Maine Dil Tujhko Diya Hindi Movie Review
Among the other recent poor boy-rich girl films that flopped are Arjun Rampal-Diya Mirza-starrer Deewaanapan (2001) and Hrithik Roshan-Amisha Patel-starrer Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage this year.
Watching campus toughie Sohail go moony-eyed for fresher Sameera Reddy in the initial reels, one realises the film will go nowhere unless it suddenly comes up with a few tricks to liven the sappy proceedings.
Halfway through the mush, director Sohail Khan conjures up Sanjay Dutt as the gangster hired by the heroine's arrogant father (Kabir Bedi) and his friend (Dalip Tahil) to eliminate the hero.
Sanjay strides on to the screen with his usual panther-like agility. Unfortunately, his role is incoherently embedded into the plot and all that the actor does in his disappointingly sporadic appearances is pray and fight and more of the same.
This must be Sanjay's umpteenth appearance as a gangster and it makes one wonder what drives the actor into endorsing the very image that has threatened to permanently damage his life and career in real life.
The actor's obsession with the underworld on reel is disturbing when seen in context with his alleged taped conversation with mobster Chhota Shakeel in real life.
As a director, Sohail Khan did some delightful work in Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya where he had cast his two brothers Salman and Arbaaz as Kajol's good-hearted lover boy and over possessive brother respectively.
Maine Dil... is a bloodier, louder, more aggressive and far less engaging interpretation of the same theme.
Designed as a violent love story, it is too violent and not romantic enough. The fights seem inspired by Ram Gopal Varma's gangster films. And when the debutant hero is shown doing multiple somersaults, he just can't match the casual elan of his brother Salman.
As a dramatic actor, Sohail barely passes muster. Beyond the city-slick grin and grimace, his face registers only a couple of emotions. But he keeps pace in a couple of innovatively choreographed numbers.
Sohail's co-star Sameera Reddy desperately needs voice training. She utters the most dramatic lines like numbers out of a telephone directory. Efforts to appear diffident are booby-trapped when this supposedly inhibited heiress plays soccer and jives with the guys.
Kabir Bedi, as her dad, is given the thankless task of mouthing outrageously primitive lines like "Tumhare sanskar theek nahin hai" (You have poor values).
The strangest part of the film is the absence of women characters. Apart from the heroine and her cute sister, there are no female characters in the plot.
One of the film's weakest links is its music. Daboo Malik's tunes are a mishmash of composers Anu Malik and Nadeem-Shravan. The songs, shot in sandy stark locations invoking a feeling of parched passion, induce a massive exodus out of the theatres -- not a good sign at all.
Though the film's protagonist is named Ajay, the soundtrack invokes Islamic chants and images in his presence. And when the gangster Munna (Sanjay) raises his fist in a fight, one sees a Hindu sacred thread tied around his wrist.
Secularism survives. But the future of formula mainstream cinema seems far less secure.
The boy-meets-girl convention has clearly reached saturation point. Efforts to spruce it up with alien thrills like soccer on the beach and a character named Bobby, who hangs around with the campus guys and proudly declares "I'm gay and I'm happy", can hardly elevate the proceedings.
But that's more than can be said about the heterosexual protagonists. Sohail and Sameera wear perpetual frowns right through. Unlike Bobby, they are neither gay nor happy.
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