About the story: Suraj Singh (Suresh Oberoi) decides all of a sudden to quit his career as a dacoit alongside with Zalim Singh (Amrish Puri) after his wife Savitri (Gita Siddharth) has been killed during a brawl with Zalim. Together with his little son Raju he finds shelter at the catholic priest Father John’s (Raj Mehra) and starts a new and honest life. To protect Raju from Zalim, Suraj re-names his son Johny. Many years later, Johny (Sanjay Dutt) and Seema (Rati Agnihotri) fall in love. But Seema’s mother Meera (Tanuja) and her grandfather Colonel (Om Prakash), who also happens to be Suraj’s employer, have other plans for Seema who is to marry Amar, an NRI who soon is to return from London. Suraj, on the other hand, also disapproves of his son’s love as Seema as his master’s daughter belongs to a higher class. Seema’s and Johny’s fight for their love seems lost as Amar and his sister Sheela arrive and Johny is ready to submit to his father’s will. But Amar and Sheela are in reality Zalim Singh’s son Shakti (Monty) who has murdered the real Amar and Sheela, and his friend Julie (Jyoti Bakshi). More than that, they help Zalim to escape from prison where he was jailed after having been life sentenced. Now Zalim takes command in the Colonel’s household and defames Suraj as Savitri’s murderer, so that Johny now definitely gets into a conflict with his father...
The film story starts very promising and continues so quite a long time, but at the latest with Zalim’s escape from prison the story becomes crude and unclear, and this is certainly not due to the missing subs. I suspect the film to have been messed about with, the editing is very strange, and obviously some scenes are missing. I mean, I’m used to that in Hindi films bleeding wounds can heal and disappear completely from one scene to the next, but if, the other way round, Sanjay in one scene is acting with a flawless face which the next moment is beaten black and blue without even a hand having been visibly risen against him, then something must be wrong. Similarly confusing for me was, amidst the tension-loaded atmosphere in the Colonel’s house, a colourful wedding where Johny and Seema dance (correction: hop around) with obviously genuine joy though it’s just a bogus wedding and both of them certainly could not be genuinely happy in this critical situation.
Considering that this was just his third film and, moreover, he was on drugs at that time, Sanjay’s performance was quite good with some really good moments, especially with his film father Suresh Oberoi who acted with his usual aplomb. Astonishingly, in this film Sanjay had problems with his emotional scenes which appear to be overconscientious and artificial. Of course, this could have also been Rati Agnihotri’s fault who looks older than her film mother Tanuja, partly acts totally hyped up and then falls into a shrill screech so that she needn’t wonder when her partner sees no other way than to slap her. All the better, however, Sanjay’s fighting scenes and outbursts of fury do work (and there are several such scenes) and also the scene where he tames a wild mare in order to save its foal. As for his wardrobe (I remember with a shudder the white roll-neck and the red jacket with fur trimming) – I’m trying to forget it as well as Amrish’s silver-grey poodle-curly wig...
All in all, Johny I Love You certainly is no point of glory in Sanju’s early filmography. Even Aruna Irani’s seductive item number "Rang Rangeele" where she dances around a drug-muzzied Johny cannot change this. Apart from her and some very lovely interactions between Suresh and Sanju, this is no film you have to watch.
Produced by Tony; Directed by Rakesh Kumar
Ca. 140 Min.; VCD: Time, without subs