Holi Aaee Re was released in 1970. It is a very good social drama with a tight, eventful script and some very good songs. It is gripping throughout and the viewer never gets any boring moment to take a break. The separation and re-union formula of Bollywood movies forms the basic thread of the story. However it is not just run of the mill lost and found kinda movie. It is a thoroughly engrossing movie in which the script is the hero and not any character. The script-writer and the director have not allowed any character to rise above the script and overpower the movie. Therefore, the characters do not lead the story, they are led by it and the freely flowing saga of fate, emotions, social customs and love carries the viewer alongwith it towards its desired end.
As the title suggests, the story starts with the backdrop of the festival of colours, Holi in which Samar, the unscrupulous and cheat son of the village landlord, traps a local naive girl, Suhaagi in his web of false love. Suhaagi, the daughter of a poor thakur of the village, gets carried away in emotions and her physical intimacy with Samar results in her pregnancy. Samar, being the perennial casanova, refuses to marry her and his father also refuses Suhaagi's father to accept his daughter as his daughter-in-law. This situation leads to the killing of Samar by Suhaagi's father who gets long sentence for the murder. Her mother also passes away and she, finding herself helpless and alone in the cruel world, is willing to die but destiny has other plans for her. Running away from the village, she first escapes from a brothel and ultimately reaches kind-hearted people to give birth to a son and herself becoming a nurse thereafter. She has a very small younger brother too who, after losing all his guardians, falls into the hands of a rich family which adopts him. The boys grow up and get their respective sweethearts too. Suhaagi's younger brother is now a doctor whereas her son has become a police officer. Suhaagi, now known as Hemlata, continuing in her new life, gets aged. Her father gets released from jail whereas Samar's father is now a sick old man who is still not ready to forgive the girl who was responsible for his young son's death. The moving finger brings all these protagonists together again but they do not identify each other because of the time difference of more than twenty years from that fateful Holi. There is an angle of contaminated medicines too in the movie which is chased by Suhaagi's police officer son. How the happy ending takes place with the virtue of forgiveness washing away all the grievances accumulated in the hearts of all the characters who had become puppets in the hands of the destiny, is very delightful to watch.
The story takes off from the very first scene of the movie when the colourful festival of Holi is being celebrated in the village. Thereafter the screenplay, full of characters and events, takes several twists and turns and reaches its peak in the city life. Other than the comedy track which was the norm in the Hindi movies till the seventies, there are no useless or superfluous scenes in the movie. The narrator has shown that he means business and he has concentrated upon presenting an interesting tale of relationships, emotions and fate. The storyline meanders through spiral paths but never loses its way and the curiosity of the viewer is never diluted despite the anticipated climax.
The movie has several touching moments based upon the mutual relationships of the characters. It is a formula-based movie. But the thing is that all the formulae have been mixed in the right proportion, thereby making it an engrossing watch.
Kalyanji Anandji have given good music in the movie. The songs those stand out are 1. Mukesh's evergreen song Meri Tamannaaon Ki Taqdeer Tum Sanwaar Do, 2. The title song Ang Ang Mein Aggan Lagaati, Madan Jagaati, Jhoomti-Gaati Holi Aaee Re, 3. A very inspiring song Girna Nahin Hai Gir Ke Sambhalna Hai Zindagi.
Performances are all up to the mark. The movie boasts of actors like Mala Sinha (Suhaagi aka Hemlata), Balraaj Sahni (her father), Praveen Paul (Samar), Rehman (Samar's father), Premendra (Suhaagi's younger brother), Kumud Chhugani (his sweetheart and Samar's younger sister), Shatrughan Sinha (Suhaagi's son), Hina Kausar (his sweetheart), Kanhaiyalal (villain who is involved in the business of contaminated medicines) etc. None disappoints. Premendra and Hina Kausar have given good performances despite this movie being their debut movie. The romantic track of Premendra and Kumud Chhugani is perfectly interwoven with the main plot. Rajendra Nath's comedy track looks forced into the narrative but he is able to make the viewers laugh with a song - Meri Lottery Lag Jaane Wali Hai - being picturized upon him.
The technical aspects are OK. The length of the movie is according to the then prevailing norms but it is not felt because of the uninterrupted interest of the viewer very skillfully maintained by the storyteller. Movie-making is nothing but the art of storytelling in the most interesting way. And the storyteller of Holi Aaee Re is successful in his mission.
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