In 1996, he made his second film in a big way with Raja Hindustani, starring Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor. The movie was the biggest hit of that year as well as one of the biggest blockbusters of the 90s and is also the 4th biggest box office hit of 100 years of Indian cinema as of 2012. It was also much appreciated as Darshan won the Filmfare Best Movie Award and several awards at the Star Screen Awards ceremony.
He took a break of four years after the success of Raja Hindustani. He returned in 2000 with two releases, which were directed and written by himself. His first film Mela starring again Aamir Khan with brother Faisal Khan was average at the box office overall but was one of the biggest success in the hinterlands of India. However, his second release Dhadkan with Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty did tremendously well at the box office and won him acclaim & cult status as one of the finest romantic directors. It was also critically highly acclaimed and he was nominated for Dhadkan in different award ceremonies in the Best Director, Best Film and the Best Story categories, apart from resurrecting the flagging career and image of Akshay Kumar as he had done with Aamir Khan & Karisma Kapoor.