Wilting Traditions – 1 : Holi & Hindi Cinema

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 26, 2011                   12. 2O A.M.

We just celebrated Holi. Indian festivals, specially North Indian festivals always played major roles in the Hindi films of yesteryears. Once upon a time Holi , Deewali , Makar Sankranti and  Raksha Bandhan used to be part of the story and were filmed lavishly and portrayed prominently in Hindi films. There used to be hit songs in films celebrating these festivals. And they are still remembered.

When I started watching films, I vividly remember Mehboob Khan‘s films , where Holi was always a part of the story and he used to picturize it lavishly. His first colour film ” Aan ” [ 1951 ] had a memorable Holi song – khelo rang hamare sang aaj din rang rangeela aaya…………..It was filmed on Dilip Kumar , Nimmi and large number of junior artistes.

Mother India

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Mehboob Khan’s another timeless classic in colour was Mother India ” [ 1957 ] . It had immensely popular Holi number – holi aayi re kanhayee rang chhalke suna de jara bansuri………It was filmed on Nargis , Sunil Dutt , Rajendra Kumar , Kumkum and large number of junior artistes. Its canvass was vast and it carried the story forward with the help of intercuts and flash-backs . This song is my personal favourite. Mehboob Khan had earlier made ” Mother India ” in Black & white as ” Aurat ” [ 1940 ] and it too had Holi number filmed on Sardar Akhtar , Surendra and Yakub. Incidently ” Aurat “ also had an artiste named Arun [ father of present day star Govinda ]. So in total Mehboob Khan had 3 memorable Holi songs to his credit in classic films like – ” Aurat ” , ” Aan ” and ” Mother India. ”

After Mehboob Khan’s ” Aan ” [ 1951 ] , Dilip Kumar had another memorable Holi number picturized on him in S. U. Sunny’s ” Kohinoor” [ 196 0 ] . It was – man rang lo ji aaj tan rang lo , khelo umang bhar rang pyar ke le lo…………….During his later years Dilip Kumar did a film Mashaal ”  [ 1984 ] for Yash Chopra and it too had a hit and lovely Holi number – o dekho holi aayi ………….

Cover of

Cover of Mashaal

It is noteworthy that all the above mentioned numbers were composed by Naushad and were written by Shakeel Badayuni. Only ” Aurat ” and ” Mashaal “ numbers are exceptions. ” Aurat ” Holi number was composed by Anil Biswas and ” Mashaal “ was composed by Hriday Nath Mangeshkar and was written by Anand Bakshi.

After Mehboob Khan , Dilip Kumar , Naushad and Shakeel Badayuni another filmmaker who filmed magnificient Holi scenes and songs , was veteran V. Shantaram. His ” Navrang ” [ 1959 ] had a wonderful Holi number – arre ja re arre natkhat………………..

Among the yesteryear filmmakers , strangely , Raj Kapoor never filmed a single Holi song or scene in his directorial ventures. Though in real life , his larger than life Holi celebrations were talk of the film industry and are still envied and remembered by many.

Another curious case is Dev Anand’s. His suave and urbane personality was not fit for such kind of rustic and robust celebrations but he has one memorable exception. His immortal film ” Guide ” [ 1965 ] had a popular dance number – piya tose naina lage re , naina lage re…………….In this particular song there was one para dedicated to Holi. It was – aayi holi aayi , sab rang layi , bin tere holi bhi na bhaye………………….. Though Dev Anand was not shown in the song . It was magnificently picturized on Waheeda Rehman by director Vijay Anand. It was composed by Sachin Dev Burman and was written by Shailendra.

After above mentioned artistes and specially after Dilip Kumar , Amitabh Bachchan had most number of memorable Holi songs to his credit. His immortal classic ” Sisila ” [ 1981 ] had a song – rang barse bheege chunar wali rang barse ………… It is a cult song even today. One of his recent hits ” Baghbaan ” [ 2003 ] had another memorable number – holi khelen raghubeera awadh men holi khelen raghubeera……… .. According to me , Amitabh Bachchan has the dubious distinction of having one of the worst Holi number in the history of Hindi cinema to his credit. His later year hit ” Waqt – Race Against Time ” [ 2005 ] had a number composed by Anu Malik – do me a favour lets play holi……………….. Unfortunately this worst Holi song  is the last Holi number in Hindi films till date.

Yash Chopra , director of ” Silsila ” [ 1981 ] , is the second filmmaker after Mehboob Khan , who has filmed large number of memorable Holi songs in his films. After ” Silsila ” [ 1981 ] , he picturized a melodious Holi song on Dilip Kumar , Anil Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in ” Mashaal ” [ 1984 ]. The song was – o dekho holi aayi……………..After ” Mashaal “ he made ” Lamhe ” [ 1991 ] and once again gave us a hit song – mohe chhedo na……………His another classic ” Darr ” [ 1993 ] had another lovely song – ang se ang lagaana sajan mohe aise rang lagaana………………….It was picturized on Shah Rukh Khan , Sunny Deol and Juhi Chawla. So Yash Chopra has 4 Holi songs to his credit , while Mehboob Khan has 3.

In between Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan , for a brief period of time , Rajesh Khanna was the reigning deity. His one of the early successes ” Kati Patang ” [ 1970 ] had a memorable Holi number – aaj na chhodenge bas hamjoli……………It was composed by Rahul Dev Burman and was written by Anand Bakshi. Incidently same composer – lyricist duo gave us another Holi chart-buster in ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ]. It was – holi ke din dil khil jaate hain…………..Though ” Sholay “ was made in the tradition of western cowboy films but it’s Holi song was so wonderfully woven in the story and it was filmed so beautifully that it is remembered even today .

Among today’s stars Aamir Khan had a wonderful song in ” Mangal Pandey  – The Rising [ 2005 ] . It is – dekho aayi holi………….. It is quirk of the matter that worst Holi song of Hindi films , do me a favour , lets play holi……… also came in the same year [ 2005 ] in ” Waqt – Race Against Time ” .

Mangal Pandey: The Rising

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There are some other films also which have some good Holi songs . Rajshri Productions massive hit ” Nadiya Ke Paar ” [ 1982 ] had a catchy number – jogi ji wah jogi ji…………. but it was an exception rather than a rule. After 2005, it is sad that all the recent released films have not portrayed Holi or any other festivals prominently. There are several causes for this scenario.

A – Delhi – UP has ceased to be a prominent territory for Hindi films. Now younger filmmakers make films for metropolitan cities and for overseas markets. So this rustic , robust festival of colours is not finding favours.

B – Younger filmmakers are not familiar with the hinterlands of our country. They seldom go to villages and are unaware of the circumstances of our middle and lower middle class population.

C – Story line of recent films have become city – centric. Rampaging consumerism has changed the scenario beyond recognition and this is being reflected in the recently released films.

D – Rise of television is another root cause for this change. Since films are being made for the overseas territories and for metropolitan centers, so various channels started catering to the rural masses and started beaming village – centric serials. So filmmakers are now not bothered for the masses of hinterlands.

E – Rise of Bhojpuri films are another nail in the coffin. These films specially cater to North Indian public and most of them are still village – centric . So they picturize Holi songs on lavish scale . Recently released hit Bhojpuri film ” Diljale ” [ 2011 ] has a memorable Holi song.

There might be other reasons too, but I am sad that slowly and firmly our festival of colours is coming to a virtual neglect in Hindi films.

It is sad , very sad !







Not A Drop of Tear for Baleshwar Yadav ?

I am so pained and sad to hear that eminent Bhojpuri folk singer Baleshwar Yadav died on January 9th, 2011. This 68 years old legendary BIRAHA singer was being treated in Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Hospital in Lucknow at the time of his death. He was cremated on January 10th, 2011 in Lucknow.

He was born in the Badanpur village of Mau District of Uttar Pradesh on January 1st, 1942. The folk song , he specializes in , is known as BIRAHA. “हमार बलिया बीचे सजना भुलाईल सजनी”  and  “निक लागे टिकुलिया गोरखपुर के”  are some of his famous BIRAHA songs. Among his admirers and fans he was known as Balesar baba. After being famous in his birth-place, he was invited to come to Lucknow [ Capital of Uttar Pradesh ] by the local leader and Member of Parliament Late Jharkhande Rai in 1962. He never looked back after that.

Apart from recording several cassettes and CDs, he started doing stage shows from 2008. His shows were very popular not only in India but also in countries like Mauritius, Germany, Holland, Thailand and various other European countries. He gave a new respectability to Bhojpuri folk music. His last stage show was in Surinam.

He was awarded Yash Bharati Puraskar by Uttar Pradesh Government in 1995 for his contribution to popularise Bhojpuri folk music, specially BIRAHA.


Indian state of Uttar Pradesh

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He is survived by his wife Chhanguri Devi and three sons – Rajesh, Avadhesh and Mithilesh.

I am so peeved that the news of his death was completely ignored by electronic and print media. Indian News Channels have time to mourn death of Salmaan Taseer, a rabid India hater and Hindu batter and Governor of Pakistani Punjab. They are inviting his children for sound bytes. They are shedding copious tears for so-called liberal ( ? ) and Shaheed ( ? ) Salmaan Taseer , but they don’t have time to inform the viewers about the death of this son of the soil called Baleshwar Yadav. I am giving few of the tweets of Salmaan Taseer, so that readers can gauge the mentality and true feelings of liberal ( ? ) and Shaheed ( ? ) Salmaan Taseer:

Salmaan Taseer
SalmaanTaseer Salmaan Taseer
We pray 4 the heroic brave ppl of Kashmir. Inshallah 2011 bring them azadi from the brutal occupation they have faced 4 so many long years
Salmaan Taseer
SalmaanTaseer Salmaan Taseer
Pak has always resisted US pressure on Iran why is India so subservient? Transfer of nuclear technolagy?
Salmaan Taseer
SalmaanTaseer Salmaan Taseer
Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology (GSLV)? Stick 2 bollywood my advice

Salmaan Taseer
SalmaanTaseer Salmaan Taseer
Me India bashing? Im shocked! It’s because I like India that I advise them 2 stop butchering Kashmiris & messing up things in space
I hope that now you can understand the psyche of this so-called liberal Salmaan Taseer. I will write about him some other time. Here I quoted from his twitter handle to show what kind of person he was and our anchors have time for him and not for Baleshwar Yadav. Only Jai Bhojpuri.com informed us about his death.
Any way, leaving Indian Media aside, I have to state that I am a huge fan of Baleshwar Yadan and his music. ” Kawane Karanawa Nhauji Gharawa Me Bolawalu ” and ” Patana Saharia Me Ghume Dui Nataniya “ are his evergreen hits and are my personal favourites. I am sad and I deeply mourn the death of Baleshwar Yadav, who went unwept and unsung, though he sang all his life.

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