'We brought melody back to Hindi cinema and our songs which came straight from the heart, be it Papa Kehte Hain, Aye Mere Humsafar, Ghazab Ka Hai Din, Akele Hain To Kya Gham Hai.'
Aamir Khan has an enviable repertoire.
But even today, among unforgettable blockbusters like Raja Hindustani, Ghulam, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti, 3 Idiots, PK and Dangal among many others, one still flashbacks to Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Dil, his early successes.
Three decades have passed, but one can still see a young Aamir, strumming the guitar and crooning Papa kehte hain bada naam karega or romancing Madhuri Dixit with Mujhe neend na aaye, mujhe chain na aaye, koi jaye zara dondke laye, na jaane kahan dil kho gaya.
In fact, 34 years later, looking at Aamir's career graph, Papa kehte hain bada naam karega, beta hamara aisa kaam karega seems almost prophetic.
On Aamir's 57th birthday on March 14, composer duo Anand-Milind tell Rediff.com Senior Contributor, Roshmila Bhattacharya, "After Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, when we came out of the theatre -- I think it was Novelty cinema -- there was a huge rush outside with everyone clamoring for a dekko of the hero. We went home happy, convinced that people had liked our film aur picture chalegi, par itna chalegi, yeh nahin pata tha."
Flashbacking to the Romeo-Juliet love story which opened in theatres on April 29, 1988, Anand recalls the composers were involved with the film right from the writing stage. They were present at story, screenplay and dialogue sessions, as was Aamir.
Curious to know who would be singing their songs on screen, every time they met, music director Chitragupt's young sons would ask debutant director Mansoor Khan, 'Hero kaun hai?', and he would reply, 'Abhi tak decide nahin hua hai.'
"Finally one day, with complete conviction, Anand and I recommended Aamir for Raj's role, pointing out to Mansoor that his cousin looked cute," reveals Milind.
While Mansoor laughed at their suggestion, a couple of weeks later, they were told that Aamir had been cast in the lead.
Quiz them on whether they were convinced that QSQT would become a blockbuster and Anand admits that while the team knew the romantic drama had shaped up well, not everyone shared their confidence.
"Several trial shows were hosted at the Ajanta and Dimple preview theatres for distributors. After the screening, they would say, 'Nasir sahab, achchi film hai', but they didn't buy it then," Anand recounts. Nasirsahab was Mansoor's father and Aamir's paternal uncle Nasir Hussain, the man behind such blockbusters like Yaadon Ki Baraat and Hum Kissise Kum Nahin. Nasir Hussain wrote the script for QSQT and produced his son Mansoor's directorial debut.
Milind points out that it's hard to make predictions in show business, giving the example of the Mukul Anand-directed 1990 film Maha-Sangram which was expected to be a surefire hit, thanks to the cast (Vinod Khanna, Govinda and Madhuri Dixit) and brilliantly choreographed action scenes. But it bombed.
In the case of QSQT, he admits that the first time they actually began to believe the film would work was at its premiere in Mumbai, when during the interval, there was a sudden excited buzz among the audience when they spotted Aamir.
"After the film, when we came out of the theatre -- I think it was Novelty cinema -- the interest had escalated and there was a huge rush outside with everyone clamoring for a dekko of the hero.
"We went home happy, convinced that people had liked our film aur picture chalegi, par itna chalegi, yeh nahin pata tha," laughs Milind.
Anand points out that the film had several aces, from Nasir Hussain's hard-hitting dialogues and Majrooh Sultanpuri's wonderful lyrics, to the brilliant performances.
"Besides Aamir and Juhi Chawla, Dalip Tahil and Goga Kapoor impressed as their parents, as did Alok Nath as the chacha," he says.
Milind adds that some found the film 'amateurish' and one top music director had dismissed the songs as 'thanda' in the age of Ek Do Teen and disco.
"But we brought melody back to Hindi cinema and our songs which came straight from the heart, be it Papa Kehte Hain, Aye Mere Humsafar, Ghazab Ka Hai Din or Akele Hain To Kya Gham Hai, resonates even today," Anand smiles with satisfaction.
They have remixed Papa Kehte Hain and Aye Mere Humsafar, along with Rakshak's Shaher Ki Ladki, in Dolby Atmos to reach out to the new generation who can download Apple Music and listen to the songs in the 'Spatial Audio' category.
"The reactions have been awesome," Anand exults.
Two years after QST, there was Dil, again with Aamir.
"We had gone to meet him at Mehboob Studio and as we were on our way out, (Director) Indra Kumar walked in and calling us back, Aamir introduced us," recalls Milind.
Aamir had insisted signing on the brothers and they delivered again with chartbusters like Mujhe Neend Na Aaaye, Dam Dama Dam, O Priya Priya, Khambe Jaise Khadi Hai, Hum Pyaar Karene Wale and Humne Ghar Chora Hai.
Thereafter, they would go on concert tours with the Morani Brothers to the US, UK, Canada and South Africa.
Aamir and Salman Khan were always a part of these Anand-Milind Nites, with Dharmendra, Karisma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon and Sonu Walia occasionally joining them.
"At these shows, there were always requests for QSQT and Dil songs, along with Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka and Salman's Kurbaan and Baaghi: A Rebel in Love. We performed at London's Wembley Stadium to full houses, and in Birmingham," says Anand.
Milind remembers that once in Durban, they were to perform on a Saturday, but it rained so much that around 40,000 people had to go back and the show was rescheduled for Sunday.
"But it rained again, and this time, 50,000 people went back. Finally, we went on stage on Monday before a crowd of 80,000," he marvels.
During these tours, they all stayed in one hotel and that fostered the bond with Aamir.
In 1990, along with Dil, they created the music for Jawani Zindabad, Deewana Mujh Sa Nahin and Tum Mere Ho.
"But by the mid-1990s, we were doing lesser films, and even lesser after 2000, with the result that we lost touch with Aamir, who is a little reserved and not too active on social media or on the phone," admits Milind.
He is more connected with Mansoor, who has moved to Coonoor and now makes cheese.
They met at the silver jubilee celebrations of QSQT, when the film was screened, followed by another reunion at the film's 30th anniversary.
"This time, we had an after-party at Aamir's Pali Hill bungalow, which went on till 3 am," says Miling, "memories and melodies flooding back. Some things are forever."