About the story: Rich businessman Balraj Oberoi (Dalip Tahil) cohabits with his mother (Sushma Seth) and his two sons. Vicky (Sanjay Dutt), the elder son, devotedly attends the family company, also to give his beloved younger brother Prem (Salman Khan) the freedom to keep away from office and to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Sapna Mehra (Karisma Kapoor), a rather muddle-headed but lovable girl, applies for a job as secretary at Oberoi & Sons’s without having the qualities requested for this job, so Vicky rejects her application. But Balraj is so delighted of Sapna that he brushes aside his son’s decision and takes her on. When Vicky one evening is attacked and seriously injured by strangers, Sapna manages to get him into hospital in the nick of time. As thanks, the Oberoi family invites her to join them for a little rest holiday in their country house. There, Sapna and Prem secretly fall in love with each other while Balraj and his mother make plans to get Sapna married to Vicky who, since his fiancé (Sonali Bendre) tragically had died in a car accident, always had refused the mere thought of getting married. But he can imagine of starting his life afresh with Sapna and accepts his father’s and grandmother’s wish. Loving his elder brother a lot and wishing him just happiness, Prem decides to finish his relationship to Sapna for him...
Already in Saajan, where they also had fallen in love with the same girl and in the end one resigned for the other, Sanjay and Salman had been a good pair of brothers. In Chal Mere Bhai (= come on, my brother) they’re even better as they here have many more interactions – and obviously they had a ball while playing them. Sanjay and Salman proved to be a well attuned team, also as they only shortly ago had shot together for the movie Dus which, alas, after director Mukul Anand’s unexpected death never was completed; and it is a sheer delight to watch the two real life friends feeding each other lines. A running gag in the relationship of the two loving brothers Vicky and Prem are the permanent indications of their fitness training and bodybuilding which in Sanjay’s and Salman’s case really are true-life: When Sanjay, the first actor who made his well-conditioned and muscular body his trade-mark on screen, as the elder brother checks the training stage of Salman who, inspired by Sanjay’s example, after him became the epitome of the Bollywood muscle hero, then this is an amusing slice of real life. And Sanjay was self-confident enough to give Salman the advantage concerning muscle exposing in Chal Mere Bhai even though he had no reason to hide behind his 6 years younger co-star as he clearly shows in the funny scene at the swimming pool when both brothers pose in front of Sapna and challenge her to decide which one of them has the better body (and Sapna gets out of this affair with an ingenious answer).
Sanjay is brilliant as the authoritarian, be it in his office where he also can turn the unpleasant boss if necessary, or be it the protective elder brother who makes you envious of Salman about him. Salman is temperamental and exuberant; well, we better cast a veil of silence over his scenes as a drunken man – but all the better is the temple scene where Prem prays for his injured brother in a mixture of wit and seriousness. Karisma is simply charming, a lovable clumsy sweetie you just can’t be mad at when once again something goes wrong. The other cast members are also in a very good mood: Dalip Tahil as the ageing daddy who still cultivates the remaining parts of his former casanova potential; Shakti Kapoor as Sapna’s uncle Mamaji who after a first scene which makes you fear the worst (= an unnerving comic relief) fortunately quickly turns the corner; Sonali Bendre in her very short appearance as Vicky’s fiancé; and Twinkle Khanna in a special appearance for which I just could kiss script writer Ikram Akhtar.
Chal Mere Bhai is a nice little cheerful film for in between. Should you in spite of Karisma, Sanju and Sallu get bored, you can kill the time by counting the hints to other actors and films; you’ll find lots of Amitabh Bachchans and Dilip Kumars, and when Sushma Seth searches a bride for Vicky she also casts a look on a photo of film star Mallika (Mast). What a pity that she doesn’t approve her – Sanju and Urmila were such a lovely couple in Daud and Khoobsurat... *g*
Produced by Nitin Manmohan; Directed by David Dhawan
135 Min.; DVD: Eros, English Subtitles (including songs) which sometimes start much too early.