Enjoy one of the few Holi songs from the last few years - "Chhan Ke Mohalla" from Action Replayy!
I've seen a few hand-wringing articles the last couple of days about how there are no more Holi songs in films. And it's true; there really aren't. It's a trend that tracks pretty closely with film studio's laser focus on the diaspora market and wanting to be "on par with Hollywood." Religious icons and festivals and songs celebrating them - things that still fill films from the regional industries - are almost completely missing from Bollywood film - unless it's teaching us a message about how Muslims are/aren't terrorists. Or a wedding. (Weddings are still allowed in the new "realistic" Bollywood... for now.)
Holi songs are about taking a few minutes to just live in the moment, to break with mundanity of everyday life, to break with the person society sees you as.
Perhaps the epitome of this is Meena Kumari playing a weepy widow in Phool aur Pattar and as the burden on her heart lifts for a second... *boom* HOLI HAI!
And then there are true emotions exposed by the gaiety of Holi... as in the classic "Rang Barse" picturization which shows Jaya discovering the full extent of her husband Amitabh's feelings for Rehka.
One of the more interesting uses of Holi in recent Hindi films has been from (of all things) Hisss - a film that (apparently) only I enjoyed.
Is there a better way to introduce the Nagin to the swirling, messy mass of humanity than through a Holi celebration? The festival shows it's dark side of unleashed emotion and takes on a somewhat erie quality...
I'm not Indian and I don't know what (if any) significance the festival holds for people there but I do know what Holi songs mean in film and I miss seeing them.