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Holi (1985)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  8 April 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 221 users  
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In a typical college in a typical Indian city, the hostel boys Madan Sharma (Aamir Khan) and his friend are a rowdy lot. The teaching staff suffer from the common apathy of most teachers in... See full summary »



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Title: Holi (1985)

Holi (1985) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Director: Aditya Bhattacharya
Stars: Aamir Khan, Supriya Pathak, Pankaj Kapur


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ranjeet Prakash
Madan Sharma
Rahul Ranade
Sanjeev Gandhi
Manoj Pandya
Amole Gupte ...
Amol Khanna
Professor Singh
Principal Pandey
Shreeram Lagoo ...
Chairman of college (as Dr. Shreeram Lagoo)
Deepti Naval ...
Professor Sehgal
Paresh Rawal
Mohan Gokhale
Raju Barot
Deepak Kejriwal
Benjamin Gilani


In a typical college in a typical Indian city, the hostel boys Madan Sharma (Aamir Khan) and his friend are a rowdy lot. The teaching staff suffer from the common apathy of most teachers in similar colleges. The administration has the usual problems, with ill-paid employees periodically going on strike. On the whole, the college is a very normal place. But on this particular day, when Madan and his friends rise from their slumber, some with the customary hangover, they are not so perturbed to find no water in the taps again, as when they hear that it is not going to be a holiday after all. Instead there will be a lecture in the auditorium by the Chairman of the Board (Dr. Shriram Lagoo), on the day of the festival of fire, Holi, and the boys decide not to attend the classes. The hostel superintendent Professor Singh (Naseeruddin Shah), the only lecturer with some human links with the students, watches with apprehension their growing restlessness. A notice announcing a further ... Written by <>

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based on play


Comedy | Drama





Release Date:

8 April 1985 (USA)  »

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Holi  »

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Not even passable quality, technically very poor
13 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The subject matter of the film is novel and not many in Bollywood would have pursued it even back in 1984. However, the film is clumsy, poorly made and comes across as an 'experimental project' rather than a full-length feature film. Technical quality and production values seem non-existent. It appears the director was himself in college (learning his craft?!) while filming the rioting college kids.

The director has employed hand-held photography before it became truly fashionable in Bollywood. But the impact is jarring motion and when it comes to dialog, total commotion. Horrible, just simply horrible. Where did they record the soundtrack for it? Jeez, either that or the actors were so poorly trained they just couldn't pace their delivery. Its just impossible to make sense of what anyone is saying half the time.

The time-line of events is rather poorly established. Scene after scene appears to be mid-morning or mid-day, leading one to question if it all took place in 1 day (supposedly, the Holi holiday) or 2-3 days or many days. Also, what on earth is one of the guys doing on the roof with his girlfriend?? How did manage to hoist her up there?! Cannot believe if such a thing could ever happen in a college. The canteen scene has been repeated 3 times at least. To what purpose? Here as in many Hindi films a weak screenplay is the real culprit. Thus, no plot, no punch. And who is the protagonist here? Professor Singh? If so, then his character has not been adequately developed.

Sparsh (1980 Sai Paranjape) Arth, Saaransh (1982, 1984 Mahesh Bhatt), Ardhsatya, Party (1983, 1984 G Nihalani), Umbartha (1982 Jabbar Patel) were some of the good films made in early/mid-80s -- Holi's comparative universe, but they don't come across as patchy or unduly arty. The use of said devices may have been unintentional but the effect is opposite. Anyhow, it could've been a much better film than this.

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