festival spirit

In search of the definitive Diwali film song

Which is the best track to light up the festive season?

Holi kab hai, kab hai holi, kab? When the dacoit Gabbar Singh from Sholay (1975) asks about the festival of colour, he proves that he has been living under a rock, or among many rocks.

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Hindi films have been having a field day with the spring festival for several years, filling the screen with eye-popping colours and foot-tapping dance numbers hard to ignore. The song from Sholay itself, Holi ke din dil khil jaate hain, is a joyous celebration. Ganesh Chaturthi gets a Bappa morya re (Don, 2006) and Dahi Handi gets Govinda aala re (Bluffmaster, 1969). How is Diwali celebrated? Movies include scenes featured around the festival, but where are the songs about celestial lights and musical crackers?

Have you heard these tracks? They don’t seem to catch on during the festivities, or that could just be because of the din of firecrackers.

Diwali Phir Aa Gayi Sajni The pre-Partition hit Khazanchi (1941) was one of the first films to feature a Diwali song. Shamshad Begum sang for music director Ghulam Haider, who set the tune to a dhol and claps, stressing on a refrain to denote the importance of the festival.

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Ae Duniya Bata In Kismet (1943), one of the earliest blockbusters starring Ashok Kumar, Ameerbai Karnataki sings for composer Anil Biswas, lamenting, “Har ghar mein Diwali hai, mere ghar mein andhera” (Every house is lit for Diwali, my house in engulfed in darkness). She rages against the rich-poor divide: “Jee chahta hai sansar mein main aag laga doon” (I wish to torch the world), a sentiment echoed 14 years later in Pyaasa (1957) in Sahir Ludhianvi’s words “Jala do isse, phoonk daalo yeh duniya” (Burn it, reduce the world to ashes), taken from the track Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai.

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Aayi Hai Diwali Sakhi Shamshad Begum and Geeta Dutt sing a rare duet for Vasant Desai in Sohrab Modi’s Sheesh Mahal (1950).

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Aayi Diwali Aayi Composer Madan Mohan adds more melody and chorus to his version of the Diwali number in another film with the title Khazanchi (1958). The actress wears electric lights on her body as ornaments, much before Amitabh Bachchan decided to adorn a body suit of Diwali lights in Yaarana.

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Kaise Diwali Manaye Hum Lala Johnny Walker has the unique distinction of having comedy songs designed and sung by Mohammad Rafi for his characters. In Paigham (1959), he puts the ‘diwala’ (bankruptcy) into Diwali in an amusing track, in which he praises donkeys for bathing in the Ganges and questions God’s providence.

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Ek Woh Bhi Diwali Thi Diwali isn’t always an occasion for celebration. The festive lights are used to contrast the harsh realities of a dim existence, as proven by this song from Nazrana (1961). Raj Kapoor sings in the melancholic voice of Mukesh for composer Ravi, “Bahaar toh ujala hai magar dil mein andhera” (The world is illuminated but the heart is covered in darkness). However, the film did feature a brighter song, Mile hai chiragon ke rangeen Diwali hai in the dulcet voice of Lata Mangeshkar. She sings, “Mehka hua gulshan hai, hansta hua maali hai” (The garden is perfumed, the gardener joyous) to counter Mukesh’s “Ujda hua gulshan hai, rota hua maali hai” (The garden is ruined, the gardener lamentable).

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Aayi Hai Diwali The sheer noise of this track from Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiya (2001) featuring Govinda, Juhi Chawla and a shimmering Tabu performing a street dance number to the loud sounds of fireworks, is pretty much where Diwali ends in most Hindi film songs.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

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1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

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Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.