Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)

This two-part review concludes at Bitten by Bollywood. Hindustan Ka Hero was updated with links to Aamir Khan's CNN Talk Asia interview.

It begins and ends with the title (pun intended). The literal meaning of 'Qayamat' (the Urdu word is derived from the Arabic 'Qiyamah', which carries the same principal meaning) is the 'day of judgment'. Secondary meanings of the word include 'calamity' or a 'heartening implosion' (the word is used often in poetry, within the context of courtship!). No matter how one applies these meanings to the title of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), it makes sense. From one calamity to the next. Bringing hearts together. Through the day of judgment.

It's been 21 years since its release, through a generation. In hindsight, there could not have been a better coupling for the lead pair of Mansoor Khan's directorial debut. See, those who believe in the concept of an afterlife of any sort need not worry if they have been advocates for love and not hatred. This most certainly includes actors in their lead role debuts in this film, Aamir Khan (Raj) and Juhi Chawla (Rashmi), who will likely go to heaven for spreading all the Love, Love, Love! Which brings us to the premise of this film -- a family feud that gets in the way of love.

Honor killings around marriages are a terribly sad reality, and almost accepted by some. When it's not lovers being killed, it's family members. Like radicalism and terrorism, it is, in my view, somewhat independent of the class issue (here's an example of a North American family from India involved in one). So they're not restricted to the less educated or poor. Too often, parents are instigators. Which is why QSQT is an extremely well packaged film that carries a valid and relevant social message. It also includes implicit commentary on women's rights, and addresses the dynamic that often guides these unbelievably ignorant and hateful crimes. In so doing, it doesn't once deviate from being a good old family drama with a love story at its foundation.

Having said that, this is hardly (primarily) a message film. At its core, it's the tale of the young and the innocent. Here's a film that was different with its simplicity. The consensus is that QSQT was a landmark, a welcome drift from the violent films marking the 1970s and 80s, which led to a shift in filmmaking practices following. Innovation in cinema in some ways (innovation, by definition, isn't always 'new').

Before discussing the details of the film, here are some notes on the cast and one song (from the soundtrack by Anand-Milind, and with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri). It really was a family affair for Nasir Hussain's kin. Here's Reena Dutta wearing red (Aamir's first wife, they were married since before QSQT), in a special appearance. Reena was also the Executive Producer for Lagaan (2001).

This was also Imran Khan's (yes, that Jaane Tu kid!) debut film, as he played young Raj.

Rajendranath Zutshi as Shyam was Raj's cousin and aid.

As you can see, these guys go a long way. (Rajendranath was Nasir's son-in-law at the time.) How fitting is it that one of the more pivotal scene involves Shyaam holding a cricket bat?

Because Shyam is none other than Ismail from the greatest film ever made!

Viju Khote (left), Robert in Andaz Apna Apna (1994):

My tie rack provides ample evidence I like slim ties.

Who could possibly be hotter than Juhi Chawla (this scene is classic, by the way)?

Juhi on horseback!

If she said 'hi' to me, I'd wave back and say 'haaye' <|:o) How 'bout a good ole Haaye Allah?!

The filmy dads here are quite a handful. When it's not Raj's father Dhanraj Singh (Dalip Tahil, right) or uncle Alok Nath (second from right), it's Rashmi's father Randhir Singh (Goga Kapoor, left) whose personality reminds one of Amrish Puri.

Of course Alok Nath tried, as Alok Nath almost always does, to knock some sense into people. Would it work?

There's a favorite filmy mom in Reema Lagoo (center).

Lesson learned, Papa-ji.

Which brings us to a song that might well be the most popular debut song for any actor-singer duo. Aamir's first song in a lead role is also Udit Narayan's first in Hindi film. Rightfully, then, Udit's label as 'Voice of Aamir' carried through the decades. Papa Kehte Hain was part of Dil (1990). The intro to Koi Kahe in Dil Chahta Hai (2001) was inspired by it. Pappu Can't Dance in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008) invoked it. Here it is (if this video doesn't work, please visit this link):

You might also enjoy some fan works it influenced. Here's a cute video with a kid on the piano. Here is the song on the harmonica. Here is its use in the classroom (this is great!). And some fun pastime. I've lost count of how many times I've heard (and sung) it with friends, and I can't find an audio clip for some reason. I'll save my silly singing for another song involving Juhi that doesn't fit here. :)

A snapshot from this news clip notes Aamir's efforts to promote QSQT through rickshaw drivers (this campaign must've been hard work):

And finally, here's a historic and remarkable video of Aamir, Mansoor, Udit and Co. at the Filmfare Awards in 1989, also involving Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra, and Meenakshi Sheshadri. A big thank you to fellow Aamirian SkorpionChik06 for sharing. If you have not seen the film, you must skip minutes 5 through 6. Must see Aamir's speech starting at 6:30, and an Aamir interview at ~8:00. They'd asked him a question about pressure in the face of a sensational debut. Fast-forward two decades years. I think he's done extremely well in sticking to his focus on the audience. A salute to you, Aamir. It's been a fun, enriching ride all along for your fans, sir :)

Now, we're only just getting started. Nida at Bitten By Bollywood saw this recently, and I'm glad to turn it over to her, then. Part 2 of this review is available at her blog at this link.


Darshit said...

Enjoying ur writeup. But now its time to work. So wil come later again.
And hey, seriously I didnt knew that was Imraan !!

ajnabi said...

Oh, I love Reema Lagoo! She's one of my favorite filmi maas, but I think Farida Jalal is my sabse favorite. ;-) Okay... I know how this ends but I'm thinking I might just have to force myself to watch it anyway. Look at Aamir! It's the first time I've seen him all chocolate-hero-ish!

bollyviewer said...

Its been a while since I saw this and goodness, everybody looks so young. And its already 21 years since it released? It feels like yesterday!

I remember refusing to watch it as I was darned if I'd watch yet another teen Romeo-Juliet romance. It was only years later, when I finally did watch it, that I realised that though a fairly cliched story, it was refreshing and fun (like Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na two decades later)!

JJC said...

I commented on juhi/aamir on nida's blog. but i wanted to add..i really liked dalip tahil's character in here. the parents weren't all loud parents wiht tacky dialogues..theyre were more relaisitic parents who talked things out.
that Rajendranath guy is a good actor, i remember her from one2ka4 and khakee and some azaadi type films whos names i can't remember.
I dont know how many times ive watching this film but i luurrve it. Juhi Chawla is a darling (do a review on Ishq!)..I'm glad she's not mad at Aamir anymore and they talk again (i think).

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: Good luck with work, and hope you have a good start to the week, man. Yup, that's Imran! He also played young Aamir in Jo Jeeta, in which he had a more prominent role (relatively). More later.

Ajnabi: For fans of Aamir the chocolate hero, QSQT, Dil (1990), and Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin (1992) are required viewing! It's a difficult choice between Reema Lagoo and Farida Jalal. I think every kid during the QSQT and (especially) Maine Pyaar Kiya era must think of Reema as an absolute favorite. How could she not be? I think you'll still like QSQT a lot, despite knowing the ending. Remember, qayamat se qayamat *tak* (to). I find peace in the title! :o)

Bollyviewer: Absolutely correct. It's been that long, it's difficult to believe, right? I like the comparison between Jaane Tu and QSQT, there were quite a few parallels (seek, and ye shall discover!). For a moment, though, I was afraid someone from the Mumbai airport security team would pull the trigger on poor Jai, LOL.

JJC: Thanks for stopping by! Agreed on all counts. Dalip Tahil was really effective here. That scene in which he drives Juhi to the camp is unreal. Ishq is on the block now! And you're right about Juhi and Aamir. They're cool again now. Juhi was even present at the Jaane Tu special screening for Aamir and friends!

Joss said...

Great review, and very wll-researched as usual. It is shocking to read that what the film says about honour killings is borne out by reality - that it isn't a class issue. Somehow when this tragedy happens in a Shakespearean play (Romeo and Juliet) it is so far from our own lives that the heat of it is insulated by time. In this film it becomes much more 'real' and believable. Ironically though, when you hear of such things happening in the city where you live it all seems hushed up again, and the individuals involved become as difficult to relate to as the Shakespearean lovers.

Not sad at all is that this was the start to so many great movie careers. Baby Imran will, I hope, have a very long filmography if it begins with this!

Nicki said...

Wow, didn't realize the film was actually *that* old! Has it really been that long?

And that's Imraan? Thanks for pointing that out too!

I totally love Reema too...mainly thanks to Maine Pyar Kiya though. :)

Nicki said...

I hit Post Comment too soon! Hahaha!

Thanks for the caps and knowledge...and also very cool that you and Nida did a joint review.

Now heading over to her blog.

theBollywoodFan said...

Joss: Thank you, and yes, it's harsh to be able to relate to it, and it must be very sad for people who are close enough to do so. Imran hasn't made the mistake of signing too many films Aamir made after his first big hit, but I guess that's progress. Time will tell whether his first few films do better. Helps to have Aamir uncle's production house casting him in Delhi Belly, a film in English and one I hear is targeted primarily at the urban/international audience!

Nicki: The joint review with Nida was a lot of fun! We've all grown so much older since its release :( Reema Lagoo was brilliant in Maine Pyaar Kiya (she had a much more crucial role there), agreed.

Darshit said...

Humm, your post is caps heavy. And why it shouldn't? Juhi ji is here. Absolutely fell head over heels to that 'Hi' screencap.

All the info you have collected is kinda exclusive to me. As mentioned earlier abt Imran, and next the Rickshaw campaign. From ensemble, I liked Raj Zutshi's character. [Aamir's namesake? :-D]

And the Filmfare clip...OMG...its a collector's edition !! I am off to download it !!

Loved every bit of the both reviews. Hope we can see more of such reviews. Its fun.

bollywooddeewana said...

Bahut achai review, i enjoyed reading it

Darshit said...

Sorry to bring this again to ur blog, but don't you feel SRK's moves are quite similar to what Aamir is doing on stage in the video?? :)
[delete this if you want to]

Darshit said...

Oh no ! Have to come back again. Just to mention Rashmi's special way of speaking. 'Hum...'

Filmi Girl said...

Yay!!! I love the soundtrack to this film so much - it really cemented Udit Narayan as the VOICE of Aamir, don't you think?

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: Juhi ji??? No 'ji', please, LOL. Okay, my bad. I have to stop behaving silly when it comes to her mention. As Rashmi, she sounded so cool in her eloquence! 'Hum', as you know, is often used in formal Urdu in the singular, where 'main' would normally be used.

That rickshaw campaign info was interesting. And yes, that Filmfare clip is definitely a keeper! The dance move you're talking about...Aamir's done it so often. Maybe I need to do an inventory of it some day. It's present in each of his movies this decade (except for TZP)! SRK has his way of doing typically involves the move plus his fingers pointing toward him :D Okay, that's a joke, there you go again, Darshit, getting me in trouble, LOL.

bollywooddeewana: Thank you :) I'm sure you'll like it!

Filmi Girl: The music is really good, and it seems to have stood the test of time. Ditto to that Udit Narayan comment -- I'm hoping beyond hopes that he sings for Aamir in 3 Idiots. It's been too long since (last was four years ago, in Mangal Pandey)!

Darshit said...

Eh.. I can visualise the 'pointing 2wards him' thing.
Go wordplayer Go !

theBollywoodFan said...

:) It is a pretty common dance step, and in all fairness to SRK, I think he can do it well enough too. Let's be done talking about SRK :P

theBollywoodFan said...

All: On an unrelated note, here's some cool news involving Katrina Kaif and Barbie dolls!

Anonymous said...

Yes, please do a special on Aamirs dance steps... :-) For that I would like to name "Dekho 2000" from Mela.... I usually fall of the couch laughing... And do a special on Aamirs gestures... You can follow them through the years... And not only in movies but also in interviews :-))

Really nice essay about QSQT. I think it is so sad that the quality of the movie (regarding colours, sound and sharpness of the images) is so poor. And it is only 20 years old... e.g. Indiana Jones and the last crusade was released around that time... And I still remember the amazing sound and great pictures...


shweta said...

And Zutshi eventually married Imraan's mom (and later divorced)- all in the family, yep. The movie never fails to make me weep in the end- [sigh]. The soundtrack was so gr8- even today.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous: That would be an enormous task, but it's so tempting to try to compile the list! I guess once I'm done reviewing all of his films (after re-watching each), that's when it'd be fair. The deal with the gestures is a great idea too. I need to do one for TABU! ;)

Agree completely on the production quality at the time. I think Lagaan was the one film that turned around the emphasis (or lack thereof) of production values in Bollywood. Films prior to 2001 (let alone the 80s and 90s) generally took lackadaisical approaches to their quality, which was a shame.

Shweta: There's this specific memory I have of not liking any song except Papa Kehte Hain from this soundtrack back in 1989, which led to me being fussy in the car, for example. I was very, very wrong, and as you say, the songs are still a treat. Those around me (older cousins and siblings) were darn right! Of course, I stopped complaining after having seen Juhi. ;)

Crazy on Bollywood said...

"Which brings us to a song that might well be the most popular debut song for any actor-singer duo. Aamir's first song in a lead role is also Udit Narayan's first in Hindi film."

Thanks for the rare infos.

Ebrahim Kabir said...

One of the few commercial Indian films that I continue to like.

theBollywoodFan said...

Crazy on Bollywood: You're welcome, there's so much we have all yet to discover, though! That's what makes it exciting.

Ebrahim: Welcome, and thank you for your comment. I agree with you completely about the average commercial Hindi film. I've said this before, I don't think I'd ever have come back to watching commercial film if it weren't for an Aamir Khan striving to bridge the gap between the classes and the masses.

Pitu said...

FAB!!! TBF this was such a treat to read :-D QSQT is one of my all time faves... uff I remember dreaming about Aamir's slow-mo wala jogging scene in Mt Abu as a kid *blush*! I waited to read this post when I had plenty of time and could actually relax and check it out. Lotta fun, and I agree- WHO could be hotter than Juhi? Adorable :-) And the vid was a treat to watch!

Pitu said...

Also, another quick thing- the 80s and 90s were notorious for absolutely horrendous fashions. But I actually like a majority of Juhi's (and Aamir's) wardrobe in this film. There's a lot of classic weaves, Lucknavi chikankari, bandhej and Jaipuri block prints. This at a time when synthetics ruled and frills/lace/Pepto Bismol pink ruffles were considered 'stylish' :-p Although I am not a fan of the bright half saris, her salwar suits were grt. You could raid Rashmi's closet TODAY and you'd still look elegant and well turned out.

Anu said...

QSQT is a classic! I love it because of Aamir and Juhi's innocence! They were so raw, so charming! I can't take my eyes off Aamir throughout this film!

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: Thank you, and I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I think every desi kid who is/was a fan of He-Man and Transformers, is a fan of QSQT and Maine Pyaar Kiya :D That video is very cool, yes. My fashion sense for anything other than corporate, party and athletic attire is not near where it needs to be, and 'block prints' is the only one from the ones you listed that makes sense, but pehenne waaliyaan achchi hon toh sabhi achche hain, na? :P Juhi, of course! ;) Seriously, now, I agree with you. Those salwar kameezs were really, really cool.

The inclusion of that Mt. Abu wala jogging scene made was great, not only for the photographs, but also because of the separation from the camp, in which they talk of the doobta hua sooraj :'(

Anu: A classic it is, and I'm on the same boat when it comes to being distracted by a lead...Juhi rocks! ;)

Pitu said...

And Voltron, don't forget Voltron! LOL!

JJC said...

oohh i agree wiht Pitu..she had some nice clothes...not the crazy stuff of the 80's..

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: Of course! Silly could I forget? :)

JJC: Thank you for stopping by. I was thinking about the wardrobe comment and it not mattering much on certain people. Vidya Balan puts that argument to rest, which is a shame (her wardrobe in Heyy Babyy and Kismat Konnection was irrelevant, I think).

As for the 1980s...the more I think about it, the more I associate the earlier years of the decade with Neelam and Sangeeta Bijlani!

JJC said...

tbf..stop it..your making me feel like your my other half! i loveeeee Neeelam..she had the hottest outfits and was so adorable, aalong with divya bharti. Sangeeta Bijlani was hot too..nice hair and all (TRIDEV!)..

JJC said...

err..other half..bollywood-wise ;p

theBollywoodFan said...

Woah, what a reminder (Divya Bharti)! And it's been a long, long time since I saw Tridev. I know I need to see it again to appreciate all the acting talent in it. And Neelam had a couple of really good masala fares with Govinda in the 1980s, those I need to revisit too. She had Afsana Pyaar Ka with Aamir, which was not bad.

ROTFL at that other Bollywood-half comment. Jo aap kaho, ji. ;P

JJC said...

i randomly watched Sindoor last night..them two were in it..govinda/neelam.
and I had afsana pyar ka running in the background incase i didnt like..this is what i do instead of studying for exams..
but this is up next..its been a while:
woh comment 2nd add kar na tha, family-friendly hai na ;p

Pitu said...

Everybody dressed well in Tridev!! Mads had some lovely outfits in the uber romantic song "Main teri muhabbat mein" and I especially ADORE this red-yellow Manipuri-style embroidered dress type skirt thing that she twirls around in. WANT!! :-D

theBollywoodFan said...

JJC: How is Sindoor? And I guess its title ties in well with the family-friendliness wala comment, LOL. Bilkul hai, and you got me there ;) Good luck with the exams!

Pitu: I need to revisit Tridev now, that's it!

JJC said...

eh..typicals 80's movie..i wasn't in love..especially because of how neelam reacts to her single 'mom' being in love. all of a sudden ehr perfect mom was a 'bad' woman.

theBollywoodFan said...

That seems to happen so often, doesn't it? We seem to have come a long way, though. Oh, well.

Pitu said...

Meh! I watched Afsana Pyar Ka with 2 older cousins at Plaza theater in Mumbai, reason I remember it is coz it was the first time I had seen a movie in a theater so I was EXCITED. The most bizarre thing is, there was this boodha guy sitting on my right who was CRYING, like WEEPING when Neelam had a crying scene. It was so strange I started giggling! :-D Ahh those days.....

ginak said...

Hi there TBF...wonderful wonderful treat this combined writeup on QSQT...I just love the feel of the movie and well love to remember how I fell in love with Aamir (actor of course ;-)) and Juhi. I enjoyed all the comments too...Pepto Bismol PINK ROFL....brought a few costumes to my mind...the hum and the way juhi chased Aamir was really cute and am a fan of Juhi too. Wish AK and Juhi wud pair up that their differences are sorted. Wud be fun. somehow i never felt sad at the end of QSQT...there was so much love and innocence was wonderful and the movie always gives me an nice fresh feeling unlike ek dujhe key liye...i cant bear to see the ending for some reason..thank you again for that wonderful treat and all those youtube links...rare and precious...Aamir so young and yet so sure of himself and so uncoscious of his talent and someone said untouched by fame..

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: I'm sorry for the late reply here...that's amazing that you'll be living with that memory for the rest of your life :P

GinaK: Thank you! Really glad you enjoyed the post and comments; there's so much to like about the film! I see your point about the end to the film, although I think it's the short song 'Papa kehte The' ('Dad used to say' -- as opposed to 'Papa Kehte Hain', 'Dad says') which gets me nearly every time.

It'd be fantastic to have Aamir and Juhi work opposite each other again. I was hoping they'd play some role in Jaane TU, e.g. an elder brother and sister-in-law for one of the characters, but it wasn't meant to be, I guess. But hey, we can hope! And yes, that video from the Awards is priceless, a big thanks to SkorpionChik for that!

Rajesh said...

Few things about the video:
1. Shekhar Suman as the host. Its hard to imagine him 20 years back.
2. Aamir cheering for every award. And few laters he decided to not attend any awards show. I never thought Aamir would be cheering for award in this way.
3. I think this is the only time I have seen Aamir give a live, stage performance.
4. What were the other movies nominated for best film?

Thanks for posting this video. Its a treasure.

theBollywoodFan said...

Rajesh: Thank you for your comment and welcome to the blog! The video is a neat little piece of history in its own right, indeed a treasure. Aamir's had few live performances, that's true.

The Filmfare Best Film Award Wikipedia page lists 'Tezaab' and 'Khoon Bhai Maang' as among those in contention for the award.

Do stop by again. And thank you again. Cheers.