Why has Bollywood stopped making new Holi tunes? – Great story | Hindi movie news

There is an indelible Holi tracklist that surfaces every spring and returns to the annals of forgotten history within 24 hours. He resurfaces every year, but never manages to last more than a day or two. This list includes classics like Silsila’s Rang Barse with Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha, Sholay’s Holi Ke Din Dil Khil Jate Hain with Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Kati Patang’s Aaj Na Chodenge with Rajesh Khanna and Asha Parekh.
There are a dozen more tracks on this list, and films like Sholay, Silsila, and even Mohabbatein have not only elaborate tunes and dance numbers, but scenes that incorporate drama into the Holi setting. But, in the age of Gen Z and Gen Alpha, the colors and vibrancy of Holi music seem to have vanished from the cinema. The latest and most memorable Holi song was Balam Pichkari in Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani which dates back to the year 2013. That was a decade ago. You could offer a rebuttal and say War’s Jai Jai Shivshankar was iconic from a Gen Z perspective, but if you’ve known Holi and its trappings, then you know that the colorful camaraderie between Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff is more dancer with motifs colorful rather than an old school Holi celebration.

This is exactly what we are discussing in this week’s Big Story. Has the festive music of Holi become a lost thought for Indian films, composers and their listeners and viewers?
Changing colors and cultures

The main reason Holi has lost its luster in movies is the changing cultural landscape. Director Subhash Ghai explains the effect of time and says, “Cinema is a reflection of society. Holi and Diwali festivals have no place in cinema anymore. Celebrating festivals used to be a community process but now it is not more so People used to gather for Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi and Diwali. They don’t anymore. Everything changes with time. Cinema has changed, costumes have changed, colors have changed. India still celebrates its festivals but it it does in smaller cities. In big cities, celebrations are more about throwing parties and playing with soft colors.”


Rakesh Roshan believes that the new generation is no longer involved in festivals. He says, “Today’s generation doesn’t believe in any of this. They don’t fly kites, they don’t play Holi, they don’t celebrate Diwali. They’re on the phone or on the internet. in movies. As filmmakers, we have to keep up with the times, don’t we? Before we had romantic songs shot in exotic locations. That era is over. Now we have background songs.”

Composer-Singer-Actor Sheykhar Ravjiani and one half of the iconic composer duo Vishal-Shekhar echoes similar sentiments as Ghai and Roshan and says, ‘Films and their storylines have always been a reflection of the current state of the art. social soul of the time. And music too evolves with that. Today we are in an age where the depth and variety of storytelling in cinema is fascinating and may or may not lend itself to festive imagery or song.”

Western influence has changed Indian filmmakers

Ask any contemporary filmmaker in their 30s about their movie idols and they’ll likely name Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick ahead of Yash Chopra or Manmohan Desai. Indian youth have grown up under the influence of a global pop culture and the shift in sensibilities is evident.

Director Suneel Darshan believes young India has forgotten the roots of its old culture. He says, ‘Hindi films lack Indian culture. I guess it’s because the commissioning authorities where film content is approved come from ultra-urban settings or American film schools, which have progressively alienated the younger generation from the culture we should be proud of. Such socially and culturally relevant rituals deserve to be integrated into our films which must remind young people that Holi, Raakhi and Diwali are more meaningful than Tomatino, Thanksgiving and Halloween!”

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Lyricist Sameer Anjaan, who wrote such memorable numbers as Baghban’s Holi Khele Raghuveera and Waqt’s Do Me A Favor Lets Play Holi, points out that modern filmmakers are too busy emulating the West. He says: “The presence of our festivals and our culture is slowly decreasing in cinema because of the kind of education and education we are giving to our children. They are slowly approaching foreign culture. Also, the kind of stories that are being made are more practical and are about sex and crime. Putting a Holi song into movies and projects like that is next to impossible.”

Subhash Ghai adds, “The only two people in the film industry who keep the grace and tradition of Holi alive are Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and his wife Jaya Bachchan. They still celebrate Holi with family and friends.”

Holi no longer inspires music
Subhash Ghai says, “Silsila’s Rang Barse is my all time favorite Holi song because Mr Bachchan sang it and Mr Yash Chopra filmed it”. On the other hand, there might be millions of teenage boys and girls who perhaps would have heard Rang Barse on Holi, but would not have had the prospect of connecting it with Yash Chopra’s iconic film.

Sensitivity and musical tastes have changed radically only in the last 20 years. Indian youth are much more inclined towards Trap, Hip-Hop, EDM and Pop music than everlasting classics.

Film historian and expert Dilip Thakur cites an interesting example and says, “There was a memorable Holi song Balam Pichkari in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Director Ayan Mukerji was asked in a press conference why a Holi song came back again in films. The director I can’t answer the question. Hindi cinema has changed since the advent of multiplexes. Indian festivals have slowly started to disappear from Hindi cinema”.


Sameer Anjaan explains the generation gap and says, “Today music is posed as filling in the blanks. They don’t realize the importance of music. Remove Deepika Padukone’s Besharam Rang from Pathaan and see the difference. As songwriters, we are powerless because we totally depend on history. If history isn’t meant to allow us to write songs like that, then what do we do? I have three mind-blowing Holi songs ready for the last couple of years, but I’m not getting a single film where I can put one of those songs.”

Suneel Darshan believes that modern composers and singers are not attached to the idea of ​​festivals. He says, “Holi is very underrepresented on screens because he needs to be supported by some cultural songs like Silsila’s Rang Barse. But that doesn’t find favor with the sensibilities of most of the current composers and song pickers.”

Holi sequences are an expensive affair

In the past, movies were made over months and sometimes even years. But today, having an efficient production schedule that can wrap up shooting within days is absolutely equivalent. And somewhere in search of smarter budgets, the showsha of Holi songs fell out of favor.

Sameer Anjaan doesn’t mince words when he says, ‘You have to spend a lot of money to get the Holi songs. You have to get the people, the colors and everything that goes with it. a song.”

Choreographer and director Ganesh Acharya explains, “The last Holi song I choreographed was Chhan Ke Mohalla from Action Replayy (2010). The last good Holi song was Balam Pichkari from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. The songs in the film are positioned according to the need of the story. I think the demand has reduced.”

An actor from the 90s offers an interesting insight as he quotes Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Holi dedication. He says, “I’m a big fan of SLB movies and the way it brings grandeur. He did it with Holi too. Just look at Ram-leela’s Lahu Muh Lag Gaya, Bajirao Mastani’s Mohe Rang Do Laal and Holi from Padmaavat. His songs are pure opulence. It’s money well spent and he has brought a whole new and sublime tinge to Holi celebrations.”


No Holi songs means no stories

Shooting for a Holi song or scene means dealing with copious amounts of color, water, props, and dozens or sometimes hundreds of extras and background dancers. It can be a production nightmare. Nowadays the less is more approach is favored all round.

Ganesh Acharya explains, “It is fun as well as inspiring to shoot a festival song. I had choreographed a Holi song for Ram Setu (2022) but it wasn’t in the final cut. be one of the reasons why there aren’t many Holi songs in movies anymore.”

Subhash Ghai believes that people have become more self-aware. He says, “People have also become more conscious of personal hygiene. Purane zamane mein toh sab ek hi pani ke talab mein doob jate the. Now that’s not going to happen with the stars.”

Dilip Thakur quotes an old memory of Ghai’s Holi celebrations and reveals, “There was a Holi celebration at Subhash Ghai’s bungalow in Madh Island. Madhuri Dixit was present at the celebration but nobody dared to color Madhuri. Nothing cheap has happened to her.”

Movies are no longer about “song and dance”

Rakesh Roshan sums up the Holi situation as he explains how songs and music are no longer a priority in movies. He says: “Songs play a very important role in our films. Actors have become superstars because of songs. Today, superstar culture is not there because there are no songs. The last generation of actors to have good songs for theirs was the generation of Hrithik. .”


Rahul V Chittella who had an elaborate song and dance sequence in Gulmohar his debut film says, ‘I wanted to end the film with smiles on people’s faces. And the song and colors were a beautiful way to represent that. Someone asked me – but why does the film have a happy ending? I said because we all want to be happy in the end”.

Shekhar Ravjiani offers a more pragmatic debate when he says, “Forcing a festival sequence into a storyline just to keep the musical connection going is not something directors, composers or even audiences want these days. I think it’s ok, because We have an equal number of highly talented independent artists releasing their own music that relates to these festivals in their own unique way.”

Showman Subhash Ghai offers the final say as he wonders, “Is it no longer fashionable to play with colors without a care in the world. The color of entertainment has changed dramatically. If I were to write a song and a sequence for Holi this year What would you come up with?” This is food for thought alright.


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