Khanna made her screen debut opposite Bobby Deol in Rajkumar Santoshi's romance Barsaat (1995). She was cast by Dharmendra and before the film's release Khanna signed for two more projects. It performed well at the box office and became the sixth-highest-grossing film of the year, and she received the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for her performance. The following year she played lead roles in Raj Kanwar's action film Jaan and Lawrence D'Souza's romance Dil Tera Diwana opposite Ajay Devgn and Saif Ali Khan respectively. Jaan was a box office hit and Dil Tera Deewana failed to do well. K. N. Vijiyan of the New Straits Times wrote that "Khanna does not look like a typical Hindi actress". While reviewing Dil Tera Diwana, Vijiyan wrote about Khanna: "Unlike her previous movies, she looks really good in all her scenes and she can act well. "