When Karisma Kapoor did “Pucho Zara Pucho” in Raja Hindustani, there was something new in her aarti. No, it was not like she was romancing or singing on screen for the first time. This is how she played the role – in straight hair, solid colored saris and a personality with confidence and elegance.
Raja Hindustani released in 1996, when Juhi Chawla ruled the charts. The plan was to capture her sizzling chemistry with Aamir Khan. But Juhi turned down the role. In his own words, this was due to his “silly attitude”. She was at the top and had every right to choose the best, but letting Raja Hindustani go was something unexpected. The film was later offered to Pooja Bhatt and Aishwarya Rai as well.
In Bollywood, one actor’s loss is another actor’s gain. Raja Hindustani fell in Karishma Kapoor’s lap which eventually changed the course of her career.
Karisma, who made her acting debut with Prem Qaidi (1991), gave films like Sapne Saajan Ke, Anari, Dhanwan, Khuddar, Andaz Apna Apna, Gopi Kishan and Coolie No. 1 in five years. She was in glam-doll roles in almost all the projects. In fact, in 1996, his other films like Saajan Chale Sasural, Jeet, Bal Brahmachari and Rakshak were released. Miracle Was part of a handful of hits, still trying to establish her feet beyond hit films and songs with Suniel Shetty and Govinda.
Raja Hindustani was inspired by the 1965 film Jab Jab Phool Khile, which starred Shashi Kapoor and Nanda. In it, Aamir played the role of a taxi driver who falls in love with a town girl when she moves to his small town. The two get married, only to realize the challenges that face their class divisions in life.
Karisma had till then either played the role of a damsel in distress, a village belle or a “sexy sexy” dancing diva. Aarti was more serious and sensitive.
And not just her acting skills changed the game for Karishma, it was her remarkable make-over. This was her first collaboration with the celebrated designer Manish Malhotra, which was also debuting. His thoughts about changing Karishma’s looks were considered risky.
“Karisma was initially worried about giving up the trademark Kapoor family blue eyes for Hazel Contacts, but I told her that her character needed warmth. Her look in Raja Hindustani finally became iconic.” Manish Malhotra told HT
Many people remember Raja Hindustani for the longest kissing scene in Indian cinema. But Karishma said that it was not easy for different reasons. Talking to Rajeev Masand, he said, “We have gone through grueling circumstances. People say ‘oh, that kiss’ and all, but what have we been through with that shoot for three days… in Ooty, in February… we were like, kab khatam ho raha hai Kissing scene (when is this kissing scene ending) )! It was freezing cold due to the fan of the storm and freezing cold water. We have worked in those conditions from 7 to 6 in the evening, trembling in between. So that was a different era working in that kind of conditions, I guess. ,
Raja Hindustani also starred Archana Puran Singh, Suresh Oberoi, Johnny Lever, Navneet Nishan, Farida Jalal, Mohnish Behl and Kunal Khemu as child actors.
After 25 years, Karisma Kapoor’s filmography has projects that showed her versatility and acting skills.