Happy 420! Let’s Celebrate Indian Style, With Bhang!

(this is an updated and reposted post from last year) I think this might be just an American thing, but 4/20 is traditionally a day to celebrate Marijuana.  There are a whole bunch of different versions of where it came from, but just accept that “420” in general is slang for marijuana, and therefore the date 4/20 has become a marijuana holiday.  Which means, I get to do a post of my favorite songs in which people are high!

1. First, an recent song in which they actually smoked marijuana, not just drank marijuana milk.  So modern and western!

2. In complete contrast, here’s a very traditional version of this genre.  Innocent village girl Madhuri, and innocent village children, get high by stealing and drinking the bhang from the temple.  Nothing western, nothing “adult”, just sweet Indian heritage and Hindu religion, and their associations with drugs.

3. I find this song fascinating for many reasons, but in terms of bhang, isn’t it interesting that it is set in Singapore?  Making the enjoyment of bhang part of a diasporic attempt to reclaim their Indian identity?  Through getting really really high?

4. Of course, I can’t include that one, without including the other.  Which was less about reclaiming an Indian identity while abroad, and more about reclaiming a non-Westernized Indian identity.

5. All of those songs were voluntary enjoyment, but of course Bhang songs can also be a bit of a lowkey date rape situation.  For instance, in this song from Manzil Manzil when Sunny has tricked Dimple into drinking a ton of Bhang and, for unrelated reasons, she is dressed up as a bride.  (sorry for the poor video quality, for some reason this is the best option available.  Internet!  You have failed me!)

6. Speaking of getting women drunk on Bhang, supposedly Prabhudeva tricked Sonakshi into drinking Bhang before they shot this song, so she would loosen up.  I don’t know if I exactly approve of the methods, but I love the end result!

7.  Of course, male characters can also be tricked into drinking bhang.  For instance, Ali Zafar here.  I’ve watched this movie twice, and I’m still not quite sure why it was important to their plan to trick him into getting drunk, but it’s a fun song, isn’t it?

8. And then there’s those times when they are both tricked, and we get a nice little duet of drunkness.

9. All of these songs have had the fun light-hearted part of drug use, the nostalgic old fashioned kind.  But recently there’ve been a string of movies about “ooo, drugs, bad!”.  Dum Maro Dum isn’t a terribly good movie, but it is notable for taking a traditional old-fashioned song about drug use, and repurposing it for modern India.

10. Although actually, now that I re-watch it, the originally was already a little dark.  Especially when you have the long version, so you have not only Zeenat’s verse, but Dev’s response, in which he contradicts her whole lifestyle (I wish there were subtitles so you could really appreciate it!). End lesson being: don’t spend your whole life smoking marijuana!  It’s not Indian!


3 thoughts on “Happy 420! Let’s Celebrate Indian Style, With Bhang!

    • That is fascinating! Do you know why “Vennilave” works so well with it? Because both the original “Vennilave” and La La Land are picking up on the classic Stanley Donen-Gene Kelly dance duet sequences.


  1. Who are these people smoking bhang and dancing? What kind of adulterated shit are they smoking? Lol. Interestingly enough, the edible bhang does make you kinda giggly and you need a holi kind of atmosphere to want to dance. You smoke the stuff and you wanna chill. With food. The most accurate depiction of weed smoking in hindi films that I’ve seen so far is in Dear Zindagi (super bad acting though) and Go Goa Gone. I look at that I’m like, yeah that’s me! We need an honest Indian weed smoking culture film.


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