Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Day Bollywood Got Even Sweeter...Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak


What, you mean Bollywood didn't always have the dynamic Aamir Khan and the lovely Juhi Chawla?

Nowadays, its hard to imagine Aamir Khan being in amateur--and even in his first leading role he is hardly that. Arguably one of the most gifted and powerful actors Indian cinema has ever seen, Aamir's success can be traced through more than two decades, from classics like Lagaan and Rang De Basanti to recent triumphs such as Taare Zameen Par and Ghajini. Yet it had to begin somewhere, and that somewhere was Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak--a story about first love caught up in a web of fueding families.

This film was recommended to me by The Bollywood Fan, and after realizing we both had yet to write about it, we decided to collaborate and compile a joint review; I knew I was in for a real treat--Writing with the big Aamir fan would add an entertaining yet informative spin to the review, as well as my viewing experience (not only that, but I'd get to hear him say "Haye Allah--Juhi Chawla!"). We talked about all of my questions (and then some)--What was this film's reception by its target audience when in came out back in 1988? What was the general response to Aamir and Juhi? Which songs were embraced? The Bollywood Fan has written his part to this review here.

On first glance, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak seemed to be yet another young love story to emerge from the whole "DDLJ and HAHK Era", despite being released prior to those two films. However, after watching this I realized I was wrong--very, very wrong. QSQT is anything but "typical", espically for a Bollywood film. But then again, has Aamir Khan done anything typical, ever? This is one of those films that must be watched in its entiriety before you even begin to judge it. In other words, stick with it--You may think you've been down this road before in Bollywood, but rest assured, by the end you will see what separates QSQT from its counterparts.


The Story

Again, the story--on the surface, at least--is basic. Raj and Rashmi meet and unexpectedly fall in love, yet their families have been enemies for years. Raj's father, Dhanraj, even spent years in prison as a result of a tragic event related to this feud. And, yes,(following the stereotypical mold) Rashmi is already engaged to somebody else. Yet the film does such a good job of telling us this story that we don't seem to mind if we can guess how it will all turn out in the end (or will it?).

The Beginning

Unlike most films from this era (at least the ones I've seen anyways, Ahem, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun), QSQT does not drag in the beginning. Quite the contrary, the beginning was so strong and made such an impact that I instantly trusted its ability to entertain me for the next 2.5 hours. Those of you who have sat through an hour plus of boring dialouges and shoddy character development just to get to the good stuff in other Hindi films will truly appreciate this; QSQT gives the backstory to the feuding families in a way that gets to the point and yet is believable-- By the time the opening credits roll, we know why these guys don't like each other, and can even sympathize with both sides.

Aamir

Aamir Khan (as "Raj") makes his entrance to the film shortly after the backstory is told, in the vibrant song "Papa Kehte Hain"(Ironically enough, baby Imran Khan is seen first in the film as the young Raj). Babyfaced and charming, I saw Aamir in a whole new light here--I'd always found him attractive, sure, but in a sort of intelligent, smarty pants way. Here he's just a total heartthrob, plain and simple!



Aamir wears short-shorts!




But don't let Aamir's daisy dukes fool you--he was just as talented then as he is now. A natural screen presence, his Raj was the "perfect" hero; Sweet and senstive yet strong and protective. And although Aamir's talent was obvious to the viewer, it seemed somewhat unapparent to Aamir himself; A glimpse of a more naive version of the actor, perhaps, before he unevitably realized just how good he was (I'm not saying anything negative about the man--I'm just saying he didn't seem to have any idea how big he would become, and it was endearing to see him when he was somewhat "untouched" by fame).

Juhi (Haye-Allah!)

So I'd never considered myself a Juhi Chawla fan, and still don't, exactly, but...well, I can see why men all over were smitten with this actress after QSQT. Though her character annoyed me at first, there was something different and special about Rashmi which grew on me as the film went on. For one, she was kind of flighty, but as I got to know her, I realized this was genuine to her character and not just a ploy to look cute. Further, her love and devotion to Raj was adorable-As the Bollywood Fan pointed out, she won the hearts of many with her debut as a heroine.

Secondly, Rashmi's character seemed to break the conventional heroine mold I'd become accustomed to in Bollywood. You know, the one where the actress looks cute, flips her hair and lets her saree blow in the wind while the hero stalks her from behind the trees and pursues her with a song. In Bollywood (as I've known it to be so far, anyways) the hero practically worships the heroine, while she, in many cases, can't even stand the mere sight of him until he sings a song or two (See Kajol in DDLJ, Rani in Hum Tum, and Nargis in Shree 420 to name a few). Rashmi is sooo different. Although its Raj who notices her first, that's only because she's not paying attention. Once Rashmi lays eyes on Raj, its she who does the pursuing (and even follows him in the forest, signing a song that isn't subtitled, urgh!). There's a scene that makes me laugh out loud where Rashmi and Raj spend the night by the campfire--Rashmi makes it clear she would like Raj to sleep next to her, and is quite forward about it. After refusing, Raj literally turns his back on her and goes to sleep!

Raj turns his back on Rashmi...




Rejected!



The Chemistry

Once Raj stops putting up a wall and admits his true feelings for Rashmi, sparks fly. There's a lot of chemistry between these two, though in a pretty subtle way (think HAHK and DDLJ again). But that's what makes it so sweet--Every time Raj would blow a kiss or flash a dazzling smile at his love, my heart would flutter. I'd love to see these two paired up now, as they're both older and it would be interesting to see how they'd match up today.

The Music

The music was another strength of the film. Though the picturizations were kept fairly simple, they were also woven into the story so well that I can remember each one vividly. Aamir's song entrance was a favorite (and as noted in part one of this review, his real-life wife at the time even makes in appearance), and both of the love songs between Aamir and Juhi were touching (I especially liked the one at the end). The only one I didn't really care for was the song where Rashmi follows Raj through the forest--her facial expressions bothered me.

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

The Ending

Like the beginning, the ending to Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak leaves an unshakable impact. I was completely and totally shocked by the turn of events, and sat like a statue staring at the screen long after the last credits rolled. The Bollywood Fan and I discussed how an audience that immersed itself in rainbow and sunshine endings could have possibly reacted to such a tragic climax, and agreed that its uncommon ending is what made it memorable. So, while I wished things would have turned out differently for Raj and Rashimi, I understood and appreciated the filmmaker's choice. Had it turned out any other way, I may have been less moved by the film as a whole.

***SPOILER END***

A fitting film for the starring debut of a legend, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak must not be missed by any Hindi film fan. Thank you to Bollywood Fan for recommending and sharing this experience with me!

19 comments:

Darshit March 29, 2009 at 7:50 PM  

I absolutely liked this idea of joint review. At first, when I saw both your reviews posted at the same time, i was maha-surprised. Then read here how it did happen.

Lovestory of mine with Aamir began from here. I am delighted to read ur thoughts on it. The part I loved the most is Juhi write up. You have noted it quite interestingly. And as u said, not Aamir but its her who then takes most moves in rest of the movie. Loved her bit of jungle scenes. And also how she photographs him and shows it ! Btw, the jungle's song was so fun. Juhi was fantastic.

And u put Aamir, as quite untouched by fame. To the point. It was like watching him as a raw actor with all possibilities of being legend. And that made it so special. He wasn't hero who could fight, or who had good body or can put off angry young man roles (essential in that action zamana) but still ppl loved him the most.



##spoiler##

the ending was totaly shocking. As far as i know they had shot two climax and then after trial screenings they finalised this one. And at that time it made deep impact. I remember when i visited the place where it was shot, people there told me that cases of couple suicide were on great high at that place after the movie. Same as happened after movie 'ek duje ke liye'.

ajnabi March 29, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

See, I know the ending and now I can't make myself watch the film despite knowing I "should." :-( I can't remember who told me first! Juhi is so luminous, and I *am* a huge fan--those dimples alone! It's almost criminal in me *not* to watch the thing.

But anyway, I love the idea of a joint review... Sometime we should see how many Bolly-bloggers we can get to review the same movie at the same time, wouldn't that be fun?

bollyviewer March 29, 2009 at 9:08 PM  

Like ajnabi, I too find Juhi utterly irresistible. She's just so cute! And she isnt the only heroine to pursue her hero. Many other heroines have done it before, and after (it seemed to happen a lot to Anil Kapoor and Govinda), but this was one of the few times I thought it was merited (another favorite instance is that of Jaya Bahaduri pursuing Sanjeev Kumar in Anamika)! ;-D

JJC March 29, 2009 at 9:43 PM  

oh a joint review, totally awesome.
They were just tooooo cuteee..put into your pocket type.
I love Juhi Chawla in the forest..she was very forward but with an air of innocence. I loved that part i nthe forest too, when she was telling him all about herself in the forest.

BB March 29, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

Great, now I HAVE to see this movie. Wonderful joint review, you guys!

KK March 29, 2009 at 11:56 PM  

Get Top Holly Wood Bollywood Images On
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Joss,  March 30, 2009 at 2:35 AM  

Great idea to get together with tBF on this one. It must have been fun. Luckily I have already have this film recommended to me by another Aamirian, so I've actually seen it! And yes, I love it too. The first half was totally free from irritating characterisations and implausabile plot developments ... and dancing round trees. It won me over straight away. I didn't at the time appreciate how revolutionary it was to have the heroine chasing the hero, but I noticed the same thing happening in the buggy ride in Andaz Apna Apna, and found it totally irresistble to see Aamir that way! I suppose he was a bit of a flirt, but that is much more attractive than the obsessive stalker roles you see SRK, for example, taking on.

I have to say the ending was a bit of a shock to me. I should have been thinking of Romeo and Juliet, and Shakespearen tragedy, but it was my Bollywood night so I wasn't! I would definitely like to see this one again, if only for the shelf scene. Do you know what I mean? Where Aamir reaches out to Juhi through the shelving in a shop to caress her face. Heavenly!

Now over the Bollywood Fan's blog to see what he has to say...

Nicki March 30, 2009 at 7:02 AM  

So cute with the joint review! Great idea.

I am glad you finally saw this film! It is cute.

But my first introduction to Aamir definitely was Dil, which turned me to a die-hard Aamir fan that I am now.

He just keeps getting better and better.

Honestly, I'm with you about Juhi. I couldn't see (at first) why she was so loved. However, after many viewings of her other films, I can totally see it.

bollywooddeewana March 30, 2009 at 10:17 AM  

Let me guess was your dvd eros, as their early dvds don't seem to carry subtitles on the songs. Loved your review as much as the Bollywoodfan, for some reason this movie has always been at the bottom of my to see list as i know i will enjoy it soo much when i see it, hence why i've delayed my viewing

Chandra Singh March 30, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

Hi Nida,

A joint review is a great idea! I'm sure you guys must had fun discussing the details :) I love your blog and would like to add you to my website's blog roll. I'm with MovieZen.com - we are a large and growing (500,000+ visitors per month) website focused on movies and celebrities - our Bollywood homepage is at http://www.moviezen.com/hindi. We would love to explore more ways of tapping into your expertise if you are interested.
Look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks! :)

Nida March 31, 2009 at 1:22 PM  

Glad All of you liked the joint review!

Darshit--Thank you! Interesting, any idea what the other climax was? I sure wish I would have been around to see Aamir's first big role! About Juhi----I forgot about the photographs, but whoa--good point!

Ajnabi--That would be a blast--this was so much fun! Let me know if you ever want to do one :) As for QSQT, if you're such a Juhi fan you've just GOT to see this!

Bollyviewer-I'm not too familiar with the films you've mentioned, but it is a refreshing change of pace from the SRK stalker roles, isn't it?

JJC--"Put in your pocket type..." I love that!:) Yep, they surely made the film so special! That and the angry faces of their fathers'! Lol

BB--Thanks! Its definitely a must-see!

KK--Aishwarya and Angelina? Oh, my!

Joss--Ooh, I know exactly what you are talking about--the "shelving" scene! Yes, that was such a tender move. I thought Aamir did a lot of subtle gestures that I found very romantic, especially since it was so obvious Juhi was interested. And agree, quite different from the SRK stalker roles! Glad you got to see this one. I too, was incredibly shocked by the climax!Still have yet to see Andaz Apna Apna...

Nicki--Yeah, I still think I should see more Juhi films from the 80s and 90s. I liked her enough by end, but she didn't really win my heart so to speak. I'm dying to see "Dil" though!

Bollywooddeewana-Lol, I'm not sure what my DVD is! Its not Eros, but its not a pirate. However, I did get it from India Weekly so I was just relieved that the thing played ;) I know what you mean about knowing you'll like something and therefore delaying it for a day when you really need it. I did the same thing for months with Main Hoon Naa!

Chandra--Thank you, what an honor! I would love to work with you guys--I'll send you an email.

theBollywoodFan April 4, 2009 at 8:11 PM  

Hey Nida, this was a lot of fun! Really very glad you enjoyed the film. I hope you got a chance to check out the videos toward the bottom of my post, they're the ones I was telling you about.

With Nicki on 'Dil'. Would also highly recommend 'Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin'. It's difficult to go wrong with these two if you liked QSQT. :)

Cheers!

Crazy on Bollywood April 7, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

Amir and Juhi is a true heaven made onscreen couple.Second best couple after Amitabh and Rekha.

yves April 12, 2009 at 7:22 AM  

Hi Nida,
I loved reading about that favourite film of mine - When I watched it, I was doing that review of Juhi Chawla, and got lost in her smile - but you're right, the film's got a charm very much its own, which doesn't come only from its two leads.
cheers,
yves

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Yogii November 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM  

where was the movie shot?

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