|Kumar makes his first appearance as a lead actor against Raakhee and Shantipriya in Saugandh . In the same year, he played in Dancer directed by Kishore Vyas, who received bad reviews. The following year, he starred in the thriller thriller directed by Abbas Mustan, Khiladi, widely regarded as his breakthrough role.
His next release was the crime film directed by Raj Sippy, directed by James Bond. His last outing of 1992 was Deedar. He failed to perform well at the box office. In 1993, he starred in the bilingual film Ashaant, directed by Keshu Ramsay and starring Dr. Vishnuvardhan, Ashwini Bhave and Ashutosh Rana. All his films, released in 1993, including Dil Ki Baazi, Kayda Kanoon, Waqt Hamara Hai and Sainik, did not perform well commercially.
In 1994, he played a police detective in two films: the remake directed by Sameer Malkan of the Hollywood movie The Hard Way, the main Khiladi Tu Anari and Mohra directed by Rajiv Rai, which were among the most profitable films of the year .
Later that year, he played in Yeh Dillagi, a romance produced by Yash Chopra, opposite Kajol. His role in the film earned Kumar his first nomination for Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards and at the Star Screen Award. In the same year, Kumar was also successful with films like Suhaag and the low-budget action film Elaan. All these achievements, promoted Kumar as one of the most successful actors of the year. In 1994, he appeared in 11 feature films.
The following year, Kumar played a dual role in the commercially successful Umesh Mehra action thriller, Sabse Bada Khiladi. He was successful with the Khiladi series, as the following year he starred in the fourth film in the Khiladi series, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi opposite Rekha and Raveena Tandon. The film was a commercial success. During the filming, Kumar was injured. He received treatment in the United States.
Kumar played a supporting role in Dil To Pagal Hai , a love film directed by Yash Chopra, with Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor, for which he received his first nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Award.