Funky Friday: Springtime in Bollywood (Holi He!)

DJ Carlito, aka my brother Carl, who has become the go-to deejay for Indian weddings in Virginia (I am absolutely not kidding), shares the links and images in this post and explains:

Holi, the yearly festival celebrating the return of color to the world, will start on Sunday Feb 28, 2010 and continue for 2 days until Monday March 1st. Holi is celebrated on the Phalgun Purnima (or Pooranmashi, Full Moon) according to the Hindu Calendar. Holi is a festival of radiance (teja) in the universe. The celebrations officially usher in spring, the celebrated season of love. There are several stories of the origin of Holi -- and several various deities are involved in this holiday.
holi.jpg More about the celebration here. Video above: Rang Barse. Another goodie: Holi Aai Re," from the Bollywood classic Mashaal. Another gem from one of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters ever: Holi ke Din. And here's another Holi-themed video you may dig.

More about DJ Carlito (aka Xeni's kid brother, available for all your Indian wedding DJ needs): blog, Myspace. Listen to his weekly radio show "If Music Could Talk" Sundays 7-9pm EST online or on-air at WRIR in Virginia, and dig his show archive here online.

If you're in NYC on March 7, you can get your Holi on at a big parade on that date. Scanned flyer below. Hopefully the snow will have melted by then! Watch the videos in this post, and you'll see why the parade organizers have to warn people not to bring water guns or rainbow powder (it's right there on the flyer!)

DJ Carlito adds,

It's also worth mentioning that the "colors" used to be made from Dhak and Palash flowers but in more recent times have been made from such synthetic materials as metal alloys mixed with asbestos --- theres a movement to go "organic" again with the colors -- which are thrown, smeared, squirted on everyone you meet... but then by accident often inhaled, ingested, swallowed in the process. It's also the only holiday where use of ganga is pretty much widespread in the form of "bhang" -- which is ganga mixed with herbs and spices in a milky beverage form. The use of bhang is regulated by the government, and only authorized "dealers" can sell it. The drink is traditionally said to come from Shiva. I'm not sure how widespread the use is but friends tell me that its very common in the celebration.


  1. I’m always impressed by Indian movies’ inventive use of non-human objects in dance scenes — veils, sand (desert scenes), trains, etc. Not only is the powder fun here and used in a wide number of ways, but did you notice how the choreographer seems to have planned for the female lead’s incredibly long braid?! So cool!

    1. That actress is Rekha and she really had long hairs. No credits to choreographer for that. It was fashionable to have long braid in those days.

  2. Some of my awesome Indian friends here in Los Angeles do a bang-up Holi every year — the colors from Little India in Artesia, the location varying, but always somewhere washable. They make a huge batch of bhang (essentially marijuana-seasoned almond milk), and then we run around like fools getting our Jackson Pollock on. We eat a variety of portable Indian snacks (panipoori or whatever anybody comes up with) and generally re-enact the scene from Sholay. It’s a most life-affirming occasion.

  3. My 62-year-old mother has her first chance to go to a traditional Indian wedding (the daughter of a colleague is marrying); I told her about the music and dancing and (not to be un-PC) she said, “Oh yes, I can’t wait to get out and shake my sari ass!”

    I can’t wait to hear the stories.

    1. @#4:

      Great, now I have another movie to find… hey, it’s in the iTunes store! I might just have to rent it this weekend.

    1. The random milk chug is bhang … as described in the post above. Its a form of ganja/weed .. however gives a pretty big headache to most people. I tried it once and swore never to have it again.

      1. its not milk… read the paragraph from DJ Carlito…

        “It’s also the only holiday where use of ganga is pretty much widespread in the form of “bhang” — which is ganga mixed with herbs and spices in a milky beverage form. ”

  4. lol milk on a hot day, and the expression amitabh makes as he drinks it.. definitely a bit strange.. but that’s no ordinary milk folks… ; )

  5. Bhang can have very odd effects on you. I remember trying to put on my trousers for an hour or so after I had it for the first time. The whole process was so complicated – bending the body, bending the knees, lining up the leg while trying to balance myself, etc etc :-).

  6. The Holi celebration at Carnegie Mellon university is one of the most amazingly weird thing I remember from my undergrad years. I literally had friends who warned each other not to go out that morning, unless they wanted to get painted.

  7. This is a classic holi song and is quite scandalous because the actors Amitabh and Rekha were having a secret affair while Amitabh was married to the other actress, Jaya and all 3 appear in this vid which shows pretty much the same thing.
    Married guy gets drunk on bhang and flirts with his now married ex. And the other two spouses look on sadly.

    The other Bollywood poster is from the equally famous Holi song from “Sholay ” . Happy villagers enjoying holi get attacked by dacoits and there is a massacre as the song ends!!

  8. I am in India right now, where Holi celebrations have started in some places (the kick start of it actually happens at Shivratri, Shiva and Parvati’s wedding, that happens two weeks before Holi).

    This is my last Holi before i go back to my country after two years in India, so I will participate my ass off, but people here are not that enthusiastic about Holi. Most women are told not to go out, because the effects of Bhang on men make it not that safe for girls. They’re scared of being touched everywhere or molested… I saw it happening two weeks ago in Varanasi, where about 100 teenagers full of Bhang lassi started touching an american tourist in Saree that was passing by in front of them, on the ghats. The police, who is used to this, was there in 2 minutes.

    That’s why Holi seems to evolve more and more in private pool parties for the rich boys and girls and man-only happy fights in the streets for the not so rich. As for myself, I shall try to attend both.

  9. It should be “Holi Hai” and not “Holi He”. “Hai” would sound like vowel in hash or gas.

    Happy Holi to you all. :)

  10. As far as Holi-themed dance sequences go, I’ve always been partial to this one from Mohabbatein…

Comments are closed.