It's a festival that has inspired some evergreen songs and scenes in Bollywood, from "Rang barse" to "Holi ke din". But notice how Holi has slowly been edged out of Hindi movies in the past decade?
Those peppy, trendy songs are conspicuously absent as another Holi comes around Thursday. Filmmakers put the blame on the strict adherence to script these days but say they will make a comeback.
"It is true that Holi celebrations are not shown in Bollywood movies these days. Unlike old movies where everything was incorporated, films nowadays strictly go by the script. So if the script does not demand a Holi song, then there is no point in keeping one," said film critic Taran Adarsh.
Films like "Silsila", "Sholay", "Mother India" and "Darr" have unforgettably captured the fun with colours. Songs like "Rang barse", "Holi aaye re kanhayee" and "Ang se ang lagana" remain timeless and in real life, many consider Holi celebrations incomplete without these playing in the backdrop.
In fact "Rang barse" from the 1981 release "Silsila" remains an all-time favourite at every Holi party. Be it the young generation or the older one, everyone likes to shake a leg to this popular song.
Filmmaker Vipul Shah made an effort with the song "Chhan ke mohalla" in "Action Replayy". It was picturised on Aishwarya Rai Bachchan during a Holi celebration, but as the lyrics were not around the festival, it could not create a lasting impression.
Director and writer Tanuja Chandra said, "Since a large number of movies these days are about urban affluent people and many are situated abroad, Holi doesn't figure high in the scheme of things. Only in small-town stories does Holi have significance.
"But I think Holi is an effective ambience for romance and will continue to be popular in love stories, especially those that have more of an Indian appeal."
She may be right. The song "Do me a favour, let's play Holi" from Shah's 2005 release "Waqt" was a chartbuster. Sung by Anu Malik, the modern catchy Holi number featured Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra and even today it is played to pep up the mood.
Malik wonders why directors shy away from it.
"I always wanted to do a Holi song and when I got a chance to do one, I gave it a twist and made it more contemporary. I don't know why filmmakers don't want a Holi song in the movie. May be they think it won't work, but it does work for me. These songs bring a different flavour to the film and change the mood of the audience," Malik told IANS.
Director and producer Goldie Behl says nowadays everything is guided by the script, but he is hopeful that Holi songs will soon make a comeback and splash colour on the silver screen.
He said: "There is always a trend that the industry follows, right now there is an absence of Holi songs but it will definitely come back. Maybe the makers feel the old Hindi Holi songs can't be replaced..."
In fact, Holi songs have a long association with Bollywood's angry young man Amitabh Bachchan. From "Rang barse" with Jaya and Rekha in "Silsila" to "Hori khele Raghuveera" in "Baghban", the actor has been a part of the evergreen Holi songs.
And now, after 20 years, he is set to make an appearance in Deepak Sawant's Bhojpuri film "Gangadevi" with wife Jaya in a Holi song.
(Aastha Khurana can be contacted at [email protected])