Holi (1984 film)

Holi is a 1984 Indian coming-of-age drama film directed by Ketan Mehta, whose socially conscious work has been compared to American director Spike Lee.[1] It is based on eponymous play by Marathi writer, Mahesh Elkunchwar.[2] The film starred Aamir Khan, Ashutosh Gowariker, Om Puri, Shreeram Lagoo, Deepti Naval and Naseeruddin Shah.

Directed byKetan Mehta
Produced byPradeep Uppoor
Written byKetan Mehta
Screenplay byMahesh Elkunchwar
Story byMahesh Elkunchwar (play)
StarringAamir Khan
Om Puri
Naseeruddin Shah
Ashutosh Gowariker
Raj Zutshi
Music byRajat Dholakia
CinematographyJehangir Choudhary
Edited bySubhash Sehgal
Release date
  • 15 August 1984 (1984-08-15)
Running time
120 minutes


In a typical college in a typical Indian city, the hostel boys Madan Sharma (Aamir Khan) and his friends including Ranjeet Prakash (Ashutosh Gowariker) are a rowdy and troublesome lot. But on one day, when Madan and his friends find out there will not be a holiday for them on the day of Holi, the festival of colors, the boys decide not to attend classes.

The hostel superintendent Professor Singh (Naseeruddin Shah), the only lecturer with some links with the students, watches with apprehension their growing restlessness. A notice announcing a further postponement of examinations adds to the bitterness. A fight erupts out of nowhere between principal Phande's (Om Puri) nephew and another student; the principal's nephew is hurt and the other boy is promptly rusticated. This is seen as a drastic punishment, and the news spreads like wildfire to all the students of the college. Resistance is organized in the library, in the laboratory, in the classrooms and the college grounds as the students rebel against the principal. Principal calls professor Singh to give the name of the troublemakers but he refuses, the names are later given by one of the classmate and soon the boys are sent a suspension notice. On their last day, the classmate is bullied and humilated by the boys. Next day they find out that their classmate has committed suicide and the film ends with boys taken in a police van while people dancing to holi celebration outside.


  1. "Na Koi Kaam" - Aamir Khan
  2. "Yeh Kaisa Safar Hai" - Aamir Khan


Holi was shot mainly on the campus of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune and Fergusson College, Pune. The iconic Fergusson College banyan tree had just fallen and Ketan Mehta, who had studied at Fergusson College, improvised and picturised a song with the main characters on the tree singing about the falling of a symbolic 'system'. This film was a part of student project.



In 1985, the film was reviewed in The New York Times by American film critic Vincent Canby. He gave the film a generally favourable review, writing that the "film, which the production notes report was largely improvised, is very decently and exuberantly performed by the nonprofessional actors."[2]



  1. Overview, New York Times.
  2. Holi (1984)- Movie Review, New York Times, 8 April 1985.
  3. Gandhi, Sanjeev. "Dr". IMDb.
  4. Awards imdb.com.
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