Top 10 Highest Grossers of 1996 That Turn 25 in 2021

Top 10 Highest Grossers of 1996 That Turn 25 in 2021 View All Articles

Posted On: 22 Feb 2021 | Last Updated: 12 Oct 2021

The year 1996 is often recalled as post - 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', where people were still going gaga over Raj and Simran and filmmakers, were scheduling shoots in Switzerland and other foreign locations. The budgets went up a notch higher with the Khan’s yet again regaining their supremacy at the box-office and not far behind were Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Sunny Deol, and Govinda. Amitabh Bachchan continued his big break from films while action-romantic films continued their dominance at the box office. Among actresses, it was Karisma Kapoor who had 10 releases that year followed by Raveena Tandon, Manisha Koirala, Tabu, etc. The year saw some new faces like Sushmita Sen, Arshad Warsi, Rani Mukerji, Arbaaz Khan, etc. making their acting debuts. Cable and satellite TV were at their peak with more and more new channels getting launched. The success rate of films got a boost while stars started getting paid more than a crore per film. So, how was the year 1996 like at the box office? Let’s, take a look at the top 10 highest grossers of 1996.

1. Raja Hindustani (15 November) - Budget 5.75 Cr, India 43.15 Cr, Worldwide 76.34 Cr

Aamir Khan – Karisma Kapoor starrer Raja Hindustani was the highest grosser at the box-office in 1996. The romantic musical comedy-drama which ended up as the winner in the list of top 10 highest box office collection movies in 1996, took some time to release and was set to clash with Sunny Deol starrer Ghatak on the 8 November which was a Diwali release. But the makers decided to postpone it by a week and so it arrived on the 15 November. Written and directed by Dharmesh Darshan, the film had superhit music by Nadeem – Shravan who was making a comeback of sorts. The film that year swept most of the 42nd Filmfare Awards in the popular category including – Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Playback Singer (Male), and Best Music.

Raja Hindustani

2. Agni Sakshi (15 March) - Budget 4.75 Cr, India 19.52 Cr, Worldwide 27.61 Cr

Agni Sakshi starring Jackie Shroff, Nana Patekar and Manisha Koirala in the lead was heavily inspired by Julia Roberts starrer Sleeping With The Enemy, which went to become the second-highest Bollywood grosser of 1996. Directed by Partho Ghosh, this romantic, musical, suspense drama was a hit from day one while Nana Patekar’s character remained the highlight of the film. Nadeem – Shravan’s tunes too appealed to the audiences’ while Nana Patekar won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film in 1997.

Agni Sakshi

3. Jeet (23 August) - Budget 7.25 Cr, India 16.13 Cr, Worldwide 23.57 Cr

Raj Kanwar’s Jeet was an action-packed romantic drama that ranked among the top 10 successful movies of 1996. Starring Sunny Deol, Salman Khan, and Karisma Kapoor, the film reportedly had a similar storyline to that of Amitabh Bachchan’s 1978 starrer Muqaddar Ka Sikandar. Despite similarities, Jeet went on to do very good business at the box-office and ended up becoming the third highest grosser of that year. Nadeem – Shravan’s tunes yet again hit the right chords while Sunny Deol’s dancing style became the talk of the nation. Sajid Nadiadwala announced his arrival as a big-time producer after the mediocre display of Andolan at the box-office in 1995.


4. Ghatak (8 November) - Budget 6.25 Cr, India 15.24 Cr, Worldwide 21.70 Cr

Ghatak’s release completed a hattrick of success for the combination of Rajkumar Santoshi and Sunny Deol at the box-office, the earlier two being Ghayal in 1990 and Damini in 1993. Rajkumar Santoshi’s maiden production venture Ghatak took a while to reach the finishing line as initially it was planned with Kamal Haasan but later Sunny was roped in. The action-packed drama was that year’s Diwali release with hard-hitting dialogues and towering performances by Sunny Deol and Amrish Puri. Ghatak remains one of Sunny’s best performances to date.


5. Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (14 June) - Budget 6.75 Cr, India 14.39 Cr, Worldwide 20.73 Cr

Akshay Kumar’s Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi was his fourth release in the ‘Khiladi’ series which was yet again an action-packed drama also starring Rekha and Raveena Tandon. Directed by Umesh Mehra and produced by Keshu, KKK had some real-time WWF wrestlers who fought Akshay on the screen which was the highlight of the film. Music by Anu Malik too was a hit while the seductive number picturized on Akshay and Rekha caught the fancy of many as it was too hot to handle those days. To sum it up, the film was an Akshay Kumar show all the way.

Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi

6. Bandit Queen (26 January) - Budget 3.25 Cr, India 14.09 Cr, Worldwide 20.67 Cr

Bandit Queen was a biopic based on the life of female bandit Phoolan Devi which was adapted from Mala Sen’s book India's Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi. The film was directed by Shekhar Kapur while Seema Biswas played the title character and also had Manoj Bajpayee, Saurabh Shukla and Nirmal Pandey in prominent roles. Though the movie had to release earlier but due to censor issues and a few cuts released in 1996. Music was composed by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan while Shekhar Kapur walked away with that year’s Filmfare Award for Best Director.

Bandit Queen

7. Saajan Chale Sasural (12 April) - Budget 4.25 Cr, India 13.82 Cr, Worldwide 19.47 Cr

The combination of Govinda, Karisma Kapoor and David Dhawan was back in action with this romantic comedy-drama which also starred Tabu, Kader Khan and Satish Kaushik. A remake of the Telugu hit movie Allari Mogudu, Saajan Chale Sasural had some lilting tunes by Nadeem – Shravan but it was a Govinda show all the way making him one of the top stars of the 90s. The film went on to become that year's seventh-highest grosser at the box-office while Satish Kaushik walked away with that year's Filmfare Award for Best Comedian.

Saajan Chale Sasural

8. Jaan (17 May) - Budget 4.75 Cr, India 9.91 Cr, Worldwide 17.20 Cr

Director Raj Kanwar’s romantic action drama which released before Jeet had Ajay Devgn, Twinkle Khanna, Rakhee, Vivek Mushran and Amrish Puri in the cast. Produced by Ashok Ghai, the film's storyline resembled that of Subhash Ghai’s Hero (1983) where the protagonist is hired to finish off the DGP’s daughter but instead falls in love with her. Though the film had nothing new to offer it still managed to pull the crowds in and making it a profitable proposition for the makers at the box-office. The title of Jaan was reportedly borrowed from a Bobby Deol – Karisma Kapoor starrer which was announced but never got made.


9. Ajay (20 December) – Budget 6 Cr, India 9.18 Cr, Worldwide 13.18 Cr

Sunny Deol starrer Ajay occupied ninth place in terms of highest Bollywood grosser of 1996. Released at the end of 1996, Ajay was an action romantic drama produced and directed by Suneel Darshan also starring Karisma Kapoor, Reena Roy, Suresh Oberoi and Kiran Kumar. Though the film was a routine run-of-the-mill revenge drama, it ran because of Sunny Deol’s star power at the box-office who was enjoying a purple patch in his career then. The music by Anand – Milind was also good enough to keep the audiences glued to their seats.


10. Diljale (27 September) – Budget 5.50 Cr, India 9.09 Cr, Worldwide 13.02 Cr

The combination of Ajay Devgn and director Harry Baweja was back with yet another romantic action drama after the much successful Dilwale in 1994. Diljale starred starring Ajay Devgn, Sonali Bendre, Madhoo, Amrish Puri, Parmeet Sethi and Gulshan Grover while Anu Malik composed the songs. Tagline as ‘Love Story of a Terrorist’, Diljale was a slow starter at the ticket windows but word of mouth helped it gain popularity as it went on to gain a ‘semi-hit’ status at the box-office. The film remains one of Ajay Devgn’s most memorable and talked about performances.