Prior to this year’s Laal Singh Chaddha, actor Aamir Khan’s biggest flop was widely considered to be the 2000 film Mela, co-starring Faisal Khan and Twinkle Khanna. In recent years, both Aamir and Twinkle have joked publicly about the film’s quality. In a 2016 interview, the film’s director Dharmesh Darshan said that the film was ‘diluted’ by Aamir Khan’s inputs. The actor, he said, wanted him to do the film ‘for Faisal’.
In retrospect, Dharmesh Darshan told Bollywood Hungama, he should have put his foot down more often. “I wasn’t in awe,” he said, “We are the same age, but in Raja Hindustani he had supported me so much.” After Mela bombed and was trashed by reviews, he directed his next film Dhadkan with an iron fist.
“I was very strict in Raja Hindustani,” he said, “but I became very soft in Mela.” He continued, “It got diluted. It also had a major casting issue. Don’t forget, besides Aamir, everybody was on a low. Every time I can’t meet a challenge, I’m not a magician. But despite everything, I think Faisal did very well. If you see his growth, from Madhosh to Mela, you’ll see the difference. Faisal did very well. In some scenes, he’s better than Aamir. He’s giving a very real performance.”
He agreed that Mela isn’t a hit, but said that it was extremely popular in the Hindi heartland. But unfortunately, the actors began playing into the ‘myth’ that it was a disaster. He said that he was surprised when Twinkle began mocking the film publicly, because she’d never said anything to him in the years that they remained in touch after the film. “I stand by Mela,” he said.
Aamir was last seen in Laal Singh Chaddha, which managed to make just around Rs 60 crore in India. Before that, he starred another box office bomb, Thugs of Hindostan. His last hit, Dangal, was also his biggest. Dharmesh Darshan’s last film as director was Aap Ki Khatir, starring Priyanka Chopra and Akshaye Khanna.