13th June 1997 – This was the day when war action drama Border hit the screens. On its release, the film was easily one of the biggest multi-starrers to have hit the screens. With seasoned superstars Sunny Deol and Jackie Shroff coming together, Suniel Shetty – who was one of the top stars of that time – joining forces, and surprise package Akshaye Khanna – for whom this was just his second release after a dud debut Himalayaputra – bringing on the youthful charm, this J.P. Dutta produced and directed film was one of the hottest of the year.
The film’s promo worked big time as well due to sentiments surrounding India-Pakistan enmity. Based on 1971 war, this one was designed as an epic affair no less. With a running duration of nearly three hours, Border was set to be a complete packaged entertainer that would have fiery dialogues, dramatic scenes and stylish action sequences with powerful performances thrown in.
No wonder, audiences were supremely charged about Border which was made at a budget of around 10 crores, a huge sum back then. This resulted in superb footfalls as well with the 1 crore milestone been breached on the opening day itself, a record that had been set by only two films before – Trimurti and Koyla, both featuring Shah Rukh Khan. Incidentally, Jackie Shroff was a part of Border as well as Trimurti. What made the record opening of Border even special was the fact that it went a little past the 1 crore mark with around 1.10 crores been collected.
However, unlike Trimurti, which turned out to be damp squib and flopped, and Koyla, which just about managed to sail through to emerge as an average affair, there was no stopping Border. The word of mouth spread like wildfire and the film continued to collect in the 1 crore range right through the first week. The real fun began from the second week onwards and while the 10 crores budget was surpassed inside two weeks, the film started taking a blockbuster shape as the lifetime number was four times that of its budget with a net haul of around 40 crores.
The film is remembered even till date, and one of the major contributing factors is Anu Malik and Javed Akhtar’s ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ which was sung brilliantly by Roop Kumar Rathod and Sonu Nigam. On a lighter note, a key dramatic sequence from the film, the one where Sunny Deol blasts Sudesh Beri for his leave request, is one of the key favorites amidst the meme world.