'Holi ke rang mein', 'Rang barse bheege chunar wali' and 'Holi khele Raghuveera' are some popular Hindi movie songs that captured the spirit of the festival of colours on the big screen. But recent years have witnessed a dearth of songs revolving round the festival, leaving audiences with no choice but to stick to the old ones.
The last famous Holi song that people could dance to was 'Do me a favour...let's play holi' from the film 'Waqt - Race Against Time' (2005). The song was picturised on Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra and had the right mood, colour and energy required for a Holi song.
After this, audiences have not had a Holi song that they can match steps with.
'Hardly any films are shot in India so it's tough for Holi to come in. Also filmmakers aren't writing about festivals like Holi and Diwali, which is quite sad,' Kunal Kohli, who made hits like 'Hum Tum' and 'Fanaa', told IANS.
Kumar Taurani, managing director of Tips Industries, said: 'Inclusion of songs depends upon situations. One can only put a Holi song in a film if it is going with the flow of the script. In my films I only add songs that organically match the situation of the film.'
Taurani produced films like 'Race', 'Ajab Prem Ki Ghajab Kahani'. His forthcoming movie is 'Prince'.
Holi, a festival of colours, fun and frolic is often intermixed with yesteryear Bollywood songs, including 'Holi aaye re kanhayee' ('Mother India'), 'Arre ja re hat natkhat' ('Navrang'), 'Aaj na chodenge bas humjoli' ('Kati Patang'), 'Holi ke din' ('Sholay'), 'Rang barse' ('Silsila'), 'Mal de gulal mohe, aaye holi aaye re' ('Kaamchor'), 'Ang se ang lagana sajan' ('Darr') and 'Holi khele raghuveera' ('Baghban').
Popular singer Sukhwinder Singh feels that a majority of films have an urban setting nowadays, so Holi songs have become rare.
'For a few years now we hardly have scenes of festivals in films, maybe because the settings of stories have become more urban. Unless there is a situation, a song cannot be pushed in. Such songs are really entertaining; so I hope filmmakers try and create situations in their films that facilitate Holi songs,' he said.
Lyricist Irshad Kamil cites a different reason for the absence of Holi songs.
'People are making fewer songs based on Holi because you have to promote it near the festival only. If the film gets delayed, the song which is specially made for Holi looks outdated,' said the lyricist who has written a Holi song for Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai starrer 'Action Replayy'.
'In the film, I have written a Holi song but it's not like the usual Holi songs that we have been seeing. The song is picturised in the backdrop of Holi, but it is not dependent on that. It could have been picturised without the Holi ambience as well,' he added.
This year Holi will be celebrated on March 1.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)