Song Sketch

Aao Re Aao Khelo Holi – Balika Badhu – In Tandem with Splendour

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Radha kyun gori
Main kyun kaala

No, this is not a Holi song but it sure leads to why we play with colours on Holi. As the legend goes – Young Krishna was always jealous of Radha’s fair and clear complexion. He asked about this discrimination to his mother, Yashoda. To pacify her child, Yashoda asks Krishna to smear Radha’s face with the colour of his choice. Adhering to this playful advice, Krishna splashes various colours on not only Radha but also all the Gopis around him. Before they know, the entire group starts to enjoy the prank. The lovable prank of Krishna gained popularity and evolved as a part of one of the major festivals. Holi, in fact, also celebrates the immortal love of Radha and Krishna. The legend gets depicted each year beautifully in the Northern parts of India, especially, places associated with Radha and Krishna – Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon and Barsana. With all these wonderful significances Holi has become popular worldwide. Holi significantly is the final goodbye to the winters as the spring season is at its peak and hints at the onset of summers. Nature too rejoices with different colours and shades. Udat Gulaal Laal Bhayo Ambar, Barsat Rang Apaar Re….
Fields are full with crops promising a good harvest. Amongst all the festivals in India, Holi is the most boisterous and vibrant one. It is more about self enjoyment and indulgence. A get-crazy time for everyone. Colours, delicacies, songs and dance become the highlight. When we’re talking about Holi and the enjoyments, we can’t forget the folk songs. Folk songs add special spice to the Holi fervour. Amongst all the folk songs sung across the Northern belt, there are various styles eg – Holi phag, holi chaiti, holi chehka, holi jogira, holi chautal etc. All these songs sing about joys of life. Amongst these jogira and chautaal have become popular in the film music genre.

Aao re aao, aao re aao
Aao re aao khelo holi Biraj mein
Khele holi Nandlal

One of the examples of Holi-chautaal. As usual there’s inclusion of Krishna in the song. The song is from the movie Balika Badhu (1976), a remake of the Bengali movie with the same name and based on the novel written by Bimal Kar by the same name again. The original version had Moushmi Chatterjee playing the Balika Badhu while in Hindi, Tarun Mazumdar introduced Rajni Sharma to play the role. Based on the backdrop of feudal, British-ruled India, the movie is a somewhat lighter take on child marriage which was pre-valent in those days. A story about a couple, Rajni (Rajni Sharma) and Amal (Sachin Pilgaonkar), married at an early age and their growth together as a couple.
Rajni goes and stays with her parents after the marriage (till she comes of age) and Amal is missing her presence, especially during the festival of Holi.

Aao re babua aao re bitua
Aao re babua aao re bitua
Daalo abir gulal, khele holi Nandlal….

A typical Holi song with complete zing and zest. Written by Anand Bakshi and composed By Pancham. Both stick to the folksy nature of the festival. As said earlier, Pancham has based this song on the Chautaal. Chautaal is all about the basic rhythm. In the original folk Chautaal, there’s no tabla. Folk singers always use a dholak or a pakhawaj and the main supporting instruments are manjiras and kartaal. In this song too, Pancham keeps the instruments intact. Dholak, manjira and kartaal.

Khelo re holi
Khelo khelo holi gori ke saath holi
Dekho hamjoli maare pichkari
Bheegi gori ki choli
Aaha re sara ra oho re sara ra…

Aao re babua aao re bitua
Daalo abir gulal khele holi Nandlal

Chautaal is also about choral singing. A group of singers sing it in an antiphonal way – they take turns in singing the lines. Officially there’s no main singer. Here too even if Sapan Chakravarty is the main singer, he doesn’t have independent stanzas or lines. It is a chorus singing all the way. Chautaal needs no singing background or lessons. It can be sung by anyone in the crowd who wishes to join the fun. A self enjoyment activity. Just like the festival. Self indulgence and happiness.
Anand Bakshi nails this with the words – Aao re babua, aao re bitua…asking everyone to join the fun.

Arre Rama Brij mein holi khele sab Brij naari
Gop Gopal bhi rangwa daale
Gaaye gaban bihari rama gaye gaban bihari rama
Arre Rama Brij mein holi khele sab Brij naari

It is a celebration of life with colours, without any inhibitions. All come together irrespective of age and gender.
Spreading a message of awareness and dynamism across society, Holi also gives a message of forgiveness. Burning out the differences, burning out all that is negative and staying in tandem with the splendour of life.

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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