New Delhi: Holi, while a great mating ritual for some and a special festive time for others, has been one of the favourite festivals of Bollywood.
Beautiful people prancing around in white clothes, the heroine giving "come hither" look to the hero, the hero coming and playfully smearing colour on her face -- and all this, while an inconspicuous band is playing the Nashik dhol and the side actors are dancing away to glory in a fantastic choreographed manner. Remember that fleeting scene in 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi' where Shah Rukh Khan in a geeky avatar is singing 'Holay holay ho jaega pyaar'? He shyly fills Anushka Sharma's maang and she playfully dabs him on the cheek with dry colour.
Take the famous Yash Chopra film 'Silsila', for example. In the cult song 'Rang Barse', while being happily drunk on desi bhaang, Amitabh Bachchan manages to woo two hot women, dance a perfect jig, play a music instrument with finesse and and manage not to resemble a circus clown. He even teases the husband of the girlfriend (Rekha) and gets away with it.
I have often wondered if these actors and actresses worry about getting the colour off their face the next day. Or how does their hair manage to look bouncy and clean even after it has been splattered with toxic-filled colour and muddy water? The latter might be answered by Deepika Padukone, who, in a hair oil advertisement recommends loading the tresses with the oil, before venturing out to holi. Yeah. I just used a noun as a verb. Sue me.
I was unfortunate enough to have learned that the holi colours (whatever vile substance they are made of) do not come off easily -- especially when gallons of water has been splashed over it. I was also one of the many holi victims who had to go to school the next day a with pink face and blue ears.
Be it the happy dancing at 'Holi aayi re kanhai' in 'Mother India' (save, of course, when Birju tries to feel up the village landlord's daughter and she bites him) or the festive cheer of 'Holi ke din' from 'Sholay' -- I have always preferred to celebrate Holi vicariously, through Bollywood. I mean, seriously. It is a much better option. Where else can one get to see Sandhya doing a weird unisex dance in 'Arrey ja re hat natkhat' in 'Navrang', with a mask and dude clothes taped to the back of her head and her back? Or see Waheeda Rehman wear a nath and gajra and dance with her ladies in waiting in 'Phagun', in anticipation of her husband, for Holi.
Indeed, when my classmates were choosing a pichkari which will throw out water with the most piercing force, I was at home with the bitter realisation that water balloons, when thrown from a distance, really hurt. They really, really hurt.
For several years I have been able to get away from Holi by concocting an imaginary skin allergy to colours. A couple of years ago, that happy bubble burst when my roommate claimed that she had bought 100% organic colours to torment me with. After smearing the colour on my face, and in my ears, she proceeded to spit on the colour and smear it on my teeth. She is a journalist.
And now my cover has been blown.
I'm sure you agree now -- be it the pichkari or the multitude of effervescent colours, one has to admit, Holi looks much better in Bollywood, than it does in real life.