Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan (“Someone’s Brother, Someone’s Lover“) is strictly for Salman Khan fans — but even they might want to give this one a pass.
Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan (KKBKKJ, henceforth) is an unofficial remake of the 2014 Tamil film Veeram, which was a big enough box office success to prompt remakes in Telugu and Kannada as well. Khan plays Bhaijaan, the protector of a neighborhood in Delhi and adoptive brother to three younger guys whom he rescued from an orphanage fire when they were little kids.
The film is dense with references meant to signal to Khan’s hardcore fans. This includes nods to his earlier movies and famous roles as well as allusions to his personal life, such as Bhaijaan’s name (one of Khan’s many nicknames) and his bachelor status. Even Bhaijaan’s entry in which he is summoned by the whistles of his brothers and neighbors encourages Khan’s rowdiest fans to do the same upon seeing their hero for the first time.
Bhaijaan’s brothers are all in romantic relationships but don’t want to ask his permission to marry until they’ve found a partner for him as well. Enter Bhagya (Pooja Hegde, who is undeniably charming in this), a beautiful woman visiting Delhi from her home in Telangana. She is inexplicably smitten by Bhaijaan, and the brothers get to work trying to get them together. The film just ignores that Khan is 25 years older than Hedge.
Bhagya’s budding romance with Bhaijaan is interrupted by Mahavir (Vijender Singh), a crooked politician who wants to redevelop Bhaijaan’s neighborhood. But he’s not the only one who’s put the lovers in his crosshairs. In one of the more convoluted, nonsensical subplots I’ve ever seen, there’s a drug dealer named Nageshwar (Jagapathi Babu) who wants to kill Bhagya to get revenge on her brother Balakrishna (Venkatesh) for telling the cops to arrest Nageshwar’s dad who ran a coffee company whose trucks Nageshwar was secretly using to transport drugs, causing Nageshwar’s dad to have a heart attack and die.
KKBKKJ could’ve settled for being just dumb and harmless. But the filmmakers couldn’t resist making a couple of immature homophobic jokes. And Mahavir has a Black bodyguard who appears in one short scene solely so that Bhaijaan can say of Mahavir, “At least he’s not racist”–only for the camera to immediately cut to the bodyguard as monkey sound effects play. The movie clumsily acknowledges that racism exists, and then is super-racist itself!
The movie is also extremely violent, but it tries to seem less violent than it actually is. On three occasions, characters hallucinate being on the receiving end of brutality, including an entire family being shot to death in slow motion. Only after the gruesome sequences end are we shown that the events were not real, just imagined.
That outcome is certainly better for the characters who imagine them, but the audience is still subjected to witnessing the violence. While it may not be real, I’m not convinced that seeing such gory deaths is harmless. And we’re certainly not better off for it. If those violent scenes have no bearing on the plot, then why must they be there? Was there no other way to generate a spectacle besides watching people have their necks snapped? KKBKKJ is the last place to look for answers to such questions.