Dil Chahta Hai is about three distinct characters, Akash (Aamir Khan), Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) and Siddharth (Akshaye Khanna), their individual relationships and the effect that these relationships have on them.
Akash is fun-loving, non-believer in love. Sameer is always "ready" for love-but does not know its true meaning. Siddharth is the more serious of the trio. He is sensitive, understanding, caring ... in short the perfect man for any girl. He falls in love with a middle-aged, slightly alcoholic divorcée Tara Jaiswal.
Akash cannot understand this relationship and when he insults Siddharth's true love, Siddharth slaps him. This causes a rift between both and they go their separate ways. Subsequently Akash too realizes the meaning of true love when the vivacious, bubbly Shalini comes in his life. Same happens with Sameer when he meets Pooja. So finally we get to see how these boys become men.