Holi's musical memories

Music maestros share their Holi memories and favourite rang de songs with Nikhil Taneja and Rachana Dubey.

music Updated: Mar 10, 2009 18:31 IST

Kailash Kher
As a kid, I played Holi passionately. My entire colony would get together and dance to live music. Rather than just smear colours around, we would actually ‘celebrate’ the festival. I miss that atmosphere today.. aisa atmosphere bade shehron mein kahan dikhta hai?

My favourite song to play Holi to was Tan rang lo ji aaj (Kohinoor) by Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. I sang a Holi song, Ae gori, in Delhi Heights, that had music by Rabbi Shergill.. I really enjoyed that one!

Shankar Mahadevan
I have fantastic memories of Holi! Every year, I get together with a lot of friends and we rock together.. there are colours, food and masti. I look forward to the annual event.. it’s probably the most joyous festival in the country.

It goes without saying that my favourite Holi song is Rang barse (Silsila), sung by Amitabh Bachchan. I still sing it in all my concerts. It’s one of my all-time favourite songs. I merge it with Khaike paan banaras waala (Don), and the crowd goes berserk. It’s such a wonderful, traditional composition and the way Bachchan saab has sung it, is unparalleled.

Udit Narayan
I have thousands of memories associated with Holi. When I was in middle school, I used to live with my sister in Bihar. Over there, Holi was played with dhool, mitti and keechad on the first day. On day two, we would bring out the colours.

I also remember a Holi that I played in Kathmandu once. (Laughs) Someone got me drunk on bhaang and I slept for two days. I didn’t know whether I was falling from the sky or was going towards it.

In Bombay, there’s a certain shaan in the festival.. I have played it at Bachchan saab’s home and Subhash Ghai’s home, among others. Most of all, I love the fantastic sweets that my wife Deepaji makes on the occasion.

The Holi songs I love the most are Aaj na chodenge bas humjoli (Kati Patang) and Holi ke din (Sholay), both by Kishore Kumar and Lataji.

Sunidhi Chauhan
I just love the happy feeling that Holi brings along. Everyone is enjoying themselves, and that’s a pleasing sight. I also love to watch the faces of all my friends smeared with colour. If I’m not working on Holi, then I play it for sure, and have a rocking time!

My favourite Holi song is undoubtedly Rang barse.. it’s the song playing everywhere you go! It’s become synonymous with the festival.. and Holi is incomplete without Rang barse.

Anushka Manchanda
Holi is my favourite festival of the year. There’s a specific Holi memory that’s really close to my heart. I was in Pune that year with my friends Mahua and Saama. I was depressed about something and didn’t want to go out. So Saama walked into Mahua’s apartment, literally picked me up on his shoulder and took me screaming and shouting, to the boat club there.

There was a rain dance going on there.. and we all grooved like crazy. When Rang barse came on, there was pandemonium. We all danced like we never danced before! That was my most fun Holi ever. Ever since, Rang barse has become my special Holi song.

Shekhar Ravjiani
Frankly, I don’t play Holi much but I vividly remember one I spent with a couple of my friends. They came to my house and painted me with gulal. I hated it then, but today, it’s probably the only Holi memory that brings a smile to my face.

I’ve always associated the song, Holi ke din, with the festival. I’m a die-hard Bachchan fan. I’ve watched Sholay gazillion times. That song is a must-have in a Holi collection.. just like Rang barse.

The spirit of chhed-chhaad comes out so well in Rang barse. It’s well-written and sung by Bachchan saab too. Mother India’s Holi aayi re is also a tune that I really like, though it’s more mellow.

Mahalaxmi Iyer
As a child, I enjoyed playing Holi in the simplest ways in Chembur with friends and family. Four-five years ago, we shifted residence to Andheri. By then, I’d stopped playing Holi. But in the very first year, my neighbours dragged me out and coloured my face with gulal. My neighbours are from U P so I got to taste a flurry of Holi goodies too.. gujhiyaas, malpuas.. the works.

I simply love the Sholay number Holi ke din. It has been an eternal favourite with generations. Holi khele Raghuveera from Baghbaan has a very folksy tune and speaks of how people would play with colours in the past. Holi aayi re from Mother India is soothing, simple and sweet.

First Published: Mar 10, 2009 14:37 IST