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Come Holi and festivity is all around in the air. One can visualise thandai (without bhang hopefully), gujhiya, colours, sweets and
namkeen, but what rules the roost are Holi
. Amazingly, when it comes to Holi songs, our very Big B, who hails from Allahabad, is the king! Dont't believe me? Ask anyone for a Holi song and they start with `Holi khele Raghubeera Awadh mein' from the movie Baghban. Here Amitabh Bachchan, portraying a father of four grown-up sons and a grandfather of two, teases and plays Holi with his gorgeous wife Hema Malini in the movie giving the message that age is no bar to play holi! Ask for another song and there comes `Rang barse'. Totally an Aby Baby's number with his characteristic dance movements, it was rated as the immortal Holi song for the last two decades until the recent `Holi khele Raghubeera'. Even today it can be easily ranked at number two (that too because the younger generation has taken to the recent song) - there can be no Holi celebration without this song. Remember Gabbar Singh? Of course and the song `Holi ke din dil mil jaate hain' in the blockbuster Sholay. The song has beautifully captured the spirit of Holi through the graceful and playful movements of Dharmendra and Hema Malini, even as the surcharged emotions of Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya, who plays a widow in the movie, are portrayed poignantly in plain white colour. King khan too doesn't lag behind in Holi revelry. Be it the Holi song in the 1993 flick Darr or the `soni soni akhiyo wali' from Mohabbatein, Shah Rukh Khan regaled us all. But, do you know that Bollywood has even given a song for Holi in English? Remember `Waqt', where Akshay Kumar requests his pregnant wife Priyanka Chopra with song `Do me a favour, let's play Holi.. rango me mili hai pyar ki boli'. So now husbands know another way to persuade their wives to play colours with them! Early 70's witnessed the then superstar Rajesh Khanna in many a Holi songs. Aaj na chodenge bus humjoli, khalege hum holi from Kati Patang (1971) where he woos Asha Parekh and encourages her to let Holi colours brighten her life, is still vividly etched in our memory. Holi aaye re, a common refrain by the dholwalas on Holi, is actually a song from an old movie with the same name Holi Aaye Re. But this can not be categorised as the first song on Holi from Bollywood. Memory takes one way back to the song - Holi aaye re kanhayee rang barse suna de jara...from film Mother India with Rajendra Kumar and Sunil Dutt playing with colours. Another song that should not be missed a mention is `Arey jare hat natkhat' from the film Navrang. An interesting song based on Holi by Sandhya, the actress of yesteryears, where she plays the role of both the male and female characters with amazing swiftness. From streets to bylanes, apartments to bunglows one can hear all these numbers being played on loud speakers and people dancing to their tunes. Many Bollywood songs based on bhang, which is specially associated with Holi, too are played. `Jai Jai Shiv Shankar' from Aap Ki Kasam may not be a Holi song but is as intoxicating as the colours and bhang hangover. Also, the song Nadiya se dariya from Namak Haram too showed the aftermath effect of eating bhang. Certain other not so popular tracks on Holi would include Koi bheega hai rang se (Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost), Mal de gulal mohe, aaye holi aaye re (Kaamchor), Apne rang mein rang de mujko (Aakhir Kyon), Aayee re aayee re holi (Zakhmee), Phagun aayo re (Phagun), Tan rang lo ji aaj mann rang lo (Kohinoor), O dekho Holi aayi (Mashaal) and Rang di preet ne rang di (Dhanwan). Apart from these songs from Bollywood, many regional songs too come to mind. This includes many songs in Awadhi, bhojpuri and other regional languages. But the regional song that has captured the imagination with everyone singing
and dancing to it is none other than 'holiya mein ude re gulal...aayo re...' Thus, it is time to gear up with your musical instruments. Even a dhol (or table) would suffice. Don the colourful Holi cap to play, sing, dance and enjoy. To all there...Happy Holi!

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