Holi Hai!!!!

Happy Holi! I almost forgot this holiday thanks to the national mourning happening (sounds like at least a few of the Holi parties for the film industry will be canceled altogether), but I remembered in time. This is a mix of songs I have posted in previous years and new ones. Enjoy! And let me know if I missed something (yes yes, “Rang Barse” and all the other must dos are there)

Happy Holi!!! Every site in the world is going to have a “best Holi songs” post, and why should I be any different? And if I missed one of your favorites, feel free to tell me in the comments and I will add it.

1. One of my all time favorite Holi songs, and really songs in general, because the lyrics are so brilliantly stupid, they almost go back into being smart. But not really. Mostly still dumb.

2. While the last song is so super super Holi-ified, this one is super lowkey about it. You don’t even realize it is a Holi song until the very end.

3. Okay, I can’t not include this one. Even though it’s also going to be on every single list. Although, I don’t like it so much for the Holi parts, as for how amazing Jaya and Sanjeev are in their reaction shots.

4. A Holi song about filming a Holi song! It’s all meta! And also, a really cool visual when SRK covers his face.

5. He does the same thing here, except instead of trying hide a broken heart, he is trying to hide a murderous intent. Which, I guess, is still driven by a broken heart? Why couldn’t Juhi just love him and let him be happy!

6. Speaking of Shahrukh and death, I really love this Holi song. Especially that one moment when they all leap and then come down on their knees. So macho!

7. Anil Kapoor! And, more importantly, Dilip Sahib! Boy, Yash Chopra really knows how to film a Holi song.

8. Another classic Holi song that every list will include. And once again, my favorite part is Jaya’s reaction shots.

9. Almost 30 years later, Hema’s still got it! You know, the first time I watched Baghban, I got all upset that they cast this thirty-something to play Amitabh’s wife. Like we could ever believe she was the mother of grown children! I mean, now I see it, but at first glance, she doesn’t look more than 35, right?

10. Tina Munim! Who has been in the news for sad reasons, and for sort of “mother of the bride” reasons, but here is a reminder of when she was young and glamorous.

11. Speaking of Rajesh Khanna, here’s another one for him! And another one with the widow in white getting color.

12. Terrible movie, great song! Even with Aamir’s strange hair.

13. Yeah yeah, I’m gonna include it, it’s a new classic, just like everyone says. I just put it off to the end to make you get through all the others first.

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21 thoughts on “Holi Hai!!!!

    • Interesting! I’ve always been confused by the the story, because every time I read it, I was distracted by the idea of the woman dying in the fire. Something about it being a woman, and the hero’s sister, just doesn’t feel as easy to celebrate.

      One thing the article does not address, which relates to our discussion from a few days ago, is the later popular story of Krishna and Radha. Krishna was sad that he was dark-skinned, unlike Radha. So Krishna’s mother suggested that on Holi Krishna could color Radha to be the same as him.

      On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 8:43 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • One can only agree with this if one whole heartedly supports the racial theories of caste. Which are stupid. Mostly because race in India is incredibly hard to identify because we’re all basically different shades rather than entirely different colors.

        I said this on the other thread the day but our matrilineal DNA is just not varied enough to prove an aryan invasion. Which indicates heavy racial mixing. Caste is handed down from the father’s side. With our diverse DNA, caste is actually nothing beyond a social construct. It may be powerful and oppressive enough to make our social structures rigid but it in no way preserves genetic purity. In fact, you can’t even marry someone from your own extended clan or gotra. And that’s in the law.

        Another angle to this is the fact that the groups we call backwards or lower caste aren’t lower caste throughout India. For example, the Jatts in the sikh community originated from the shudras of the gangetic plains. The thakurs or rajputs of the North are considered a backwards class in Gujarat.

        The original varna system was based on the job you chose.

        In this particular story, the demon king hates his demon son who worships vishnu (who had to take on a half man half beast avatar himself to kill the demon king) when the demon aunt couldn’t get the job done.

        Giving it a bahujan reading is stooooopid. First of all because the demon king was born a demon because of his ancestors, who were brahmin, fell from grace due to some misdeeds. The lesson being– you can lose your caste if you stray from the path of righteousness.

        Then, the descendants of the fallen brahmins gain power and wealth and become kings, ie, kshatriyas in deed, but are still considered demons because they continued to act demonic. There literally are NO benevolent demons or demon kings in lore. That’s because that’s the path they must take to work off the curse or by living off the karmic debt.

        The bahujan identity /racial theory is also stupid because of the fact that neither suras or gods or asuras or demons (or anti gods) are human. If anything, the entire concept of gods and demons and divine beings on either side of good is racist in itself because it establishes humans or mortals as being both vastly inferior to these two divine classes and also insignificant within their realms.

        demons, ghouls and spirits are the natural companions of Shiva so this story is more like a tale about establishing vishnu as the primary God from the trinity when his avatar is able to quash the boon from brahma when in fact vishnu himself has to morph into a beast (very much in the Shaiv territory there) to finish off the demon king.

        Also, in Hinduism, you don’t die. You either get liberated from the curse (if you’re cursed) or you get to get born again and do the whole thing again till you’ve paid the debt off.

        As for the feminist bit, well holika wasn’t exactly disenfranchised. She was a princess who acquired great powers through a boon she worked her ass off for, she took charge, she led from the front. And why can’t women be the epitome of evil?? She’s one of the rare demonesses that found prominence in lore.

        I just so hate the victim mentality that bahujan revisionists drown all caste discourse in.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Question so long as you are here and willing to give long answers from a Hindu/Indian perspective.

          I feel like I read the Radha-Krishna story at least once from Radha’s perspective. She loved Krishna and wanted to be dark like him, so was happy on Holi that she could color her face. Did I hallucinate that? Has it always been Krishna wanting to make Radha dark like him and attacking her with colors because he was jealous of her paleness?

          Anyway, I like my version better and if I did hallucinate it, I think I might keep it anyway.

          On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 11:06 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • The radha krishna tale is full of such small tidbits. You probably got this one from the song yashomati maiyya se bole nandlala, radha kyun gori main kyun kala.

            Krishna, the word itself means dark, is the epitome of the vishnu lore. In that no other avatar of his conveys what exactly it is that vishnu is supposed to be about than krishna. Vishnu is the sustainer of the world. The hierarchy is shiva (who is all matter and everything behind it) then vishnu born from shiva (not as a son though, just a lower level of divinity that’s from shiva but distinct from him) then brahma who was born from vishnu (again the same non son arrangement)

            So shiva doesn’t create. He just ends things. Vishnu also doesn’t create. He’s just responsible for programming the world and everything in it for them to reach the desired results aka nirvana. Brahma is just the manufacturer. He’s not even a proper god.

            Since vishnu is the programmer writing the code that’ll make the software work, it’s difficult to see what exactly it is that he does. So he invented krishna as a proxy for himself and inserted him inside the program and us the readers can see, through krishna, that it’s vishnu pulling the strings of all that happens in earth.

            Hence, krishna can’t be jealous of her paleness. He forever toys with her. He teases her. And she teases him back. She without knowing who he is and what it is that he’s doing. She’s supposed to represent the mortal soul that feels a physical love for the divine soul.

            Not sure this answered this answered your question though. Also, best krishna lore song in hindi film- Mathura Nagarpati from The Raincoat.

            Liked by 1 person

          • This all just makes me want to watch The Matrix again.

            I think that sort of playful “I am saying this but we both know I am faking” is what makes stalking and similar behaviors okay or not okay for me in films. It’s really subtle and depends both on how it is written and how it is performed, but in some movies I feel like the hero is just playing with the heroine, and she knows it and is enjoying the game, while in other movies I feel like the hero wants to scare her and she is actually scared.

            On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 11:41 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • And sometimes the girl knows and she knows the hold she has on him and she manipulates him using this knowledge. ie Mary in Premam and the entire plot of Raanjhana

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        • Wow–thanks so much for your long and thoughtful answer. Indian culture/s, traditions and current society are so complex–I’ll never get tired of trying to learn more.

          I was also interested in the author’s ideas of hegemony of tradition–the idea that everyone is eating the same desserts, but some use jaggery and others milk because of historical and economic differences. So it’s not really as “the same” as it seems. If my brain were working a bit better this morning, I’m sure I could come up with American equivalents. Something about Christmas trees, or what foods make up Thanksgiving meals.

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          • The only thing you’d ever need to learn about Indian culture is that whenever you’re reading about it, it may very well be just one of the million factually correct perspectives on the topic. Even what I say is just one angle. That’s because our society is multi ethnic and multi layered and there’s just always been so many of us. With the formation of the union at the time of independence, we’ve lost whatever cultural uniqueness each region might have had and that’s a bit of a shame too.

            One of the things that impacts perspectives is the structure of the society that has shaped that POV or the context of that particular person’s experiences and their background.

            Take this essay for example. The author, a non-savarna woman, looks at a northern harvest festival from the vaishnav tradition, and sees it as a sign of oppression of the entire bahujan community across India. How would that influence the dravidian identity considering it’s not a dravidian festival??

            She sees the festival’s promiscuous side as a tool in the hands of the oppressing patriarchy to oppress women even more and actually harass them. She doesn’t even acknowledge that women can or could’ve enjoyed the promiscuity too. And that’s a mental block no-one can help her with.

            She sees, and it’s important to note that she’s a well educated, well to do woman TODAY, that the traditional food they make for the festival seems “poor” compared to what their “savarna” friends would eat as part of their traditional feast.

            What she doesn’t tell us is if her savarna friends have historically been economically stable or not. Because if I’m friends with, let’s say a prince, my family’s food traditions would be very different than what the prince’s would be. If I should gain a title and an inheritance to go with it, I could eat the same food too. BUT, it won’t be my tradition. Now, I can either lament the fact that my traditional food is “poor” because I used to be poor OR I can preserve my traditions as is and give it the honor and historicity it deserves. Somehow, and it annoys me so that so many dalit/bahujan people who advanced in life have this guilt/anger over things they didn’t historically have and they attribute that to their caste rather their poverty.

            I’m particularly pissed off by people who have risen in life economically who lament their food traditions. Not only is that disrespectful in the sense that in this very country people still die of hunger and malnourishment, it is also stupid because I don’t understand WHY these kinds of people are ashamed of what they ate.

            Mostly because I still have a very strong connection to my own village and I still enjoy the “poor” food even though I can afford the finest. 85% of Indian cuisine is made up of peasant food. The reason why our food is so grain heavy is because eating JUST vegetables/dairy/meat/legumes would be astonishingly expensive. Also, this particular lament is nowhere to be found when imported food traditions like birthday cake have fully replaced whatever individual birthday food traditions existed before it. Do I hear scholars from any historically disadvantaged communities moaning about cake? No I don’t. Because that would be really reaching and people will call you stupid for saying dalits not eating cake historically is a sign of their systematic oppression.

            Another thing that you need to remember when reading about caste theories from bahujan perspectives is that the dalit/bahujan identity has been completely hijacked by vote bank politics and a whole wave of scholars made it a point to always marginalise themselves. It would be interesting to note here that the data from the first caste based census around a decade ago wasn’t made publicly available for fear of social strife. A logical conclusion to draw from that would be- the socially disadvantaged communities form a healthy majority of the population which might mean that it is actually the savarnas that are a minority and THEY qualify for reservation (as opposed to what the situation is right now)

            Anywho, the self marginalisation bit happens a lot with feminist scholars too. And that’s been detrimental to the cause because after a point what they’re saying becomes irrelevant for the mainstream and nothing changes on the ground.

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          • I take everything I read with a grain of salt. None of us ever have the full picture free from biases. But its really enjoyable reading folks with strong opinions and willing to put up arguments to support them, like you.

            I lived in Ethiopia for 3 years in the 2000’s, and I felt like I had a decent grasp of the patterns and fault lines of Ethiopian society along gender, ethnic, religious, class, demographic lines, etc. Still from an outsider perspective of course. And it is a lovely country with lots of diverse traditions. But I get the sense that I could live in India, in multiple regions, for many years, and still not have a confident grasp of those basics and how they influence day to day interactions. I’ve been to Delhi, Rajasthan, Jarkhand, and Odissa, and they’ve all felt substantially different. Still have to get to Mumbai sometime!

            Underlying it all is the humanity that’s the same everywhere–we want food, safety, love, something interesting to do to pass the time, and the next generation to do better than ours did.

            How much of “victimhood” comes from self-marginalization or exaggeration for political advantage vs coming from actual patterns of oppression would be a fun conversation to have, but more in person over some wine than on a blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

          • A lot of these conversations would go better in person over wine ๐Ÿ˜‰

            As for India, if you do visit and decide to live here a while, you’d end up developing a culture of your own. It’s just that kind of a place ๐Ÿ˜‚

            Liked by 2 people

  1. Hello

    Yes there are really nice songs but I also like the one in Badrinath Ki dulhania. I mean I think that’s a holi song, right?

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  2. Also, my favorite holi song is actually a bhojpuri one — ae bhauji rang deb choriya tohar.

    It’s an absolutely ridiculous song where a devar and bhabhi are teasing each other. Holi is famed for the promiscuity angle and a lot of this promiscuity gets social sanction too under the “you can’t mind this, it’s holi” bit.

    In this song, the devar tells the bhabhi “i’ll lock us both in a room and then I’ll smear a lot of color on your choli” (yea, it’s literally that dirty!) and the bhabhi says “yeah, go ahead, I dare you to” ๐Ÿ˜‚

    I probably can’t even hear this being played aloud today without feeling embarrassed and slightly offended but the first time I heard it, we were at our village, the entire family, and it was being blared from every rooftop. The men from our family, including the boys, formed a procession, played holi in front of everyone’s house in the village with our then family driver Bahadur Uncle. (sidenote: apparently Bahadur Uncle was carried to India from Nepal in a flood when he was a child and a friend of my dad’s who ran a hotel raised him and he was later employed as a driver by my family and he became the kind of family “help” you see in films. To the point where he offered unsolicited advice, demanded special food be made for him on occasion and he was accepted as a part of the family by our extended family and circle too. He died in an accident trying to keep the car on course when it went off a cliff in Nepal. My chachi, her kids, her sister’s family and my cousin auntie all survived thanks to him holding onto the steering till the very end)

    So there they were with Bahadur Uncle drunk out of his mind providing the laughs with his hilarious drunk dance while women lined the terraces and balconies throwing color and water at the party with them mouthing this super flirty/sexual song at the bhabhis. Back then you could do that on Holi without it being considered super offensive. Of course, you couldn’t be lewd with bhabhis if they didn’t participate. And they mostly participated when the men were well known to them!!

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    • I’ve sometimes thought the solution to the whole Holi debate is less teaching men to be more respectful, but more letting women be aggressive back. Not in a “taste of your own medicine” way, but so that the dynamic shifts from “men chase women” to “people play with people”. Nothing wrong witha fun flirty drunk holiday, so long as there is consent involved all around.

      Which is also what is so appealing about many of the best Holi songs! It’s a chance for the male and female singer/dancers to have a flirty battle, not just male aggression.

      On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 11:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • It used to be that. Women could be free to flirt back or at least enjoy sexual innuendos more obviously.

        Bollywood never captured the flirtiness of the devar-bhabhi that was a part of the hindi heartland culture. Because they established that bhabhi is ma long ago and maybe it felt wrong to them to move from that position.

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        • “Didi Tera Deewar Deewana”? That song always seemed really odd to me. Probably because it is the only one that touches on that kind of relationship.

          On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 11:43 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But the lyrics are all about Madhuri standing in for her sister and pretending to be her sister flirting with Salman!

            On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 12:23 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But, then, why is Madhuri fake-pregnant? That song confuses me so much!

            On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 5:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It’s part of the story she’s telling. She’s talking of a future time when his wife would be pregnant. And this boy is so silly that she’d tell him to bring imli for her morning sickness and he’d bring something sweet because he couldn’t make the imli-morning sickness connection even if the evidence was overwhelming and in front of his face (meaning the belly). The song makes fun of him and his silliness almost calling him too immature for what he’s attempting eg flirtation which apparently you should do only if you’re a grown up

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