Now if it's spring...or our city's version of it, it must be Holi. The fundoo time, colour splashing.. balloon flinging.. bhang gulping.. thumka dancing.. at-the-top-of-the-lungs singing.. reminiscing about the unsurpassed Raj Kapoor rang barse celebrations that were. So, that'll be the festival mood today. Which is why Roshmila Bhattacharya and Vajir Singh, went with pichkaris and gulal, to chat up movie revellers.. kicking off with apna Johnny boy Neil Nitin Mukesh
Neil Nitin Mukesh
Most of my family stays in the same building, Jyoti in Napean Sea Road's Rungta lane. Our neighbours are a part of our lives too. So, every year I play Holi with all of them.
We call for a DJ and loads of gulal. We start from 10 in the morning and continue till six in the evening. At the end of the day it's difficult to tell , who's who. We try and use less colour and more water because that's safer.
I think the best Holi in my life was two years ago. We were playing in the morning in our building as always. Then we shifted to one of my aunt's place in Indian Express Towers. Dad called his troupe of musicians.. music was in the air all day long.. especially the old, nostalgia-oozing melodies.
If there has been any mishap during our Holi fun, it was when accidentally, colour went into my sister-in-law's eyes. We had to rush her to the hospital. But she returned home..smiling and joined us in the music session.
<b1>I'm not into bhang at all but once by mistake someone gave me a cola spiked with bhang. Actually, bhang is mixed with milk but the effect of bhang with cola is deadly. I'm not going to tell you what I did after that. Well actually, I played cricket for the rest of the day.. alone. Imagine, I was batting, bowling and fielding all by myself !
Many of my friends have got hooked on to their girls on meeting them on Holi day but that has never happened with me. Maybe because I play Holi essentially with my family.. everyone's either an uncle, aunt or cousin.
In my case, I've either broken up with my girl before Holi or started dating someone after Holi. I've never had the opportunity to celebrate Holi with someone I love. I'm not seeing anyone.
Don't look at me like that now? Now you'll ask me how many girls I've dated so far. To that, I'll go ha-ha-ha and say I've lost count. This is something for your Mottu the Maid to find out.
As a child I schooled in London. But the family made regular visits to India. If the holidays coincided with Holi, well, then it was especially wonderful. My parents had a huge mansion surrounded by acres of garden at Santa Cruz.
Family friends like the Mukherjis and my school friends from St. Teresa's would flock to our home. I was a little tomboy who could run like a deer. Mrs Mukherji would chase after us with pichkaris but they would found it tough to catch me. If they got too close I'd climb up a tree and sit there, safe.
My mother always insisted on natural colours. Reds made from crushed rose petals, yellows from haldi, and beautiful pinks. So fresh and fragrant that it was pleasure to be drenched in rang.
But slowly, as the years passed by, and metallic colours became a fad, we stopped celebrating the festival.
As a heroine I got to play Holi on the sets. During this month most of the films I was shooting for would have a Holi song sequence. It was fun but also tiring to be soaked to the skin for hours.
One of my most beautiful Holi songs was the one in Prakash Mehra's Desh Drohi that brought back memories of my childhood days. Dilip saab's best Holi sequence was the one in Aan.
Over the years Holi has become a simple affair of applying a tikka. I don't want to play with dangerous synthetic colours or get hit by balloons. I wish we could go back to the Holi of my childhood when the festival brought happiness and not pain.
Our family's tradition of celebrating Holi was started 40 years ago by abba (Kaifi Azmi) when we lived in a commune in Red Flag Hall. Since people from all communities lived together, all festivals were celebrated with equal fervour. When we moved to Janki Kutir in Juhu, abba carried on the tradition of celebrating Holi, Diwali, Eid and Christmas.
<b3>For me Holi is a precious festival, because, to my mind, it is a national festival, not rooted in any religion. At our home, it's open house on Holi.. gaana bajana, bhang and food. Family and friends from theatre and films drop by. The gates are open to all.
For the last few years, we have started using natural colours and appeal to everyone to use non-toxic rang to save the environment.. just like we appeal for noiseless crackers on Diwali.
Since Holi is a very public festival and celebrated on the streets, the government should take steps to ensure the safety of women.
We should also create awareness, so men treat women like members of their own family and maintain decency and restraint keeping in mind the spirit of the festival.
When I was at the National School for Drama, we would have plenty of bhang. One year, I had to walk back to the hostel which was just a five minutes' walk. It took me four hours! My walk turned into Kabuki theatre. I wondered about people, their belief in god, or why they don't believe in god.. and then I started wondering what if God is absent from the scheme of things altogether. That thought made me cry for hours.
Throughout my childhood, I was petrified of Holi. I'd scream, shout and cry but there I would be with my parents, at Amit Uncle's house. One year, I was dunked in a tub of water and colours. I was a kid, I remember howling. Abhishek consoled me, he said I'd be okay .
Once I got into my teens, Holi celebrations at Prateeksha were great fun. Once Amit Uncle jammed with his
.. he sang
. I was awestruck.. imagine Amitabh Bachchan performing live right before my eyes.
I've enjoyed four or five spectacular Holis at the Bachchan house. I overcame my fear because they made it look like so much fun. And I never ever had to go for bhang.. I'm so high on life even without intoxicants.
Today, metallic tone gulal is in.. once silver gulal went into my ear, it wouldn't come out for days.. I went around for at least a week with one silver ear.
Then there was a memorable Holi at Shah Rukh Khan's place.. Mannat had not been done up yet.. it was in the process of being furnished and set up. Gauri (Khan) loves Holi.
From 7 am to 7 pm, we had a blast, dancing, singing, splashing colour..it was an auspicious prelude, almost a homecoming for Shah Rukh and Gauri to Mannat.
My younger sister Sushma had gone to the U S to study. We hadn't seen her in a year, I was missing her terribly. She surprised us by coming down for Holi. We were both in our teens, it was major bonding time. The entire family joined the building celebrations. We had a blast and it banished that nightmarish incident that had almost made me swear off Holi.
That was when I was 16. There was this group of groping strangers who used the excuse of Holi to get touchy-feely. I'm a conservative girl, I hate it when someone I don't know gets too close for comfort. Tomorrow I'll be getting together with the One Two Three team for a promotional event.