About the story: Parentless Ajay (Sohail Khan) is the leader of the "Aryans" who take care of law and order at their college. Ayesha Varma (Sameera Reddy), new entrant at the college, falls in love with Ajay and by and by even wins his heart over. But Ayesha’s father, wealthy Mr Varma (Kabir Bedi), doesn’t approve this love as Ajay at their first unfortunate encounter had made a bad impression on him and he now suspects him to woo his daughter just because of her fortune. Varma’s business partner Chopra (Dalip Tahil) also dislikes Ajay as he sees his plans endangered to get his own son Raman (Aashif Sheikh) married to Ayesha and thus to get the Varma imperium in his hands. So Chopra hires Munna (Rajpal Yadav) and Chotte (Sarfaraz Khan), two goons in the service of underworld don Bhai-Jaan (Sanjay Dutt), to put Ajay away – a job Munna and Chotte willingly accept as Ajay in the past often has put paid to their drug deals in college. And as if all this wouldn’t be enough, Ajay unintendedly gets another enemy who wants to eliminate him personally: Bhai-Jaan himself...
Maine Dil Tujhko Diya was Sohail Khan’s first film as producer, director and leading actor in one. So the story is tailor-made for him: a young hero who surely has his own idiosyncrasies but always puts himself out for the right, sometimes has to suffer for it and finally fights with all means for the love of his life. Sohail does surprisingly well even though he unfortunately shares his more famous brother Salman’s passion for physical exaggerations. In the second half of the film it’s a bit difficult to stay on his side as he becomes rather unlikeable in his behaviour aganist Kabir Bedi who acts with his usual impressing aplomb (and, I must admit it, rarely looked more attractive than here). But on the other hand it’s excatly this fact that Ajay is not just the flawlessly positive super hero, which keeps the tension between him, Varma and Bhai-Jaan intact till the end.
Even if you can give this film good marks on the whole, there are several points you have to fine. So as a whole, the film is too much extended and sometimes too didactic, e.g. when Ajay sermonizes to his muslim friend with literally risen forefinger, "You only stop drinking when the muezzin calls for the prayer? But God sees you always, even when you’re not praying, so quit boozing for good." Some details of the story are not understandable, e.g. why does Ayesha’s younger sister keep crucial evidence material for herself? Even though she presents it in the end, it’s at a time where normally everything would have been too late and some people would have walked right into a trap before. A definite bad point is ineffable Bobby Darling against whom Johny Lever even in his worst comic reliefs is an aspirant for a Best Actor award. And Sameera Reddy in her first film is okay, but not more.
An absolute upgrading Maine Dil Tujhko Diya gets, however, by the two highly charismatic actors Kabir Bedi and Sanjay Dutt. As an old friend of Salman Khan and his family, Sanjay played in Sohail’s debut film (as producer, director and leading actor) the small but crucial role of Bhai-Jaan and made it a piece of finest and mature acting skills. Solely to see him, this film is always worth a watch. By the way, obviously Sanjay didn’t take any fees for his friendly turn; before the end credits start, Salim Khan, his sons Salman, Arbaaz and Sohail and Bunty Walia thank him with the words, "Our heartfelt gratitude to Sanju for his generosity of heart and soul..."
Produced by Bunty Walia, Sohail Khan; Directed by Sohail Khan
165 Min.; DVD: Spark, English Subtitles (including songs)