Brahmastra: Despite all those non-stop computer graphics, the luxury of the sets, and the film’s commitment to its subject, we never really connect to the movie altogether.
Brahmastra movie review: You keep looking for magic in this Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt film. Part mythological, part desi superhero saga, part action-adventure, a lot is going on in ‘Brahmastra: Part One-Shiva.‘ Ayan Mukerji’s long-in-the-making mega tentpole is meant to be a trilogy. It has been in the news for various reasons, but primarily because it is intended not just to entertain us but to pull Bollywood out of the problems it is in right now. But, on the first count, at least, it flubs massively.
Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva, directed by Ayan Mukerji, was announced eight years ago and is one of the most anticipated and most expensive Indian films made to date, with a high budget of Rs 400 crore. Considering the time and money invested into this project, planned as a trilogy. One expects nothing less than a marvelous spectacle unfolding on screen. And if your reading list has never included fantasy series such as The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, this ‘astraverse’ extravaganza that marries Hollywood-style superhero films with Hindu mythology may leave you impressed. Almost.
Here’s how the promise, held out by this much-anticipated Dharma production, stacked up. Never-seen-before-special effects. No disputing those claims. I can only think of SS Rajamouli’s ‘Baahubali,’ which can compare. On and off screen, Bollywood’s most adorable couples are Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Bookended by the surprise presence of Shah Rukh Khan and the one and only Amitabh Bachchan, and a middle lifted by the affable Nagarjuna. Could anything be better? It could have and should have, but it isn’t.
VFX and Music
There are enough bones for our Marvel universe, imbued with the gods and goddesses borrowed from our vibrant, rich mythologies and the extraordinary humans with superpowers they must learn to control and unleash. One of the better portions involves Shiva being put through his paces by the elder Guru (Amitabh Bachchan), as he (Shiva) plays with fire, and the screen lights up. Ranbir Kapoor is always light on his feet. The luminous Alia Bhatt does some lighting up of her own.
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He says: ‘Jal Gayi tum mere Pyaar mein’ (hard to translate this, but the closest would be ‘you’re burning with love for me’), and she says: ‘kabki’ (long back), and you smile past the cheesiness of the exchange, remembering their real-life romance which should have seeped into their reels but doesn’t. Shah Rukh Khan brings some goofy charms to the table in his cameo. But, ultimately, nothing is new enough, and these cardboard characters can’t make us care as they run for their lives in a climax that goes on for so long that it becomes exhausting.
Films so stuffed with special effects need to maintain a balance between parts that are meant to astonish us with their wares and the factors which allow us to slow down and breathe. As a result, the VFX is non-stop, the blaring music keeps wanting to bludgeon us into submission, and we have left yearning for magic.
Directed by Ayan Mukerji, the film constantly tries to make your jaw drop to the floor with the visual effects, but since we never empathize with the characters on screen, it remains a distant spectacle.
As Shiva, the protagonist, Ranbir Kapoor, has done a decent job. His character gains prominence and strength as the story continues. Ranbir Kapoor’s performance is terrific in the climax of the film. His chemistry with Alia Bhatt, the female lead and his real-life- wife, is not bad. But their love story in the film is too shabby and poorly written. Alia Bhatt doesn’t have much to do in the movie.
Shah Rukh Khan plays a guest role, but it is an essential one. Amitabh Bachan and Nagarjuna add value to the story. Mouni Roy, as the antagonist, is perfect.
The film is made on a lavish scale and has been in the making for nearly four years. Heavily loaded with graphics, every sequence is glitzy. The cinematography, the visuals, and the production design are splendid.
Music by Pritham is okay. Dialogues are horrible. Most of the scenes from the film need to be edited (trimmed).
A visual treat for audiences.
Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor
The lengthy Runtime.
The love track
Missing Wonder elements.
Coming to Wonder elements, the movie had no big wonder elements, like if we take Bahubali, it ended with a question “Why did Kattapa Kill Bahubali?” and KGF Chapter 1 ended with a thought: what is Roky going to do after he took over the KGF from Garuda?
It is just a story about a happy-go-lucky guy named Shiva. That’s why part 1 is named after Shiva. Part 2 is after another important character named Dev.
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“Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva” is the first installment of the trilogy directed by Ayan Mukerji. This movie has a story based on Hindu mythologies.
The drama sets the tone by introducing Shah Rukh Khan at the beginning of the film. The SRK’s fight sequence by using the Vanara Astra is astounding. Director Ayan successfully creates his universe for the story but fails to dwell on it in the right way.
It begins well, but it skids later. The love thread between Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt is not well written and poorly executed.
After a point, you get exhausted with the never-ending proceedings. Thankfully, the film returns on track, but not before the interval. It goes smoothly for about 30 minutes, but again, it goes out of the way.
Visual effects and action stunts resemble Hollywood superhero movies like Marvel comics. This film is India’s alternative to MCU. But the Indian version is a better copy than a gripping tale of superhero stories.
Some portions are unclear. There is also a character named Dev, but this character’s story is withheld for the second part.
Overall, “Brahmastra Part One” is neither an exceptional extravaganza nor an outright disappointment. It swings in between. It is ambitious but doesn’t get it entirely right and turns out to be an average fare.
Bottom Line: One-time watch. If you want to enjoy the VFX of this film, watch it only in the 3D format, as 2D isn’t worth it. And if you want to watch this film only for the story, I suggest you wait for an OTT release.
The film will be aired on Disney+ Hotstar.