Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan revolves only and only around Salman Khan aka Bhaijaan who saves everyone everywhere all the time.
“Really? This is for a Salman Khan movie?” I wondered when I walked into an almost empty theatre showing “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan.” I had my phone ready to capture videos if the few people present started cheering or hooting, but there was no excitement. I don’t blame the audience at all. The film is all that the trailer promised- violence, action, an over-the-top hero, and most importantly, cringe.
Delhi-based Bhaijaan (Salman Khan) is the hero of the colony that he is trying to save from Mahaveer (Vijender Singh), an evil MLA. Bhaijaan, an orphan, adopted three other orphans- Luv (Siddharth Nigam), Ishq (Raghav Juyal), and Moh (Jassie Gill) who are dating Chahat (Vinali Bhatnagar), Sukoon (Shehnaz Gill), and Muskan (Palak Tiwari). Who is dating whom exactly? Don’t ask me. I kept getting confused. The brothers want Bhaijaan to get married so that they can get married too. But Bhaijaan, heartbroken by his ex-girlfriend, is not in love with anyone. Phir apne mohalle me Bhagyalakshmi aka Bhagya (Pooja Hegde) aayi! They fall in love, but her brother or Annayya, Bala (Venkatesh), an ahimsawadi, doesn’t like the violent Bhaijaan. Eventually, everyone is in danger. So, Bhaijaan fights the villains Mahaveer and Nageshwar (Jagapathi Babu) and saves everyone. No, I have not given any spoilers. You can’t give spoilers when there is no story. The screenplay is a patchwork of the scripts of Khan’s old movies and the numerous South Indian masala movies. The story is interrupted by loud, chaotic, and poorly sung songs every 20 minutes with choreography imitating aerobic exercises, hundreds of background dancers, and settings that resemble Indian fairylands.
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Along with a thoroughly unoriginal story is some really horrible acting. In one scene, Bhagya asks ‘her’ Jaan how he expresses anger. He keeps a straight face. Love? Straight face. Sadness? Straight face. It appropriately describes Khan’s acting. He even kills people with a straight face, there is not a single frown. Hegde’s demeanour reminds me of Alia Bhatt, but her character and acting are forgettable. She tries but is just not convincing. Vijender Singh is utterly bad at acting, he makes you pity the villain. There are many supporting actors, but not even one is good at acting. In Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, we see the late Satish Kaushik on screen for the last time. It is utterly saddening that the last character he played was Nadim Chacha, which had no significance. Almost all characters exist to glorify Bhaijaan. Have you heard of the ‘Sexy Lamp test’? It checks the relevance of a female character by analysing whether she can be replaced by a lamp. If yes, then her character isn’t really relevant. In this film, everyone besides Khan is a lamp. Nobody goes to work, and nobody has a back story. We also don’t know what Bhaijaan does for a living. We see him painting, sculpting, and fighting. In one scene, Bala asks him to stop working so hard, but what work did he do exactly?
One might say that people go to such movies for nothing but entertainment and action. These two ingredients of masala films are also lacking here. As usual, Khan beats up hundreds without breaking a sweat. In one scene, Bhaijaan kills a man with a dagger in his mouth and wipes the blood off his lips. He says twice that there is no benefit in becoming rowdy. But he also says that violent people need to defend non-violent people. He convinces everyone to become violent for good causes. But who decides what is moral or immoral? In a country where people routinely celebrate encounters, this message can have some really damaging repercussions. On the other hand, entertainment has been replaced with a truckload of cringe. When the film began, I was hopeful that it will be at least a little funny with dialogues that are just catchy enough. However, soon the film stopped being anything but cringe.
Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is lazily desperate to appease anyone and everyone. They clearly threw patriotism, religion, women empowerment, sensitive masculinity, cultural harmony, and family values just for the sake of it. Bhaijaan (a Muslim name) prays to Jesus and falls for Bhagya as they recite Bhagvad Gita together. All religions are appeased. The film also rides high on the South-Indian wave that Bollywood is exploiting lately, but in a tokenist way. When Bhaijaan confronts Nageshwar, he speaks in a caricaturish manner imitating the villain’s poor Hindi with dialogues such as “Hum switch off ho chuka hai” and “Tum itna dur kaisa gira?” Without knowing the meaning of Bhagya’s surname ‘Gundamaneni,’ he uses it to justify that he is a ‘gunda’. But hey! Being a Delhiite, he falls for a South-Indian woman and saves her family. So, the box of cultural harmony is ticked too. For patriotism, Bhaijaan says cliche dialogues that include Vande Mataram during family conversations and romantic moments.
Bhagya, a conservative restorer who restores antiques, is shown carrying an antique product only once. She is bold but constantly needs saving by Bhaijaan and his brothers. Every time they fight, she simply stands in the background. She is selfish too. When it is time for Bhaijaan v/s Annayya, she will side with the latter. Not to forget that Khan (57) is romancing Hegde (32) while Khan’s ex-co-star Bhumika Chawla (44) is playing his older sister-in-law. Also, Khan has been accused of harassing women numerous times, while rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, featuring in the song Lets Dance Chotu Motu, has written derogatory songs about women and has been earlier accused of domestic violence. “Where is the women’s empowerment?” you ask. In one dialogue, when Bhagya informs us that Bala is “women employment types” because he allows her to do whatever she likes. If you ‘grant’ freedom, then it isn’t exactly freedom. Next, to counter toxic masculinity, Khan cries thrice in the movie awkwardly. Our hero has a mental disorder too, the representation of which is again tokenist. They inform us that he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when he moves a car with one arm because its parking bugs him. It clearly shows that no mental health experts were consulted. In fact, this tokenism and cringe along with the bizarre plot underwhelmed me so much that I only realised that I’m watching the climax when I checked the time.
Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is so underwhelming that even the argument “What if it is illogical? At least it is entertaining” cannot save it. The film has assumed that the audience is so starved for entertainment that they will love Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan despite its negative IQ. It tries very hard to be like SRK‘s ‘Pathaan,’ trying to pay an ode to Salman Khan, but it has neither the style nor substance. As I see it, there are two ways in which you can approach the film. Either you say, “This is so bad it’s good,” and laugh away or say, “Nothing matters,” and watch it if you are a Salman Khan fan. Either way, there’s no winning and no entertainment.
Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is currently playing in theatres.