Brahmastra movie review: Despite its razzle-dazzle, Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt film fails to entertain


Part fantasy, part mythological, part action adventure, part desi superhero saga, there’s a lot going on in ‘Brahmastra part one-Shiva’, Ayan Mukerji’s long in the making mega tent pole intended as a trilogy. It’s been in the news for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because it’s not just meant to entertain us, but to bring Bollywood out of the doldrums it’s in now. On the first count, at least, really huge.

Here’s how the promise kept by this highly anticipated Dharma production piled up. Never-before-seen special effects. That claim is indisputable. I can only think of SS Rajamouli’s ‘Bahubali’ that can compare. One of Bollywood’s most endearing couples both on and off screen, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Booked by the surprising presence of Shah Rukh Khan and the one and only Amitabh Bachchan, and a means raised by the affable Nagarjuna. Can anything be done better? Turns out it could and should have, but it isn’t.

Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor) is a modern deejay, who gets thousands upon thousands of Durga pooja devotees to dance to his music as the movie begins. Everything is big, and it gets bigger and bigger as the movie goes on. The pandal is huge, and as the camera pulls back, the magnitude of its staggering size becomes apparent. The screen is drenched in color, song and dance. And then comes the meeting of eyes and heart of our hero and his love, Isha (Alia Bhatt), and, and… our hearts don’t skip a beat, even as the beats around the two get more and more frenetic.

And that’s really the problem with the film, which is meant to be the most expensive Bollywood has produced. Despite all those non-stop computer graphics, the opulence of the sets, the starry skies, the film’s dedication to its dazzling, we never quite get into it. I had to work hard to fall in, and I kept falling out. Immediately you see why: the film is caught in clumsy writing styles which leads to confused snatches, and its awkward tonal changes, which never let the film sink in. Why is there a ‘tapori’ element in Shiva’s dialogues to begin with, and where does it go? Why do his BFFs disappear without giving us a reason? If the bad guys have super powers, why do they use man-made machine guns? Why does some of the humor seem forced? Questions, questions. And oh those nose product placements, including Mac laptops and Jio cell phones. Really?

Shiva is meant to be an orphan whose origin is connected to the ‘astraverse’ that Mukerji created. Once upon a time, the weapon of all weapons, the Brahmastra was divided into three for safekeeping, and its keepers were in charge of keeping the universe in place. But an ambitious creature arrives who wants everything and unleashes his dark forces on our world. The target, of course, is our hero Shiva and Isha, another name for his faithful Parvati, and a small fraction of the people (Brahmansh) who quietly dwell in the high reaches of the Himalayas, as defenders of the faith, and warriors armed with weapons. with primal forces. Shiva has a strange connection with fire (agni): will he be able to save the world from the marauders, led by the hot-eyed red-lipped Junoon (Mouni Roy, who marches through the film in black robes, glittering eyes, and growling ) and her two accomplices?

There are plenty of bones here for our very own Marvel universe, infused with the gods and goddesses borrowed from our vibrant, rich mythologies, and the very special superpowered humans to master and unleash them. One of the better parts is that Shiva is put to the test by the elder Guru (Amitabh Bachchan) as he (Shiva) literally plays with fire and lights up the screen. Ranbir Kapoor is always light-hearted. The luminescent Alia Bhatt does some lighting herself. He says ‘jal gayi tum mere pyaar mein’ (difficult to translate, but the closest would be ‘you burn with love for me’), and she says ‘kabki’ (long back), and you laugh beyond the cheesiness of the exchange, recalling their true romance seeping into their roles, on and off. In his cameo, Shah Rukh Khan (his name, we are emphatically told, Mohan Bhargav, in a nod to his “Swades” character?) brings some of his goofy charm to the table. But in the end, these don’t become characters we care about as they run for their lives in a climax that lasts so long it gets tiresome.

Movies so crammed with special effects need to strike a balance between parts meant to blow us away with their wares, and the parts that make it slow down and breathe. The VFX is non-stop (at some point a troll-esque army appears and disappears), the blaring music continues to force us into submission, and we continue to crave magic.

A character asks Shiva, ‘yeh sab kya ho raha hai tumhare saath’ (what’s the matter with you?). Replace ‘humaare’ with ‘tumhaare’, for the right question.

Brahmastra movie cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Mouni Roy, Nagarjuna Akkineni
Brahmastra film director: Ayan Mukerjic
Brahastra movie rating: 1.5 stars

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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