Mumbai, 09 Sep 2022 11:08 IST
Directed by Ayan Mukerji, and also starring Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan, the film has an exciting interval point.
Brahmastra is a weapon of mass destruction mentioned quite a few times in Hindu mythology. The most famous incident revolving the weapon is the one where Ashwatthama invokes it after the great war of Kurukshetra to finish off the Pandavas and gets cursed for life.
But Ayan Mukerji’s long-awaited Brahmastra Part One: Shiva (2022) isn’t based on any of the mythological stories around the weapon. The film only features it as a mass-destructive tool and weaves its own story ahead.
Brahmastra starts off in Mumbai where Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor), an orphan, lives by himself surrounded by his close friends and a group of orphan children whom he loves dearly. He possesses a special and a strange quality; he is never burnt by fire.
When Shiva visits a Durga Puja pandal, he spies the beautiful Isha (Alia Bhatt) and instantly falls for her. She belongs to a rich, affluent family but becomes impressed by Shiva’s motto in life to spreading happiness. Hence, she too reciprocates his feelings.
During the initial stage of their romance, Shiva keeps getting strange and disturbing visions of violence meted out on a scientist. The visions keep recurring, and he later realizes that his fate is linked with the deadly weapon Brahmastra.
The third part of the circular weapon is missing and the evil Junoon (Mouni Roy), who possesses the other two parts, will do anything to get hold of it. At the same time, Guru (Amitabh Bachchan), who specializes in ancient wisdom, is determined to stop Junoon in her tracks in order to save the world from a catastrophic disaster.
The love story between Shiva and Isha isn’t entirely convincing. The hero instantly falls for her at first sight, like yesteryear movies, and she invites him at her place without even knowing him. At the same time, the audience hardly gets to know much about Isha.
However, these issues don’t bother you much once romance blossoms between them. There is a lot of purity in their love which is further enhanced through Pritam’s impressive music.
The performances of the lead pair also play its part in hiding the flaws of their story. Ranbir Kapoor succeeds in displaying his character's innocence and later matures as Shiva keeps facing obstacles. There are inconsistencies in his looks since the film was made in a period of seven years, but we can’t blame him for that. Bhatt once again provides a likeable act.
Brahmastra has a typical theme of good versus evil, on which countless Hollywood superhero films are based. Apart from impressing you with Ranbir and Alia’s chemistry, the film establishes the story in an interesting manner as it slowly builds up anticipation for something big. The explosive interval points sums up an impressive first half.
The danger in such stories, especially in mainstream Hindi cinema, is that they can go downhill in the second half, and unfortunately, Brahmastra falters after intermission.
When one expects the narrative to reach newer heights after the story shifts to Guru and his aashram, the film does the opposite. We don’t get to know much about Bachchan’s character and this affects his performance. On top of that, his core team is a handful of people treated like junior artistes.
Dimple Kapadia plays a woman at the aashram, yet she is hardly in the film. I wonder why a veteran artiste like her was cast in such an inconsequential role.
But Brahmastra stumbles the most in the pre-climax and climax portions where there is overuse of special effects. There is no doubt that the VFX is of top quality and is boosted because of the 3D, but that doesn’t mean you exhaust the audience through it. For those who are regular watchers of Hollywood superhero films, this part will turn them off even further.
The film also suffers when it comes to the character of the villain, which is of utmost importance in films with such themes. But Roy’s Junoon is only a caricature here. She is just an evil person without much substance. Nagarjuna scores better despite having just a cameo.
Brahmastra has one similarity with the recently-released Laal Singh Chaddha (2022). Both the films rise the most during Shah Rukh Khan’s cameo but never reach the same heights later.
At the end, the makers announce the next film in the trilogy titled Brahmastra Part Two: Dev. We hope it’s much more satisfying that the first film.
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