Released on 11 November 1988, Tezaab is widely considered as one of the most successful potboilers ever made in India. Directed by N Chandra, Tezaab was among the biggest hit of the decade, and cemented Anil Kapoor’s place as a leading actor in Hindi films, after a super-successful Mr India (1987). The film was also the first major hit of Madhuri Dixit. The Anil-Madhuri pair went on to play the lead in several other blockbusters down the years. That aside, Tezaab is also perhaps the biggest hit in actor Chunky Pandey’s career, who played a common friend of Anil and Madhuri in the film.
Three decades since its release, here are six lesser known facts about the film that broke a number of box office records.
1. Was five hours long
Tezaab was a marathon film which was initially five hours long. Distributors and exhibitors wanted it to be shorter since the five-hour length would send their film screening schedules topsy-turvy. Cinema halls, back then, usually followed the matinee-evening-night format for screenings. A five-hour film would have meant dropping one of the shows leading to a reduced number of footfalls inside the theatre. The film was reedited to fit inside three hours.
2. So Gaya Yeh Jahan was supposed to be dropped
Even after the reediting, distributors still found the film long enough. They suggested deleting the song So Gaya Yeh Jahan from the final cut. N Chandra put his foot down and insisted on retaining the track. He reasoned that the film was high on adrenaline and needed a soft number to cool audience nerves. The exhibitors relented and the rest was history. Written by Javed Akhtar and brilliantly composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, So Gaya Yeh Jahan went on to become one the most hummable songs in the decades the followed. Nitin Mukesh, Shabbir Kumar, and Alka Yagnik lent their voices to the track which is still as popular now as it was back then.
3. A last minute addition
There was a scene in the film where Anil Kapoor is seen standing on top of a moving train. The advance for the film opened on Monday, 7 November. Anil Kapoor’s scene was not there in the first cut. The scene was canned on a railway track near one of the halls where the advance booking had already opened. When the people who queued up for the tickets heard that Anil was shooting a dramatic scene for the same film, they ran towards the tracks to catch a glimpse of the actor. The production unit had a tough time to control the crowd. The scene was shot, edited, and manually added to the final cut with plastic tape, as editing was done in those days. The prints reached the exhibitors in the late night and early morning of 10-11 November.