1. Kati Patang: One of Hindi cinema's most memorable Holi sequences is to be found in this Shakti Samanta film. The heroine, a widow played by Asha Parekh stands apart from the Holi revelers led by Rajesh Khanna who sings 'Aaj Na Chorenge Bass Humjoli Khelenge Hum Holi' while the lady in white sings back in subdued sorrowful regret about not being part of the celebration. Suddenly at the end of the song Khanna puts colour all over the widow's hair, a daring defiant act that implies he has proposed marriage to the widow. The colours of Holi are used here to signify social reform.
2. Sholay: The song-and-dance 'Holi Ke Din Dil Khil Jaate Hain' (incidentally it is one of R D Burman's career's most badly recorded compositions) is rightly celebrated for exuding an ominous energy as the gaon wale celebrate Holi unheedful of the attack Gabbar Singh and the men are planning on them. But there is a much more evocative Holi sequence in Sholay where Jaya Bhaduri's character, a widow in spotless white, is seen in a flashback swathed in the bright colours of Holi. The contrast is chilling.
3. Waqt: In recent times the only truly significant Holi sequence was Vipul Shah's Waqt where Priyanka Chopra's character announces she's pregnant and then plays wild Holi with her husband Akshay Kumar. This has to be the most foolhardy glamour couple in the history of our cinema. Or maybe they just enjoy the thought of Holi too much to care about the wife's delicate condition.
4. Darr: If Holi is fun it's also an occasion for hectic hooliganism. The dark side of Holi was revealed in Yash Chopra's Darr where Shah Rukh Khan with his face smeared with colours to avoid recognition gate-crashes into Juhi Chawla's Holi bash and misbehaves with her. This has got to be the scariest Holi sequence in our cinema.
6. Damini: Hooliganism at the most shocking level of debasement was seen in Raj Kumar Santoshi's Damini where the family maid is raped by the scion of the family and his friends who are high on bhang and low on morals. The gruesome rape was shot with remarkable intensity. Santoshi intercut the scenes of Holi revelery-the colours, the boisterousness, music and dance-with shots of the young girl being ravaged. Enough to put you off Holi for the rest of your life.
7. Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela: Colours have always been important to the cinema of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The way he encircles the lead pair Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in swirls of colours makes Holi the most erotic festival seen on screen.