Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan review: A trial by fire for Salman Khan fans
The Farhad Samji directorial is equal parts ludicrous and insufferable
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad, it’s very bad. That’s how Pooja Hegde’s Bhagyalaxmi describes Salman aka Bhaijaan’s cooking in Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan. “We have been consuming this for years,” reply his brothers. Bhai fans, I tell you.
Starring: Salman Khan, Venkatesh, Jagapathi Babu, Pooja Hegde, Bhumika Chawla, Raghav Juyal, Siddharth Nigam, Jassie Gill, Vijender Singh, Shehnaaz Gill, Palak Tiwari and Vinali Bhatnagar
Directed by: Farhad Samji
At the start of this year, we had a superstar who grew his hair and repackaged himself as an action hero. Shah Rukh Khan played Pathaan, a RAW agent, an orphan who was found in a theatre, a man, broken in both flesh and spirit, ‘kintsugied’ by love. In Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, Salman plays Bhaijaan, a nameless bachelor with a lush mane, a gym bro who loves his bros, and a burly brood whose ex-lover is now married and has a kid. Bhaijaan has shirked love all his life (“He has nothing to do with Prem”) because he had to provide for his orphaned, adopted siblings. But Cupid has struck his brothers Love (Siddharth Nigam), Ishq (Raghav Juyal) and Moh (Jassie Gill). Now to get their Chahat (Vinali Bhatnagar), Sukoon (Shehnaaz Gill) and Muskaan (Palak Tiwari) they have to do something tougher than a two-dollar steak. Get Bhai married.
Enter Bhagyalaxmi (Pooja Hegde). She is a conservator-restorer who might have hated Bhaijaan’s cooking but falls in love with his musical acumen (‘I guess I’m falling in love with you’) and probably, his bottled-up emotions. In a scene, Bhagyalaxmi sells the South to Bhaijaan, “We South Indians do everything with heart,” she says and then emotes happiness with a boisterous laugh and a slap on the table, anger with bulging her eyeballs and sadness with crying profusely. “How do you emote?” she asks Bhaijaan. Salman smiles coyly, looking around for cues. “That’s it?”
The road ahead is filled with guns and goons and to make matters worse Bhagyalaxmi’s Annayya (brother), played by Venkatesh, is a non-violent man. Now, Bhaijaan has the onus to play both Romeo and rowdy and I don’t know what is more difficult. My guess would be dancing. Salman falls on Pooja in one number while he pulls up his lungi and thrusts on in another. But it’s the kissing where he draws the line.
The basic plot structure for KKBKKJ is lifted from Siva’s 2014 actioner Veeram. If you saw the Tamil original and wondered what could be worse than this, the answer is a scene where Bhaijaan tells his brothers he loves them. Tears of happiness flow from his eyes but his facial muscles convulse, revolting against any feeling, as if telling him, “Don’t be human Bhai, be strong.” It’s only the action where Salman feels at home. Although he superhero-lands, like in an advertisement for a hair-strengthening shampoo, he puts in more effort while kicking and punching the baddies than he did in Radhe (2021) and Race 3 (2018). The antagonists, boxer Vijender Singh and Jagapathi Babu are mere caricatures of South film villains who roam around in white SUV convoys and wear sharp suits. The only respite is Abhimanyu Singh who, just like he did in Selfiee, brings effortless humour into a scene.
By the climax, KKBKKJ makes your senses numb. Salman topples a car, stabs the minions and is left bleeding from the forehead. He ultimately takes off his shirt, shows off his non-VFXed abs and headbutts Vijender’s Mahaveer multiple times till he gives up. But by then, the only expression left in the moviegoer is a hysterical chuckle. Bas Bhai, no more.