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Mansoor Khan’s original plans for Aamir Khan’s Raj in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak

For the film’s 29th anniversary, we look back at when the director and actor revealed the scenes that didn’t make the cut to the screen at last year’s 18th Mumbai Film Festival.

Sonal Pandya

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Aamir Khan’s official debut [he earlier acted in Ketan Mehta’s student film Holi (1984)], was directed by his cousin Mansoor Khan and written by uncle Nasir Husain. The blockbuster film brought the fresh-faced newcomer to the notice of audiences and he’s risen steadily to become one of the industry’s top actors.  

Aamir’s introduction in the films was with the now-iconic song, ‘Papa Kehte Hain’ sung by Udit Narayan. But when the film was being made, there was no introduction song for Aamir Khan’s character Raj.

At a book launch for Akshay Manwani’s Music Masti Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain at the 18th Mumbai Film Festival, Mansoor Khan shared the early journey, when the film was initially supposed to be named Nafrat Ke Waris, of the two characters played by Juhi Chawla and Aamir Khan.

“The heroine of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak was very strongly defined by my dad. You know what Rashmi is all about but we didn’t know what the hero is all about he said. In my mind, I knew Aamir is going to be there and I knew I was also going to be true both to Aamir’s personality and what I thought Raj should be.”

Mansoor Khan

Mansoor Khan worked closely with his sister, Nuzhat, his father and Aamir to develop the character for the film. He told the audience what he had originally thought Raj’s introduction scene to be, “I wanted to explore ruins and track animals. The opening scene is two friends are walking through and they said, ‘Arre, yeh Raj kahan chale gaya [Where has Raj gone?]!’ ‘Pata nahin, dikh nahin raha, jungle mein jaa rahe hain [Don’t know, can’t see him, he was going in the jungle]. [There was supposed to be] a tracking shot over the trees of the two friends talking and walking. And then you realise the hero is actually tracking them from the trees."

Read: Nasir Husain’s contribution to Hindi cinema undervalued: Akshay Manwani

But thankfully, Nasir Husain, the filmmaker behind such hits as Dil Deke Dekho (1959), Caravan (1971) and Yaadon Ke Baarat (1973) turned down his son’s idea by saying, “Accha, matlab hamara hero jo hain, woh bandar hain [Okay, meaning our hero is a monkey].’

Aamir Khan in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)

Mansoor had to be reminded by Aamir Khan, who was also part of the panel, that he actually wrote another scene in which Raj turned out to to be quite the snake charmer. “[Raj’s] sitting in his room and working under the table lamp, on the typewriter. Suddenly you see this snake emerge from behind the sofa and it slowly moves towards him. He is totally unaware [of the snake],” he revealed. "The snake comes, climbs up on the chair and comes right next to Raj. [Raj turns], pets the snakes affectionally and then you realise that it’s his pet snake. He’s got a special bond with animals which is why when [Raj and Rashmi] get lost in the jungle, we think that oh, Rashmi’s character is freaking out but this guy, he knows animals. But then that also got bounced for some reason.”

Keeping Raj away from the jungle and on to the stage seemed a smart move for Mansoor Khan as the film went on to enjoy great success and even won the National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.