Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan Review: Salman Khan Splits Bhaijaan Persona Into 2, Neither Delivers
Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan Review: Salman never loosens his grip on the narrative, not even when Venkatesh is at hand to share the load.
Cast: Salman Khan, Pooja Hegde, Venkatesh, Bhumika Chawla, Shehnaaz Gill, Palak Tiwari, Vijender Singh, Raghav Juyal and Jassie Gill
Director: Farhad Samji
Rating: One star (out of 5)
In Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan, the righteous and invincible male protagonist has three brothers who he dotes on and a lover whose family he vows to protect at all costs. That is a huge load to carry in a film as wafer-thin as this one. Lead actor Salman Khan takes the onus upon himself, pulls out the stops and splits his Bhaijaan persona into two.
Neither delivers the goods because the star falls between two stools and plummets to an all-time low. KKBKKJ, directed by Farhad Samji, is an insufferably ham-fisted affair that is likely to have two distinct effects on the audience (unless, of course, you are a fan of the superstar and are willing to be lenient). The first half is a spectacularly scrappy snooze-fest, the second a headache-inducing free-for-all. Both are sans a shred of logic.
In the first half, the lead actor sports long, flowing hair and mouths inanities about fraternal love and social duty. In the second, he has a short mop but continues to trot out trivialities about violence and non-violence as the action shifts to the sprawling home of a family in South India.
No matter what the star does, and irrespective of what the motley crowd of actors around him tries, Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan does not generate a single moment that could be regarded as passably entertaining. Even the film's action sequences - there are many - cannot break free from the stranglehold of monotony.
The writing scrapes the bottom of the barrel. The acting fares no better even though Venkatesh Daggubati as an epitome of virtue and Jagapathi Babu as malevolence personified step into the breach in an attempt to rescue the film from its plasticky drudgery and inject some shrill, old-fashioned good-versus-evil melodrama into the proceedings.
KKBKKJ, silly and sluggish, is the kind of Mumbai film that can put an overflowing trashcan to shame. Its principal premise rests on a man's decision not to marry because he fears that the advent of a woman in his life would destroy his deep bond with his brothers.
The idea is cringeworthy all the way! If you are thinking a variation on Satte Pe Satte, KKBKKJ is definitely no Chauke Pe Chauka. If anything, it should have been titled At Sixes and Sevens!
Two groups of men - one in the National Capital, the other in Hyderabad or thereabouts - have their eyes on a Delhi mohalla where Bhaijaan (Salman Khan) lives with his three brothers - Love (Siddharth Nigam), Ishq (Raghav Juyal) and Moh (Jassie Gill).
The neighborhood is as safe as a house as long as the hero is around to keep watch over its residents. An opening fight sequence establishes that fact beyond an iota of doubt. Once the goons are sent packing, the brothers celebrate with a song and dance set piece. That is a pattern that the film follows right until the end - a bunch of scenes is followed by a song whether it makes sense or not.
All three of Bhaijaan's brothers have girlfriends, but they cannot think of settling down until Bhaijaan agrees to marry. So, they set him up with Bhagyalakshmi (Pooja Hegde), a newcomer to the colony. The girl's name has a meta echo.
In a brief early detour, Bhaijaan finds himself in Mumbai at the wedding of (Salman Khan's Maine Pyar Kiya heroine) Bhagyashree's son. The actress, her real-life husband Himalaya Dassani and their son Abhimanyu put in an appearance as themselves - about the only passage in the film that strikes a bit of a chord. The rest is all a shoddy shaggy-dog story.
Back home in Telangana, Bhagya, who becomes friend with Bhaijaan's siblings, has an elder brother (Venkatesh Daggubati), who hates violence and people who perpetrate it. Bhagya is alarmed to figure out that Bhaijaan and his bros are a very, very violent lot.
All the misgivings and worries notwithstanding, there is no dearth of violence in the film's second half as Nageshwara (Jagapathi Babu) unleashes his men on the family of Balakrishnan (Venkatesh Daggubati), which includes his mother (Rohini Hattangadi), wife (Bhumika Chawla) and, of course, his sister Bhagyalakshmi.
The film also has a nattily attired pugilist Vijender Singh essaying the role of a villain, an MLA bent on grabbing the patch of land that belongs to Bhaijaan and his neighbours. As an actor, his punches never quite land.
Salman Khan never deigns to loosen his grip on the narrative, not even when Venkatesh is at hand to share some of the load. The star overshadows the character and the narrative (or whatever there is of it) so completely that there is no scope for anything or anybody in the film developing beyond the film's cardboard cutout dimensions.
Hearing a guy sing totally off-tune, Bhaijaan's romantic interest complains: Gaane ki band baja raha hai. She could well have been referring to what many members of the film's cast have gone and done to the craft of acting out here in a span of two and a half hours - left it in tatters.
At another point in the film, she confesses that hamari geography aur history sab galat hai. Precisely. Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is a travesty of gigantic proportions no matter what geography you belong to, what history you believe in and what you think cinema should be. A bad film is a bad film. KKBKKJ is beyond bad.
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