Raja Hindustani (Aamir Khan) is a young man who works as a taxi-driver/tourist guide. He lives by his own simple code and is prone to violence when that code is violated. Aarti Sehgal (Karisma Kapoor) is a wealthy debutante who is seeking to connect with her past. Standing in the way of their love are a disapproving father and a stepmother bent on obtaining total control of the family assets.
Mr. Sehgal (Suresh Oberoi) lives with his daughter, Aarti, and her stepmother Shalini (Archana Puran Singh) in a grand palatial home. Aarti decides to go for a vacation to a small hill station town named Palankhet to discover the memories of her deceased mother. Upon arrival, she finds out she has no transportation from the airport to Palankhet, and so she hires the services of the only available driver, Raja Hindustani.
During her stay in Palankhet, Aarti and Raja bond and ultimately fall in love. One day, to Aarti's surprise, her father arrives in Palankhet and intends to take her home with him. Aarthi tells her father about Raja, but Mr Sehgal says that he will only accept the marriage on the condition that Raja goes to Mumbai and learns to become a respectable member of society. Raja refuses and forces Aarti to make a decision. Aarti chooses Raja but begs for her father's blessings. Her father refuses to offer his blessings and leaves for Mumbai.
After some time, Mr. Sehgal forgives his daughter and visits her in Palankhet. While there, he gives his daughter and son-in-law a new house. Raja refuses to live in the house because he does not see it as a gift, but rather as charity, since he is poor and Mr. Sehgal is rich. Shalini, her brother, Swaraj (Pramod Moutho), and her nephew Jai (Mohnish Behl) seek to exploit this conflict to gain total control of Mr. Sehgal's assets. Under the pretext of a birthday party, they bring Raja and Aarti to Mumbai and set in motion events that cause Aarti and Raja separate.
Aarti realises that she is pregnant but, due to health problems, the doctor advises her not to travel. Instead her stepmother is asked to go to Palankhet to inform Raja about his baby and to request him to come to Mumbai. However, Aarti's stepmother tells Raja that Aarti wants to divorce him. Raja refuses. After some time, Raja learns that Aarti has a had baby and is under the impression that she intends to keep him from the child. Fearing that he will never be allowed to see his baby, he decides to kidnap the child. Distraught, Aarthi goes to see Raja and begs him to let her have their child back. Ultimately, the lies and deception of Aarthi's stepmother are revealed, and Aarthi and Raja reunite.Aamir Khan as Raja HindustaniKarisma Kapoor as Aarti SehgalSuresh Oberoi as Mr. Sehgal (Aarti's father)Archana Puran Singh as Shalini Sehgal / Shalu (Aarti's stepmother)Tiku Talsania as Chacha (Raja's uncle)Farida Jalal as Chachi (Raja's aunt)Pramod Moutho as Swaraj (Shalu's brother)Mohnish Behl as Jai (as Shalu's nephew)Johnny Lever as Balvant SinghNavneet Nishan as Kamal Singh / KammoVeeru Krishnan as Gulab SinghKunal Khemu as Rajnikant (as Master Kunal Khemu)Razak Khan as taxi driverKalpana Iyer as guest appearance in the song "Pardesi Pardesi"Pratibha Sinha as guest appearance in the song "Pardesi Pardesi"
Juhi Chawla was first offered the lead actress role but she refused. Palankhet was a fictional location created for the film, and is a portmanteau of two real hill stations' names: Palampur and Ranikhet.
Film critic Anupama Chopra while reviewing Raja Hindustani for India Today wrote, "the film is disappointingly dated but Darshan scores with his music-catchy Pardesi, pardesi ��� and with his leading lady, Karisma." She went on to praise Kapoor's performance saying, "Karisma looks stunning and acts surprisingly well. She is the lifeblood of this otherwise banal film."
Although Raja Hindustani earned ���871.5 million worldwide, after adjusting inflation its worldwide gross reaches ���3.79 billion, making it the third highest grossing Hindi film of the 1990s. Box Office India declared it an "All time blockbuster".
The soundtrack was composed by Nadeem-Shravan. Planet Bollywood ranks the film's soundtrack at 56 in its all-time top 100 greatest Bollywood soundtracks.
It consisted of tracks like "Kitna Pyara Tujhe Rab Ne" (which is translated from the Punjabi song "Kinna Sohna Tenu Rab Ne Banaya" by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan), "Aaye Ho Meri Zindagi Mein" which had become an immensely popular wedding song, and Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik's "Pardesi Pardesi" which was a major chartbuster at the time and which also led to the film's success. The album became the best selling Bollywood soundtrack of the year by a wide margin.
Aniket Joshi of Planet Bollywood gave the album a rating of 9.5 out of 10 stating, "Raja Hindustani is a must for lovers of good ever lasting melody." The soundtrack album sold 11 million copies and is one of the best-selling Bollywood soundtrack albums of all time. It was the third best selling album of the 1990s after Aashiqui and Dil To Pagal Hai.
Alka Yagnik considers "Poochho Zara Poocho" as one of the best songs she ever rendered. The song has been copied by many a composers since. Anand Milind lifted the tune in 'tumse dil lagane ki sazaa hai' part of the song and used it in "Mausam Ki Tarah Tum Bhi Badal To Na Jaaoge" song from Jaanwar (1999). Both songs were picturised on Karisma Kapoor and had common singer and lyricist: Alka Yagnik and Sameer. The director of the later movie is Suneel Darshan who is elder sibling to Dharmesh Darshan.
Again the same portion of the song was copied by Himesh Reshammiya in the 'Tujhe apna dil dene ka hai mazaa' part of the song "Pyaar Kar" from the movie Humraaz (2002).