Aamir Khan's worst film ended heroine's career, side hero fought mental illness, director said Aamir wanted sleaze in it

The worst film of Aamir Khan's career earned only Rs 25 crore, ended the female lead's career and led to a public fight with the director

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Aamir Khan in Mela

Over a career that has stretched 36 years, Aamir Khan has earned the tag of ‘Mr Perfectionist’. That is due to his habit of going the extra mile to get that perfect take, bring that perfect script, and give audiences the best possible film. Needless to say, this attitude has earned him an enviable filmography with more good films than bad ones. But despite this, there are a few duds in his filmography, with the worst of them rated among the worst Bollywood films ever made.

Aamir Khan’s worst film

Mela, directed by Dharmesh Darshan, was released in 2000. The film starred Aamir with his brother Faisal Khan for the first time, with Twinkle Khanna as the female lead. Influenced and inspired by the 1971 hit Caravan, the film was an action drama. But it was critically panned, receiving moderate or bad reviews. On Internet Movie Database (IMDb), it is the lowest-rated film of Aamir’s career with a 3.7 rating. Commercially too, Mela was a disappointment, earning just Rs 25 crore worldwide. In comparison, his two contemporaries fared much better the same year. Salman’s Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega earned Rs 37 crore while Shah Rukh broke the bank with Mohabbatein’s Rs 90-crore haul.

How Mela’s failure affected Twinkle Khanna and Dharmesh Darshan

Twinkle Khanna had a fledgling career at that time, having done films like Barsaat and Badshah, which were hits. But Twinkle has since said that her head was not in the game. She did enjoy being an actress as much. Mela’ box office failure and the critics’ criticism of her performance was one of the final straws for her. She finished her pending films and by 2001, quit Bollywood altogether at the age of 27. Dharmesh Darshan, the film’s director, did not take the failure too well either. There had been reports of his alleged tiff with Aamir. After the film’s release, he alleged that the actor had pushed for a sleazy scene in the film which he had objected to. The director also claimed that his first choice for the female lead – Kajol – did not sign up for the film as she did not want to work with Aamir.

Mela’s Faisal Khan and his mental health struggles

Faisal Khan, Aamir’s brother, saw Mela as his vehicle to stardom. Had the commercial film worked, it could have done wonders for his career. But the failure meant offers were few and far in between for the actor. He did a few films after this, none of which found success. In 2007, he alleged that his brother Aamir kept him confined in his house. Aamir responded by saying Faisal had mental health issues and he had been confined for his own safety. The two brothers had a bitter falling out on this. Court eventually granted Faisal’s custody to his father Tahir. The actor has continued to work in films and in 2021, made his directorial debut with Faactory. The two reconciled in June 2023.

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