August 23, 2002 
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Sohail or Salman?
You can be forgiven for mistaking the actors in Maine Dil Tujhko Diya

Sukanya Verma

Contrived is the word that best describes Maine Dil Tujhko Diya. A poor orphan, a rich daddy's girl, villains, hired goons, tons of action and music all bundled together makes for this Friday's fare.

Maine Dil Tujhko Diya is about overgrown college kids who pretend to study at the City College. Here, Ayesha (Sameera Reddy), the shy and stunning daughter of business tycoon Verma ( Kabir Bedi), is introduced to college heroes The Aryans, led by stud Ajay (Sohail Khan). Ayesha's doe eyes and unassuming disposition immediately finds favour with Ajay and his band of brothers.

For Ajay and Ayesha, a romantic duet at a college function which extends to a dream rendezvous in exotic Egypt and a rugby match in Goa are enough to swear by each other. Speaking of the rugby match, check out Ajay's aerial somersaults, a la Neo of The Matrix, and Ayesha's Trinity (also of The Matrix) act.

Verma is very unhappy at this union. Taking advantage, Verma's associate Chopra (Dalip Tahil) suggests his own son as a suitable guy for Ayesha. Chopra brainwashes Verma against Ajay and appoints the dangerous hit man Bhaijaan (Sanjay Dutt) and Co (Rajpal Yadav, Sarfaraz Khan) to badger Ajay. The outcome is a gory bloodbath between good and evil.

The excruciatingly lengthy and tedious climax is infused with mindless nonstop violence --- editor Yusuf Khan seems to have an agenda of his own here. Also, trite lines like Pyaar apna raasta khud dhoond leta hai (Love will find its own way), and Main ek sachcha aashiq hoon (I am a true lover) make you cringe. Sameera Reddy and Sohail Khan in Maine Dil Tujhko Diya

Since there is nothing worthwhile happening contentwise, one resorts to other factors like music, location and choreography (Raju Khan, Farah Khan, Ganesh Hegde). Composer Daboo Malik's Thoda sa pyar hua hai and Maine dil tujhko diya are melodious. Kabir Lal's (Pardes, Taal, Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai) splendid cinematography stands out in this otherwise shabby flick.

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Filmmaker Sohail Khan debuts as an actor with this film. He fails on both counts --- direction and acting. One cannot help but compare him to elder brother Salman Khan --- the walk, talk, smile, gestures, are all the same.

This film is a case of juggling too many things at the same time. The director in Khan borrows generously from his earlier Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya. The college scenario, canteens, eve-teasing, cliched college rivalry, are the focal points of Maine Dil Tujhko Diya. A still from Maine Dil Tujhko Diya

Debutante Sameera Reddy has a charming screen presence. She shows potential, though Maine Dil Tujhko Diya does not qualify as the ideal launch. Also, Reddy and Khan have zero onscreen chemistry.

Sanjay Dutt is simply wasted in Maine Dil Tujhko Diya. He proves an unnecessary twist in this story.

It is disappointing to see young directors like Sohail Khan or Kunal Kohli (Mujhse Dosti Karoge) resort to age-old formulae instead of breaking new ground and dabbling with new, imaginative ideas.

The film raises two questions: one, why would anyone want to make such a film? Second, who would want to watch such a film?

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