At one point, when a character hears that humans are called ‘homo erectus’, he says of three men in the film, “How can they be homo? They have girlfriends.” By the time this “joke” makes it to Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, I had already checked out. Or in the film’s words, hum switch off ho gaye the.
Salman Khan, Bollywood’s ‘bhaijaan’, is back with another action drama and clearly, the film is relying on its lead’s star power to do most of the heavy lifting. The film is directed by Farhad Samji, who has earlier directed films like Housefull 4 and Bachchhan Paandey, and suffered through by the audience. The film’s plot isn’t immediately off putting, to its credit.
A big, bad villain wants to gain ownership of the slum that Salman (I want to use his character’s name but they literally don’t tell us) and his three brothers stay in.
Bhaijaan is the all-seeing, hammer-smashing, villain-psychoanalysing messiah of the area and the people treat him like a God.
Women swoon over him in the streets but he has decided to stay unmarried, a sacrifice he made for his three brothers – Luv (Siddharth Nigam), Ishq (Raghav Juyal), and Moh (Jassie Gill). Now, everyone expects them to also stay unmarried.
Bhaijaan is terrified by the imaginary possibility of a woman hurting their bond, but the brothers manage to find ‘safe’ women to marry – Muskaan (Palak Tiwari), Sukoon (Shehnaaz Gill), and Chahat (Vinali Bhatnagar). Everyone then sets out on a mission to get Bhaijaan married and to that effect, also find his old flame played by an eternally endearing Bhagyashree. One nostalgic Maine Pyaar Kiya montage later, they realise they’ve made the trip in vain.
After insulting sex workers for absolutely no reason, they stumble upon Bhagyalaxmi (Pooja Hegde), a woman from Hyderabad who has a job but is never seen doing it except than just walking around the town they live in. Something makes her fall for Bhaijaan and then they leave for Hyderabad where her big, happy family is waiting.
Almost every side character in the film sounds like they’re reading dialogues off the script in real time which makes mediocre acting from the leads and the minor characters seem mildly tolerable.
Salman Khan, admittedly, still has the charm that made him a national superstar but that is mostly at display during the action sequences.
Pooja Hegde doesn’t have much to do but seems more comfortable in the film’s second half when she’s playing off of actors like Venkatesh Daggubati as her brother Bala.
Something about Hegde’s act is charming in places but in others it’s tough to buy into.
Sajid's ‘Tere Bina’ and Ravi Basrur's ‘Bathukamma’ are the best songs in the film and they’re truly on the opposite side of the spectrum. Something about listening to an auto tuned version of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ did the same thing to my childhood as the Doraemon and Phineas and Ferb conspiracy theories. I would, however, in the spirit of honesty admit that the song is stuck in my head.
The film is considerably better in the second half when the avenging and fighting begins. Venkatesh is a powerhouse to watch on screen and his scenes with Salman are some of the film’s easiest to watch. The three brothers and their girlfriends do their part though there isn’t much to do. Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan depends on its cast star power – be it Pooja Hegde, Salman Khan, or Venkatesh – but doesn’t utilise them much beyond that.