From time-honoured classics like Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay (1975) and Yash Chopra’s Silsila (1981) to recent hits like Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat (2018), the festival of colours has been a recurring theme in Bollywood movies. We revisit Bollywood’s connection with Holi with some iconic moments in Hindi movies that remain etched in our memories.
In Yash Chopra’s psychological thriller Darr, Shah Rukh Khan plays Rahul, who obsesses about his classmate Kiran (Juhi Chawla) and becomes vengeful when she gets engaged to navy officer Sunil (Sunny Deol). During the song Ang Se Ang Lagana, a desperate Rahul barges into Kiran’s home on the pretext of playing Holi and smears colour on her. He, however, is unrecognisable since his face is also full of colours. What follows is a thrilling chase sequence that kept us glued to our seats.
Amitabh Bachchan plays Narayan Shanker, a strict school principal who swears by his rules, in Aditya Chopra’s romantic drama Mohabbatein. He clashes with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj Aryan, the new music teacher, as the latter values freedom more than rules and discipline. However, the two decide to bury the hatchet on Holi. Raj puts a teeka on Narayan Shanker’s forehead and convinces him to permit the students to play Holi outside the campus.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)
During the melodious song Haule Haule from Aditya Chopra’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Surinder Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) applies a little colour on his newly-wed wife Taani’s (Anushka Sharma) forehead on the occasion of Holi. Taani, who has just lost her father, is not keen on celebrating the festival and stoically attends to household chores. For a fleeting second, there is a twinkle in her eyes and she applies a little colour on Surinder’s face as a token of appreciation. It is during this song that Surinder buys a car for Taani and takes her to the movies to make her feel special.
Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela (2013)
No one presents Indian festivals in films quite like Sanjay Leela Bhansali Bhansali. In Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela, Ram (Ranveer Singh), who belongs to the Rajadi clan, boldly enters the house of their rivals, the Saneras, during Holi celebrations. He meets Leela (Deepika Padukone) for the first time and flirts with her. The silent communication between Ram and Leela is electrifying as the song Lahu Muh Lag Gaya plays in the background.
In Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmaavat, Alauddin Khilji’s (Ranveer Singh) army lay siege to the fort of Chittor for six months without any luck. As the stocks of grains are fast depleting, the king of Chittor, Raja Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), is in a fix. When Holi arrives, Ratan Singh instructs his men to celebrate the festival with full zeal as a display of their valiance and undying fortitude. The highlight of the Holi song is the chemistry between Rani Padamavati (Deepika Padukone) and Ratan Singh where the queen smears the king with colours on a swing.
Khilji uses Holi as a pretext to extend an olive branch to the Rajput king. He is allowed entry inside the Chittor fort. Eventually he tricks Ratan Singh and imprisons him.