I always thought that Bollywood would have a healthy collection of songs suitable for any Indian festival, but I am not so convinced anymore. The lack of an optimal number of songs dedicated to the festival Diwali (optimal number n being greater than five) only reconfirms my theory that ours is a sex-driven race, just like any other species in the animal kingdom. Have you ever thought why there are hundreds of songs for Holi, Sagai, Sangeet, Shaadi, Karwa Chauth, God Bharai, or even Nag Panchami (characterized by the sinuous dance moves of a reptile-turned-heroine-turned-reptile cursed by some black robe wearing evil man) but only three songs for Diwali? I would argue that in a testosterone and estrogen-driven society where macro-level phenomenon like preening, grooming, mate hunting, courtship, marriage, and procreation exist in any random order, there is no respectable place for a festival which lacks the insinuations of the primal needs of man, namely rain, color, hormones, or the need to touch, want, and hug. Come to think of it, there are hundreds of songs not just for festivals, but for seasons, be it the cot-displacing brrrring of the winter when the khatiya is begged to be sarkaoed because of jaada, the jeth ki garmi waali dopahar (where the heroine instructs the hero - aake god mein utha thaam le baiyan), or the obvious tip tip barsa spawning season. After all, what could be so inviting about a festival characterized by crackers, ear-deafening sounds, the smell of gunpowder, and a bunch of cranky policymakers unhappy about noise pollution? Images of a heavily endowed woman in a flimsy white sari drenched in the rain running around while a male chases her with Holi colors rings a few familiar bells. However, imagine a woman gyrating her hips with a bunch of sparklers and crackers in her hand, hurling fire crackers at unsuspecting males every now and then and singing “Wanna be your chammak challo”? I fail to imagine the latent sexual overtones in this setting. No wonder Bollywood has never really considered dedicating entire songs to the pursuit of the celebration of light and sound, two very important concepts in an extremely dry subject called physics. Sure there are songs with occasional shots of the chick and the lad entwined, playing around with a bunch of sparklers (remember the song Mujhse Mohabbat Ka from Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke?), but a random youtube search for Diwali songs yields three results, one from the movie Home Delivery which is not really a “pataakha” item song in any respect, an old song from the time of Akbar where Mukesh’s adenoidal voice (although very melodious) of “Ek who bhi Diwali thi, ek yeh bhi Diwali hai, Ujda hua gulshan hai, rota hua maali hai” sets off a chain reaction of melancholy potent enough to extinguish any number of sparklers and crackers in the world (let’s face it), and another song from the year 1946, where the heroine’s sad state of mind reminded me of the day I had cried buckets at the scary thought of turning 30 because I was convinced that I was approaching senility and half-life decay at an alarming rate. Surely the Ramsay Brothers show more tactile actions (also known as touchy touchy) and hanky (s)panky (amongst ghosts and haunted spirits of course) than these songs do. Sure, there is one song in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham where SRK makes the grand Bhagwan Ram like entry, but then again, every song in that movie reeks of showoff, celebration, and affluence. No fault of Bollywood, which is just a reflection of the evolution of human race (or the lack of it), which brings me back to my irrefutable theory that everything in life ultimately boils down to preening, courtship, mating, and procreation. And anything that does not involve diaphanous clothing, the consequences of global warming (bouts of hot, wet, and cold weather, pun unintended), an umbrella, a few bees buzzing over a rose, a cot (khatiya), or even a reptile-dance number to save the mate from the curse of the evil man will never make it to the Hindi silver screen.
A very happy Diwali everyone, never mind the disappointment Bollywood has brought us.
[P.S.: I thank my friend S who made me notice the scarceness of Diwali songs in Bollywood, something that I had entirely overlooked for reasons not quite clear to me].