Movies are magical. It’s truly astounding how something that starts with an idea turns into a script and then transforms into a bunch of moving pictures that proceed to impact people on a deeply emotional level. Movies can be enjoyed with family and friends. And if that’s not a favorable option for someone, they can just go to that dark room with a bright wall and feel transported to different worlds and eras, along with a theater full of strangers. “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan” is not synonymous with any of that. It’s the kind of movie that you inflict on your haters. If you truly detest someone, tell them that Salman Khan’s latest is great, maybe even buy the ticket for them, and then sleep easy with the knowledge that that person has had the worst day of his life. If you think someone is backstabbing you, take them to watch this excuse of a film and see them own up to their mistakes within the first 20 minutes. If you hate yourself, go ahead and watch this abomination on your own.
In this section of the review, I usually talk about the plot of the movie. It’s an overstatement to say that “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan” has a plot. If you can call an assortment of disjointed scenes that have been stuck together with spit and glue of the proverbial kind, then yes, this “movie” has a plot. Now witness me try my best to explain it in a somewhat cohesive way. Okay, here we go. There’s a don called Mahavir. He wants a colony. So, I guess that’s Tasha Bhambra, Sparsh Khetarpal and Farhad Samji’s commentary on gentrification? Anyway, the colony’s leader is Bhaijaan, who doesn’t want to marry anyone because his relationship with someone called Bhagya didn’t work out.
Bhaijaan wants to take care of his three adopted brothers, Love, Ishq, and Moh. But because of Bhaijaan’s reluctance towards marriage, Love can’t marry Chahat, Moh can’t marry Muskaan, and Ishq can’t marry Sukoon. I swear, I’m not making this up. In an attempt to change Bhaijaan’s stance on marriage, the three brothers get someone, who is also called Bhagya, to date him. Bhagya falls in love with Bhaijaan for some reason. However, there’s some gangster called Nageshwar who is out to get Bhagya. Therefore, Bhaijaan and his brothers have to display their violent side to protect her. Bhagya is repulsed by this behavior because her brother, Balakrishna, hates violence. Now, Bhaijaan finds himself in a dilemma as he has to protect Bhagya and keep Nageshwar at bay without being violent. What about the whole gentrification subplot? To be honest, they forget all about it until the last few minutes of the “film.”
In this movie, the biggest thing that Farhad Samji chooses to address is the constant criticism of Salman Khan for acting opposite actresses who are 20 years younger than him. He brings in Bhagyashree, the actress, her son Abhimanyu, and her husband, Himalay. And all of them stand around and talk about “Maine Pyar Kiya,” the film. Why? Because Bhagyashree, the character, was Bhaijaan’s first love. Since they didn’t get together, Bhaijaan never married. So, Bhaijaan’s brothers try to get them back together so that they can marry their love interests.
By blurring the lines between the fictional and the real versions of Bhagyashree, Abhimanyu, and Himalay, it becomes unclear if the movie is an autobiography of Salman Khan (since he’s referred to as “Bhaijaan” in real life) or a story about a character called Bhaijaan. Then again, Salman Khan and Bhagyashree romanced each other in a film, not in real life. Does that make “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan” a stealth sequel to “Maine Pyar Kiya”? However, in that film, Salman was Prem, and Bhagyashree was Suman. So, that doesn’t track. What does track is Salman’s statement about how all of our criticisms don’t matter to him. He is not going to romance an actress who is in her 50s because they are married, and they have children who probably look up to him. Instead, he’ll continue to act opposite those who are in their 30s until the day he retires.
Now, once Samji is done talking about Salman Khan and his on-screen romantic partners, he chooses to assault everything related to Hyderabad. Why? Well, my best guess is that Samji and his team think that people are currently loving all Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam language films because they are coming out of the respective entertainment industries. They are probably under the impression that quality has nothing to do with it. And they think that just referring to things from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala is going to make people appreciate Bollywood movies more.
But why should anyone come to a Hindi film to get a taste of those states, their culture, or their filmmaking style? Especially when you make an actress, who has gained prominence by working in Telugu and Tamil films, refer to Telangana as “the South”? In isolation, it may not seem offensive. But when you take the discrimination displayed by folks from Delhi and Maharashtra into consideration, as they look at the aforementioned states as one homogenous “South,” it feels offensive. I don’t even want to get into the “lungi versus pancha” debate, and how Bhaijaan thinks that the “Gunda” in the surname Gundamaneni means gangster, or the generic names like “Rowdy Anna.” Someone with more knowledge about the culture of Telangana can do that. Or they can avoid this movie like the plague.
What can I say about the performances? Nobody is really acting in this film. They are in it to champion Salman Khan. They don’t have any memorable characteristics. They have no standout scenes. They are on the screen, for sure. And this resulted in the invention of a new genre called the elevated self-flagellation parody. Most movies about superstars who have been in the business for a long time or who have delivered a long line of hits partake in mythologizing said superstar. Shah Rukh Khan has done it with “Pathaan.” Kamal Haasan has done it with “Vikram.” Rocking Star Yash has done it with the “K.G.F.” movies. You get the gist. But in “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan,” Salman simply goes overboard.
Salman keeps going on and on about violence, patriotism, his heart, and his mind. Then everyone else keeps going on and on about Bhaijaan’s violent streak, Bhaijaan’s love for his country, Bhaijaan’s ability to cook food, Bhaijaan’s body, and Bhaijaan’s hair. So, naturally, you start to wonder if Salman Khan even cares about presenting himself in an enigmatic or dynamic fashion or if he’s content with showering praise on himself for the most banal reasons imaginable. On top of that, he hardly acts. Maybe he should start taking some acting classes instead of spending his money on the VFX company that’s painstakingly painting in his abs.
There’s this recurring plot device where Bhaijaan makes his enemies think that he has killed them. Then he tricks the audience into thinking that Bhagya’s family has been slaughtered, but in reality, they are just chilling at his house. So, at the end of “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan,” when Bhaijaan says, “Life is but a dream,” I simply assumed that the whole movie had taken place in Salman Khan’s mind. If you want to correct me by saying that the movie took place in Bhaijaan’s mind and not Salman Khan’s mind, ask yourself, is there a difference between Bhaijaan, the character, and Salman Khan, the actor? If you want to know whether you should watch the movie so that you can form your own opinion instead of relying on mine, just re-read the whole review. If that doesn’t dissuade you, please let us know so that we can get to know you better (and then promptly block you from our lives).