Raja Hindustani, starring Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor, emerged as the biggest hit of 1996 thanks to terrific word of mouth. The film collected a huge Rs. 43.15 crore at the domestic box office. If adjusted for inflation, the collections amount to nearly Rs. 394 crore! This proves how much the film was loved. The film is fondly remembered today for its engaging narrative, fine performances by Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor and of course the unforgettable music score by Nadeem-Shravan. However, many might not be aware of the controversy that had erupted around 4 months after the release of the film, in 1997, that is, exactly 25 years from now.Throwback: Dharmesh Darshan had sued Raja Hindustani producers when they dubbed the Aamir Khan-starrer in Telugu; the director almost got sued for Rs. 1 crore for ‘plagiarising’ Jab Jab Phool Khile
Trade analyst Komal Nahta on his entertainment website Film Information recently enlightened viewers about this controversy. Dharmesh Darshan, director of Raja Hindustani, had moved the Bombay High Court against producers Karim Morani, Bunty Soorma and Aly Morani of Cineyug Films Pvt. Ltd. Dharmesh Darshan claimed sole and absolute ownership of the copyrights in the story of Raja Hindustani. He further claimed that the romantic drama was his original artistic work and that the producers only had the right to make the film in Hindi.
This was the time when the producers had dubbed the film in Telugu. Hence, Dharmesh Darshan objected to this development. He also claimed that there was an understanding between him and the producers that the film would be produced in Hindi only.
However, the court dismissed this notion as there was no written agreement to this effect between Dharmesh Darshan and Karim Morani, Bunty Soorma and Aly Morani. Also, the court reminded that as per a provision of the Copyright Act, the producers had the right to dub the film in another language.
This was not the only blow suffered by Dharmesh Darshan. At around the same time, Brij Katyal, the writer of the 1965 super-hit film, Jab Jab Phool Khile, alleged that Dharmesh Darshan plagiarized the script of his film in Raja Hindustani. Brij Katyal, as per Film Information, planned to sue Dharmesh Darshan for Rs. 1 crore. However, the writer changed his mind after Dharmesh’s filmmaker father, Darshan Sabarwal, intervened.
Raja Hindustani was the story of a rich girl who falls in love with a taxi driver in a faraway hill station. Jab Jab Phool Khile, meanwhile, was the story of a girl from a wealthy family falling for a boatman in Kashmir. The 1965 film starred Shashi Kapoor and Nanda. Interestingly, the name of Shashi Kapoor’s character, just like Aamir’s character, was named Raja.
More Pages: Raja Hindustani Box Office Collection
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