Director – Ketan Mehta (Maker of Bhavni Bhavai)
Produced by NFDC
In a typical college in a typical Indian city, the
hostel boys Madan Sharma (Aamir Khan) and his friend are a rowdy
lot. The teaching staff suffer from the common apathy of most
teachers in similar colleges. The administration has the usual
problems, with ill-paid employees periodically going on strike.
On the whole, the college is a very normal place. But on this
particular day, when Madan and his friends rise from their slumber,
some with the customary hangover, they are not so perturbed
to find no water in the taps again, as when they hear that it
is not going to be a holiday after all. Instead there will be
a lecture in the auditorium by the Chairman of the Board (Dr.
Shriram Lagoo), on the day of the festival of fire, Holi, and
the boys decide not to attend the classes. The hostel superintendent
Professor Singh (Naseeruddin Shah), the only lecturer with some
human links with the students, watches with apprehension their
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, in which the
principal's nephew is hurt and the other boy is promptly rusticated.
It is an unjustifiably drastic punishment, and the news spreads
like wildfire. Resistance is organized in the library, in the
laboratory, in the classrooms and the college grounds. In the
auditorium, the first egg hits the Chairman, and pandemonium
follows. To save his own job, the principal decides to track
down the culprits. Professor Singh politely refuses to help.
The principal now blackmails one of the hostel boys, whose father
he knows, and who is in any case a loner, and a butt of jokes
in the campus. Imbued with a false sense of power, the boy walks
into the principal's trap. A large group of boys, all from the
hostel, are immediately rusticated, and asked to vacate their
rooms by the morning.
The boys, not all of them actually guilty of rebellion, are
now all in a rage. They make a bonfire of the hostel furniture
and their textbooks. Feeling impelled to share his sense of
triumph, the informer confides in the boy whom he hates and
fears the most, and whose name he has kept out of the list.
As a result he is mercilessly humiliated by everyone, and just
about manages to rush away from his tormentors and lock himself
in his room. In the gathering dusk, the young rebels sit listlessly
on the steps of the hostel, their anger giving way to depression,
when one of them discovers the informer hanging from the fan
in his room, quite dead. Madan and his friends confront faceless
policemen who come to investigate the suicide. In the morning,
the police van carrying the boys away, is caught in the midst
of a rowdy, jostling crowd of merrymakers, playing with colours.
Madan and his friends stare blankly, hopelessly, out of the
barred windows at the shouting revelers, as the van edges its