Rarely do we have movies that catapult actors to instant fame, and make them heartthrobs of an entire country. While Bollywood is rich with some blockbuster names, one prominent film on this list is Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. The 1988 release was among the biggest hits of the year, and gave Hindi cinema talent who went on to restructure how romance was depicted on screen.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak shot Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla to fame, apart from singing icons Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. The musical blockbuster also starred actor Raj Zutshi in one of his earliest roles. Raj played Aamir’s onscreen cousin brother. The two had a close bond for several years, and remain connected through family ties; Raj went on to appear in several movies starring Aamir later, including Lagaan (2001).
On the sidelines of 20th anniversary of Lagaan last year, Raj spoke with indianexpress.com about his bond with Aamir and how Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak changed their lives as it became a hit.
"With all the young and new faces, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak had taken the country by storm. And in those times, a film running for 50 weeks was a massive achievement. So, when it was declared a hit, the production, Nasir Hussain Films, along with (director) Mansoor Khan thought of taking us on a tour across various cities of India, to interact with the audience. We went to places like Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad," Raj recalled.
The ace actor revealed that the team, including Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, director Mansoor Khan and producer Nasir Hussain would walk in movie theatres during interval to see audience’s reaction and speak to them. "People were left flabbergasted seeing us. Some places, even Imran (Khan) accompanied us. He played young Aamir in QSQT."
Aamir Khan and Raj Zutshi in a still from Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.
Raj further shared that due to the craze around the film, they tried to visit as many cinema halls as possible. "In the same city, we would choose theatres which were close by, so that we could cover maximum halls within a short span of time," he said.
Sharing an incident, Raj said during one such visit in Bangalore, the organisers came on stage to remind them that they need to leave for the next theatre. "But people wanted to hold us back for a longer time than what we had in hand."
Raj revealed that sensing that the audience was on the verge of going berserk, they were asked by the cinema hall personnel to exit from the back entrance. "I remember I was sitting in the front of the car with Mansoor sir and the driver. Aamir and Juhi were sitting at the back. The cinema hall was located in a building that also had private offices. So when people saw us leaving so soon, they got furious. They threw a brick from the terrace on our car that was trying to exit the premises. It broke the windshield and we were hit by pieces of broken glass. We told the driver to just speed up and leave," Raj shared.
Though Raj Zutshi remembers it all with a smile today, calling it audience love, he does say that it was a scary experience at that time. "But as much as we appreciate audience love, we have to also accept their anger," he concluded.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak holds the record of completing a golden jubilee, after crossing 50 weeks at the box office, a huge feat back then. It was later released in China in 1991, becoming Aamir Khan‘s first film to premiere there.
The movie won a National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, apart of dozens of top honours at several other platforms. It continues to remain an integral part of India’s pop culture.