Holi is one of the biggest festivals celebrated across sects and castes in the Indian society. The tradition is carried forward in Bollywood, wherein major incidents happen during Holi celebrations. These incidents sometimes are venerated with beautiful songs — which have gone on to become a cult. But the icing on the cake is always the incident that precedes or succeeds the song.
We list five major Holi sequences that turned the narrative of their respective movies upside down:
The first and foremost sequence is the one in ‘Damini’. For those who haven’t watched the courtroom drama, the Holi sequence essentially marks the beginning of change in the life of Meenakshi Seshadri’s Damini. On Holi, Shekhar’s, played by Rishi Kapoor, younger brother and his friends rape the house help Urmi.
Shekhar and Damini are witness to the rape.
In the aftermath, Damini fights for the larger cause of bringing Urmi to justice, even going against her husband who is caught up in the dilemma of whether to save his family or follow his conscience.
How the couple comes to term with their conscience and the larger good, and how Damini brings Urmi to justice, with the help of Sunny Deol’s Govind — the crux of the story — is perpetrated by the Holi sequence.
The next that comes to mind is the Holi sequence in ‘Sholay’. One of the most popular Holi songs — ‘Holi Ke Din Dil Khil Jaatey Hain, Rangon Mein Rang Mil Jaatey Hain’ — is followed by the dacoits visiting Ramgarh. This is the first time Amitabh Bachchan‘s Jai and Dharmendra’s Veeru bear witness to these “daaku”s.
Jai and Veeru fight these dacoits and send them scooting back to their captain Gabbar Singh. This is also the first time the audience are introduced to Amzad Khan’s Gabbar — inarguably the best debut in Indian cinema.
The story unfolds from here and showcases how Gabbar Singh wronged Thakur Baldev Singh, and why is revenge the latter’s ultimate goal in life.
Two loveless marriages come to a standstill in this Holi song-sequence of Silsila — ‘Rang Barse Bheegey Chunar Waali’. This crucial sequence begins with Rekha’s Chandni wondering, “Holi ka rang dekhkar pehla pyaar kyun yaad aa jaata hai.”
Jaya Bachchan’s Shobha adds, “Iss desh mein pati premi nahin hotey.”
The cutting statements make way to Amitabh Bachchan’s Amit mischievously singing ‘Rang Barse’, only to — finally — let Sanjeev Kumar’s sense his feelings for his wife Chandni. He comments, “Kaii rang pakke hotey hain,” successfully implying he now knows.
No Holi celebration in India — since 1981 — has been complete without this song. But it is this song’s sheer mischief and slyness that makes the two spouses watch Amit and Chandni dance and play around in full abandon — blame it on the bhaang though. Their helplessness at the unfolding of the events forms the quintessence of ‘Silsila’.
For some, Holi is nothing without hooliganism. For ‘Darr’s Rahul, it surely was a bigger affair than that. In one-sided love with K…K….K….K…Kiran for ages, Shah Rukh Khan‘s Rahul dares to meet Juhi Chawla’s Kiran in person for the first time.
But a hooligan is a hooligan at the end of the day — his face is smeared with Holi colours and hardly recognisable. So he goes on playing dhol at the Holi gathering at Kiran’s place, while she dances on ‘Rang Se Rang Milaana’ with Sunny Deol’s Sunil, her fiance.
It is at the end of the song that Rahul goes to Kiran, puts colour on her cheek and says in his inimitable style “K…K….K….K…Kiran”.
Kiran then realises it’s her stalker and yells. Sunil runs after him, but fails to catch him. The lovebirds then realise the stalker can go to extreme lengths to prove her obsession, setting the tone of the film.
It is from this point in the movie that Rahul gets even more obsessed with Kiran, and makes her life hell.
5) Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Holi has seldom been a happy occasion in Bollywood, and ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ stands testament to this as a happy song ‘Balam Pichkaari’ is followed by a tragic scene where Naina has to let Bunny go.
In the sequence, Deepika Padukone‘s Naina realises how diametrically opposite her world is from Kabir’s (Bunny). So she despite having fallen madly in love with him doesn’t confess her love and lets him go.
Ranbir Kapoor’s Kabir, on the other hand, is completely unaware of Naina’s love for him. He moves on from their vacation to fulfil his dreams — only to meet her again after eight years and fall in love with her.