Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak

It only seems appropriate to kick off this pop-culture blog with the movie that started it all for me: Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.

At the ripe old age of eight, I fell for Aamir Khan as he sang, “Mera to sapna hai ek chehra” (I dream of a face), clutching a mic, a ray of light slanting through his mop of hair, dreamy look in eyes. Three decades hence, the crush endures.

This movie means so many different things to me, it’s hard to begin talking about it, to find a common thread to create a coherent blog post around.

QSQT is a first for me, but I had some trouble figuring out what of. It’s certainly not my earliest memory of film, that would be Jai Santoshi Maa when I was two. It’s not even the first film I remember seeing beginning to end (hi there, My Dear Kutti Chathaan). It’s not the first film I could feel something for (you scared the daylights out of me, Kutti Chathaan, and I liked it). But it was the first film that took me out of myself, gave me that essential cinema-going experience. It was the first film that endured with me beyond the watching of it. It was the first film I saw more than once. And it certainly was the beginning of my obsession with Hindi films.

(My partner-in-crime in all of this was my friend and neighbour, Devi (if you’re reading this, Devi, hi!) … It would be more honest to say she was the ring leader. She had the VCR and all the movie news, was three years older, and it is impossible for me to talk about my relationship to Hindi and Tamil films without giving her the credit for starting me off on this path. Thank you, Devi.)

As I watch Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak again and again over the years, its charm only grows. It’s a wonderfully-written, wonderfully-directed, wonderfully-performed film, compelling for ages. I dare you to watch the qayamat (disaster) that starts it off, the suicide of a pregnant young girl jilted by her lover and her brother’s subsequent murder of said lover, and not want to watch the whole thing.

The story then jumps to twenty years later, where Raj—nephew of the dead girl—and Rashmi—niece of dead guy—fall in love. This is a wonderfully-crafted romance, starting with Raj’s curiosity regarding the people his family have a blood-feud with. Inevitably, their families find out and they are prohibited from seeing each other again. With the help of friends, they elope, but Rashmi’s cousin trackes them down, and her father contracts a hit on Raj.

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak means “from disaster to disaster”, and the qayamat that ends this film led me to not trust any films for a long, long time. It was years before I realised that most films end well for the protagonists.

Despite it ending in tragedy, I can watch QSQT tens of times because I still think of it as a beautiful, optimistic film. Life between the two qayamat is charged with love, not just between the romantic leads, but within their families, amongst their friends. It is validating, energising. ALL THE FEELZ.

And okay, yes, this is a Romeo & Juliet re-telling with songs, congratulations if you managed to spot that. But it was this that I came across first, and this that will occupy first place in my heart.