Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan: Salman in No Man’s Land

Salman Khan, Ram Charan and Venkatesh in Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Somewhere along the line, Salman Khan has missed the bus. And I hope he finds it soon and boards it! For me, Wanted, Dabangg 2, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Sultan and the Tiger franchise remain the best in his second peak phase. The rest of his post-2010 films, hit or flop, were in no man’s land and this one is no different!

This film is a remake of the Tamil Veeram, though Salman has claimed that only the core idea has been taken from there. This time, he is either misguided enough (Big stars being misguided is one of the biggest truths in, and causes of, today’s flop-beleaguered industry!) to believe that he can get away with a big-screen misadventure like this. He goes all the way to just please his ardent fans, first from North India—the setting is Delhi, and there are two atrocious Punjabi numbers, Balle balle and Billi billi, both (de-)composed by Sukhbir.

And of course we have Salman’s tribute to his South fans: which is done through ornate song and action set-pieces in which Pooja Hegde, Rohini Hattangady and Bhumika Chawla play Andhra-ites and are joined by Venkatesh Daggubati and even Ram Charan in a cameo. Then there is villain Jagapathi Babu, a caricature baddie after eons in big cinema.

An added meta-tribute is paid to Salman’s breakthrough film Maine Pyar Kiya with Bhagyashree making a cameo, Himalaya, her husband and Abhimanyu Dassani, their son. This in-film gimmick of showing why this nameless (in these days of Aadhaar cards!) orphan hero did not marry her (so as to look after his three young brothers, around which there is a tear-jerking story) does not have the slightest impact of any kind. This angle is there only to show why bhaijaan (as he is known) never married, for Bhagyashree’s son is now getting engaged! Well, bhaijaan is clearly well past 50 then, as that film came all of 34 years ago!

And now, bhaijaan meets a new Bhagya (Pooja Hegde), who comes to his area as a researcher in antiques, which she is never shown doing! Oh, yes, we also never come to know how bhaijaan and his three brothers earn their respective livelihoods. And the basti (neighborhood) in Delhi in which they reside is full of bhaijaan devotees as he protects them from evil souls, such as an MLA (Virender Singh) who wants that piece of land for whatever.

Cops, law and order are never seen even as hoodlums attack all over the town (including in the metro rail!) and there are liberal corpses strewn.

And finally, we have a trio of noble middle-aged men who form bhaijaan’s moral backbone (Tej Sapru, Satish Kaushik and Aasif Shaikh). Satish is a Muslim and honest to the point of indiscretion, while Aasif bursts into English as he is supposed to be a doctor.

Oh, yes, the three young brothers (Jassie Gill, Siddharth Nigam and Rajesh Juyal) have girlfriends (Shehnaaz Gill, Palak Tiwari, Vinali Bhatnagar—hope I got their respective order right!). They all want to marry, but as their elder bhai is unmarried, they cannot. And in that basti, where bhaijaan is a demi-god, their romances are something of which no one else is aware!

Finally, let us reveal that Bhagya’s brother, Balakrishna (Venkatesh Daggubati) is a peace-loving resident of faraway Hyderabad and is harassed for a personal reason by the psychotic Nageshwar (Jagapathi Babu). And once Bhagya is rid of the delusion that bhaijaan and family are far from peace-loving, she comes to know of her own family secret too.

Somewhere in what I have rambled above (far less than the movie does) is the ‘story’ of this unapologetic entertainer that would have still packed a box-office punch had it released more than 5 years back. But today, it is as dated as a manual typewriter, and gasps for air amidst its proudly unapologetic staleness in everything.

Until Dabanng, Salman at least ensured decent music. Here, even that area suffers from too many (musical) cooks screwing up the broth, though Himesh Reshammiya dishes out the melodious Naiyyo lagdaa, which was composed 12 years ago, and there is a nice but too brief Sajid-Wajid composition! The use of Naiyyo lagdaa’s riff is the sole redemption in a deafeningly-cacophonous Ravi Basrur background score, completing his trinity of such noisy disasters after KGF 2 and Bholaa.

Salman plays to the gallery and essentially sleepwalks. His three successive looks obviously end with his template bare-chested action persona. About the only people who make an impression are Venkatesh and Pooja Hegde. For the latter’s sake alone, I hope that the film does well—somehow, because this sincere performer and comely lass deserves a decent Hindi hit.

As for director-co-writer Farhad Samji, I can only quote the late composer Laxmikant: “It is not important at all what you have done in the past. What you are doing now is important!” And when we think of Samji-bhaijaan‘s recent directorials like Pop Kaun (on OTT) and Bachchan Paandey, I truly shiver at what this gentleman is set to do with Hera Pheri 3.

Meanwhile, the big-star calamities are multiplying. Just one Pathaan cannot save the (cinema of the) nation. Salman-bhai, look for proper scripts and filmmakers—and roles of weight and caliber.

Rating: *1/2

Salman Khan Films’ Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan  Produced by: Salma Khan  Directed by: Farhad Samji  Written by: Siva, Farhad Samji, Tasha Bhambra & Sparsh Khetarpal  Music: Himesh Reshammiya, Sajid-Wajid, Devi Sri Prasad, Ravi Basrur, Amaal Malik, Sukhbir, Yo Yo Honey Singh & Payal Dev  Starring: Salman Khan, Pooja Hegde, Venkatesh Daggubati, Bhumika Chawla, Rohini Hattangady, Tej Sapru, Satish Kaushik, Aasif Sheikh, Jagapathi Babu, Virender Singh, Raghav Juyal, Jassie Gill, Siddharth Nigam, Shehnaaz Gill, Palak Tiwari, Vinali Bhatnagar, Sp.App.: Ram Charan, Bhagyashree, Himalaya Dassani, Abhimanyu Dassani & Yo Yo Honey Singh  



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