Juhi Chawla turned 56 on Monday. In a 2014 interview with Rediff, Juhi said she is ‘amazed to see most of her contemporaries are still around’. The actor also recalled her ‘foolish decisions’, adding she rejected Raja Hindustani, which went on to ‘become a blockbuster’. The Aamir Khan-starrer featured Karisma Kapoor opposite him. Juhi further said she was responsible for Karisma’s stardom. Also read: When Juhi Chawla sang Kal Ho Naa Ho song and left Karan Johar, Sushmita Sen in awe
Juhi on rejecting Raja Hindustani
When asked if she had regrets about not working with Madhuri Dixit in a project before their 2014 film Gulaab Gang, Juhi had said, “The only time I got a chance to work with her (Madhuri Dixit) was in Dil Toh Pagal Hai. Back then I didn’t want to play the second lead to Madhuri. At that time I was a little bubble-headed (laughs). You make foolish decisions. I rejected Raja Hindustani and Judaai (1997 film starring Sridevi in lead role) also. All these films went on to become blockbusters. I am responsible for Karisma Kapoor’s stardom (Raja Hindustani was a pivotal role in her career).”
On rivalry with Madhuri, Karisma, Raveena
In the same interview, Juhi was asked about calling Madhuri her rival in the 1990s and what their equation was like back then. Juhi had then said, “Not only Madhuri, but Karisma (Kapoor), Manisha (Koirala), Raveena (Tandon) – we were all rivals. The rivalry remained for some years. We used to meet only on occasions like some film sets or functions. We would just exchange pleasantries and wouldn’t talk beyond that. We all worked in solo heroine films. Very rarely have I done films with two heroines. There were constant comparisons.”
About Raja Hindustani
Dharmesh Darshan’s Raja Hindustani hit theatres in 1996 and went on to do very well at the box office. What worked for the movie was the chemistry of the lead pair, Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor; their on-screen kiss became one of the talking points of the film. Raja Hindustani songs such as Poocho Zara Poocho, Aaye Ho Meri Zindagi Mein, Pardesi Pardesi and Tere Ishq Mein Nachenge sung by Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, among others, remain popular.
Juhi Chawla had reportedly turned down the lead role in Raja Hindustani after she was compared to Madhuri Dixit by filmmaker Dharmesh Darshan. In a recent interview with Lehren Retro, Dharmesh offered more insight about what had happened at the time.
He said that he tried convincing Juhi for the film by saying that Raja Hindustani is a different beast, something in the vein of a Hum Aapke Hai Koun. At this point, Dharmesh said, “She (Juhi) turned to me and said, ‘But you’re not Sooraj Barjatya (Hum Aapke Hai Koun director).’ Something came on to me, I have a big ego, and I said, ‘You’re not Madhuri Dixit.’ On that little thing, she said no to the film.”