Holi needs to be happy as an occasion and each one should be safe in every Holi.