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Diwali: Bollywood's favourite festival?

November 15, 2012 12:24 IST
Kabhi Kushi Kabhie GaamBollywood's relationship with Diwali is not as deep as with Holi. I have often wondered why we have so many playful Holi songs in Hindi cinema (ranging from Holi Ayee Re from Mother India to Rang Barse from Silsala)? And rarely do we have fun Diwali songs.

Diwali does have a more serious religious connotation for Hindus. It is about the victory of good over evil, and seeking the blessings of Goddess Laxmi for goodness, happiness and wealth. I think the Laxmi would not be too pleased if we were high on bhang and being mischievous on Diwali night.

Searching YouTube I found three very different kinds of Diwali songs from Hindi films, giving us a range of emotions.

A scene from PaighamThe Comic:

In the 1959 film Paigham (with Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Raaj Kumar) Johnny Walker got to be playful about Diwali. Walker's popularity was such that he would often get a song for himself in the film (remember Sar Jo Tera Chakraye from Pyaasa), usually sung by Mohammad Rafi, who would also lend his voice to songs for the lead actors.
Kaise Diwali Manaye Hum Lala, Apna to Barra Mahine Diwala gives a certain levity to a film which was otherwise quite serious.

Watch the song here

Manoj KumarThe Tragic:

Director Vijay Bhatt's Haryali Aur Rasta (1962)
with Manoj Kumar and Mala Sinha is rich with melodious songs composed by Shankar Jaikishan that bring back memories of simpler times. The title song of the film has that classic Bollywood touch - a lovely marriage of poetry and lyrical music. But the song that has always stayed with me is the tragic Lakhon Tare Aasman Mein where Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar sing for all the lonely souls on the Diwali night.

Watch the song here

The Bollywood Family Diwali:

Fast forward to 2001 and we have the ultimate Diwali song for our times: the title song from Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, with a major star cast (Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Farida Jalal, late Achala Sachdev), grand sets, costumes, Lata's voice and the magic of Bollywood's emotions. And watch out for the middle of the song when Johar brings Ram home - in the form of Shahrukh Khan (although he is called Rahul in the film).

Watch the song here
Aseem Chhabra in New York