Holi playlist: 7 Bollywood songs that you can bookmark

Holi playlist: 7 Bollywood songs that you can bookmark

If festivals were to be marked by priority, Holi would be the first on a spirited soul’s checklist. Why? Well, it is the only festival which allows you to paint the town red, yes literally; soak in the intoxication of bhaang, play colours and make merry with family and strangers alike and dance to your heart’s fill. If anyone tries to stop you, just say “Bura Na Mano Holi Hai!”

With Holi being a rendezvous for lovers, a gathering for communities and an event which blurs the lines of caste and religion, Bollywood has cleverly tapped into the spirit of the festival and over the years churned out Holi songs to display a range of emotions – from love to jealously to rebellion.

On the occasion of Holi, The Federal puts together a playlist of popular Holi songs.

  1. Holi Ke Din Dil Khil Jate Hain (Sholay, 1975)

“Holi kab hai, kab hai holi, kab? (When is Holi?),” roars Gabbar Singh, the notorious daakoo in Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay, as the scene cuts to one of the most-famous Holi songs in Bollywood. Set in the fictional village Ramgarh, where Thakur Baldev Singh, a former inspector, is planning to exact revenge upon Gabbar for murdering his family, with the help of small-time thugs Jai and Veeru, the song serves as a prequel to an attack by the villain.

Celebratory scenes of village folk dancing, spraying colour on one another and singing lines like “Gile Shikwe Bhul Ke Doston, Dushman Bhi Gale Mil Jate Hain (Let’s forget past differences and make friends with foes on Holi),” is a contrast to the doom that awaits.

With lyrics from the pen of Anand Bakshi and music composed by RD Burman, the song sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar features a jubilant Basanti (played by Hema Malini) dancing to the tunes, while Dharmendra’s naughty Veeru teases and prances around her.

  1. Rang Barse Bheege Chunarwali (Silsila, 1981)

Think Holi, and bam! This is the song that comes to mind. Probably because it is one of the most-famous numbers sung by Amitabh Bachchan, and that too in a time when actors rarely sang for their own characters.

And also, because the film, Silsila, in which it is featured, was rumouredly based on the real-life love triangle between Amitabh, wife Jaya and Rekha.

Besides capturing the fervour of Holi, the song sets the tone for the film’s central theme of extramarital affairs.

An intoxicated Amit (played by Amitabh) unabashedly flirts with ex-flame Chandni (Rekha) while his embarrassed wife Shobha (Jaya) and Chandni’s husband look on helplessly.

Lyrics of the song were written by eminent poet and Bachchan’s father Harivansh Rai Bachchan while the music was composed by the Shiv-Hari duo.

  1. Ang Se Ang Lagana (Darr, 1993)

A groovy tune, titillating lyrics, and a menacing lover boy aka Shah Rukh Khan are what make this Bollywood number a Holi masterpiece.

Rahul, played by SRK, who is madly in love with Juhi Chawla’s Kiran (albeit in a one-sided way), stalks his way into her home, posing as a drummer, under the pretext of Holi.

As he bitterly drums away, Kiran dances with her beau Sunil (Sunny Deol).

Anand Bakshi’s suggestive lyrics like Upar Upar Rang Lageiyo, Na Kariyo Kuch Neeche (Keep the colours to the surface, don’t go down) or Rapat Likha Do Thane Me Hum Bhar Denge Jurmana (Go tell the police, I will bail myself out), picturised on the characters of Anupam Kher and Tanvi Azmi, a supposedly harmless banter in a consensual relationship, is also symbolic of the deep-rooted culture of sexual harassment under the guise of playing Holi.

While the music was composed by Shiv-Hari, Vinod Rathod, Sudesh Bhosle, Alka Yagnik and Devki Pandit lent their voice to the song.

  1. Soni Soni Akhiyon Wali (Mohabbatein, 2002)

There are reasons why Mohabbatein made 90s kid go weak in their knees. Soni Soni Akhiyon Wali is one of them. The song, which shows students of boarding school ‘Gurukul’ openly rebelling against norms set by principal Narayan Shankar by participating in a Holi gathering, is symbolic of the millennials’ inhibited expression of love and a revolt towards societal norms.

Shah Rukh Khan, in the role of Raj, the ‘pied-piper’ music teacher who goads the students to break the rules, is doused with colours by the ‘ghost’ of his dead girlfriend on Holi, starting off the melodious number.

While the music was composed by Jatin-Lalit, the makers roped in new voices – Ishaan, Manohar Shetty, Pritha Mazumdar, Shweta Pandit Sonali Bhatawdekar and Udhbhav – to gel with the characters of debutantes Jimmy Shergill, Uday Chopra, Jugal Hansraj, Shamita Shetty, Kim Sharma and Preeti Jhangiani.

  1. Holi Khele Raghuveera (Baghban, 2003)

The song from Ravi Chopra’s Baghban, the 2003 film which showed the story of an elderly couple’s struggles with life after being deserted by their ungrateful children, captures the happier times when the family comes together to celebrate the festival of colours.

The lyrics of the song, penned by Big B’s father Harivansh Rai Bachchan, are set to music by late composer Aadesh Shrivastava. Bachchan shared the mic with Sukhwinder Sing for the song.

When the song was released, critics instantly compared it with Rang Barse.

In an interview, Bachchan revealed that the song had been inspired by a folk song from Uttar Pradesh that he and his father sang at Holi parties at their house, and was remade for Baghban.

  1. Balam Pichkari (Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, 2013)

How can one forget the adorable yet coquettish Bunny (played by Ranbir Kapoor) turning a nerdy Naina into a hipster, courtesy Balam Pichkari. Sung by Vishal Dadlani and Shalmali Kholgade, the zesty number captures the intoxicating effect of Holi, arguing how colours from the balam’s (lover) pichkari (colour gun) can turn a sidhi-sadhi chhori (simple girl) into a drunkard.

Laden with racy lyrics paired with a high-octane dance number, the song was one of the chartbusters that year. While Pritam composed the soundtrack, the lyrics were penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya.

  1. Jai Jai Shivshankar (War, 2019)

A modern take on Holi songs, the number, featuring Hritik Rohan and Tiger Shroff, two of Bollywood’s handsome hunks and impeccable dancers, captures the carefree spirit of the festival, urging all to break the rules and douse themselves with music, colours and bhaang.

With music composed by Vishal-Shekhar, and the lyrics written by Kumaar, the high-octane number sung by Vishal and Benny Dayal has been choreographed by Bosco and Caesar. The dance that showcases Tiger’s acrobatics and Hritik’s nimble moves has vibes matching a Kamli or a Rowdy Baby.

For the uninitiated, it has nothing to do with the Rajesh Khanna-Mumtaj song by the same name. This one follows Jai Jai Shiv Shankar with Mood Hai Bhayankar (mood is terrifying).

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