QSQT turns 25, Juhi Chawla takes a stroll down memory lane

Mumbai, April 28 (IANS) "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" (QSQT) - a film of many firsts - completes 25 years of its release and its lead actress Juhi Chawla still relishes the time spent on the sets and says none of them knew "how the film would turn out".

QSQT was director Mansoor Khan and actor Aamir Khan's debut vehicle as director and actor, respectively. Juhi too got recognition with the tragic love saga after a miniscule role in "Sultanat".

"Mansoor Khan called just the other day to say we're going to have a reunion of the film's cast and crew. And I was like, my god! Is it really 25 years of QSQT? Wow! I feel so young when I say this (laughs)," said Juhi.

However, she misses the team members whom they lost over the years.

"Jokes aside, it is amazing that the film is still so fresh and alive. The songs by Anand-Milind like 'Ghazab ka yeh din' and 'Ae mere humsafar' are hummed to this day. Sadly, Majrooh Sultanpuri, who wrote the lovely songs is no more. From the film's team we also lost our wonderful producer Nasir Hussain Saab. And from the cast Goga Kapoor is gone. But most of us are still around to get together for the screening of QSQT that Mansoor Khan organised...."

Juhi rues not working with Mansoor Khan again because he made only two other films after QSQT. She describes him as a "perfectionist and yet so easygoing".

"You know QSQT was not really my debut film. I had done 'Sultanat' with Sunny Deol before that. But no one remembers me in that film. If you blinked, you missed me in that. Even I've forgotten my role in that film. But I do remember I felt intimidated by all the stalwarts in 'Sultanat'.

"In QSQT, we were all relatively new, therefore, most comfortable working together. There was no stress, no stretched nerves and frayed ego," said Juhi, who visited Ooty for the first time to shoot for QSQT, a box office wonder that turned out to be a game changer.

"I'd wake up at 5 a.m. and do makeup to report on location. It was great fun. We all rehearsed together and we knew every line beforehand. I was so inexperienced I didn't know why we were rehearsing like we were going to do a play (ha ha)."

Juhi says her dialogue delivery style was Nasir Hussain's idea.

"I had to speak like a girl from a Rajput dynasty... I had to speak in that 'Hum yeh karenge, hum woh karenge' style. That lingo was alien to me. This was Nasir Hussain saab's idea. I just said the lines... You know, the lines were said differently in QSQT from the way they were said in those days. I remember my team of hairdresser, makeup person, costume designer used to wonder, 'Yeh log kya banaa rahen hain'. None of us knew how the film would turn out."

She says that after being shouted at by the choreographer in Sultanat, she had an easy time with the dance director in QSQT.

"He made me so comfortable. We were shooting 'Ghazab ka hai din' and the choreographer just made it so casual. He just told me to be myself during the song. The traditionalists in the crew thought we were just doing our own thing. But we all believed in it. So magic happened," said Juhi.

After QSQT, Juhi and Aamir did several films together but she admits that "QSQT" was special.

"I loved 'Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke' also 'Ishq'. But QSQT was special to both of us," said the actress.

Talking about the climax, she said: "We shot two endings -- a tragic and a happy ending. Did we all want a tragic ending for the lovers in the film? No one asked us. We just went by what we were told, though I suspect Aamir was consulted about the ending...."

She says that her son and daughter have yet to see the film.

"Among my films, my children have only seen 'Bhootnath'. I thought it was a children's film, so they'd enjoy it. But they hated it. One yelled at me. The other cried. What to do? 'Ghar ki murgi daal baraabar'."

"Looking back I'd say QSQT is the reason I am still here. Though I like my performances in 'Aaina', 'Darr', 'Hum Hain Raahi Pyar Ke', 'Bol Radha Bol', 'Yes Boss' and 'Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman', I've to admit QSQT is a little more special," she said.