Holi parties then and now: What makes celebs stand about stiffly instead of letting loose?

Once, the stars drank, danced and dunked each other in Holi colours like no one was watching. Why are they so carefully choreographed in their celebrations today?

 |  5-minute read |   20-03-2019
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That the Gods wanted us to live life merrily and not always be so sanctimonious is proven by the celebration of Holi.

One ‘religious’ date which comes without any strictures — no pujas, temple visits, fasts or exclusions. Even the women are encouraged to partake in the fun. There is limitless food, and of course, drinks. From the hallucinatory bhang to the fortified thandai, till the whiskey soda took prominence, it was all about living life to the hilt. It is the one festival in the Hindu calendar where meat-eating is encouraged — even recommended. It is the most human festivals of all.

No one, however, raised the bar for Holi as did our celebrities — especially the filmy types. What were the chances of seeing a soaked Mandakini in real life instead of on-screen, but at the not-to-be-missed RK studio dunking hosted by the greatest showman of Indian cinema — Raj Kapoor?

download_032019022739.jpgHoli Hungamas! Holi parties were about having unadulterated fun back in Bollywood's glorious past. (Source: Rishi Kapoor/Twitter. Art: DailyO)

Till his passing away, the really famous in Bollywood — and many of those who weren’t — made a beeline for RK Studios. Krishna Raj Kapoor was known as a legendary hostess and 'more' was the byword. Where else could you see the likes of Rajendra Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan looking like coloured zombies — or, looking like real people?

Oh, how one waited for Stardust or Filmfare to show us those irresistible photos of 'Holi with the Kapoors'!

We would drool over a droopy Rekha or the exquisite Hema Malini giving in to the madness of the moment. Music and dance was their metier and the old black-and-white photo of Raj Kapoor with the dholak, with Shankar Jaikishan pitching in, reminded us why his films had the most wonderful melodies that we hum beyond the decades. Even a delirious looking Sitara Devi showing off her moves told us that these were flesh and blood people — stars who could descend down to the level of the hoi polloi like us.

But, not for long…

What happened to the unscripted Bollywood Holi party?

Blame it on marketing and social media. I bet there is a stylist out there who is putting together the best 'Holi look' for their clients — the starch white kurta and tight churidars with those ubiquitous glasses! 

A special oil for the coiffured hair so that no damage was done.

There are unique creams too, which ensure that the skin continues to look flawless and all the colour flows off in a jiffy, not leaving a mark behind.

ranveer-singh-pharre_032019020129.jpgWas this an example of Holi — or proof that Ranveer can jig around with Williams? (Source: Instagram)

These images are then curated for maximum impact — sent out to the media, they give off a whiff of the untrue. Seeing Ranveer Singh with Pharell Williams might warm the cockles of our heart that the firangi gets a taste of desi style-partying — but really, was that the point of it all? There were only two perfect photos which were sent out with red and yellow gulal, carefully applied on two cheeks and the clothes were pristine.

Was it an example of Holi or proof that Ranveer Singh can jig around with Williams?

Those who attended the RK parties and later, by the Badshaah of Bollywood, had plenty of glazed eyes. It wouldn’t have been caused by drinking a glass of Perrier. Big gulps of whiskey and beer were there for all to be seen. The swimming pool looked mucky as one nubile nymphet after another was dunked into it.

It was a rite of passage — you hadn’t arrived in Bollywood until you had received the honours of the coloured swimming pool.

Oh, how we lament the loss of those days! Political correctness rules the day today, and we rue the fact that our cherished stars are so concerned about the image that they will let go of.

Aren’t we to blame?

The way we troll any of our stars living a real life means that they have had to take cover. An unusual video of Deepika Padukone reciting her husband’s dialogue with a glass of wine has sent people into paroxysms of disapproval.

alia-varun_032019024740.jpgKinda stiff? If you have to play pretend, why have cameras in the first place? (Source: YouTube screengrab)

Holi for Gen Next is all about moderation and polite behaviour. There are still large patches of white left unattended on kurtas. In fact, the Holi party of a leading TV producer for her large brood of small screen stars tells you that it may be the work of a heavy-handed Holi planner, with missives on how to dress and behave — all of them may have gone to the same chikan kurta store and look as if they have stepped out of a template. The colour is thrown about and no one can dream of being seen drinking.

I am sure they all do, but behind the cameras.

The question is, if you have to play pretend, why have cameras in the first place?

Can they not let go of their image and egos for a minuscule moment and live life?

We, the ordinary people, are to blame, of course, as we have an insatiable appetite for what’s going in the lives of the rich and famous, and we do not even spare them our unwarranted criticism and become hyper-cultural police. We are the very same people who think nothing of clutching a woman to colour her bosom but will scream at any famous personality for having fun. Online unsolicited opinion has made our famous personalities vulnerable to be caught doing anything un-Indian!

If only the great Raj Kapoor was around!

He would have had an answer for being truly Indian. He would have had an open house for the trolls too — and plied them with food and drink till they forgot what their agitation was all about.

Happy Holi!

Also read: Please tell your children it's not okay to hit women with water balloons in the name of Holi!

Writer

Anjoo Mohun Anjoo Mohun @anjoomohun

The writer is addicted to sports and is indebted to the inventor of the flat screen TV.

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