Star Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Nagarjuna, Mouni Roy, Dimple Kapadia, some otherworldly VFX & cameos of men/women who must not be named
Director: Ayan Mukerji & his dedication to steering a ship for such a long time almost brought a generational gap in the cinematic approach of his audience
What’s Good: It’s a treat for your eyes, ears & mind!
What’s Bad: Many won’t get a chance to see this in IMAX.
Loo Break: You might miss some visual spectacle as there are enough of them at regular intervals.
Watch or Not?: Watch it on the best screen possible, preferably IMAX!
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 166 minutes
Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor) is a DJ who took Anu Malik’s quote “Tu aag laga dega” way too seriously & discovers he’s the master of fire, nothing can burn him (apart from watching his current wife dancing to his ex’s song but that’s the story for some other day). Shiva doesn’t come with any official IP rating but he’s pretty non-flammable & has a bittersweet relationship with fire.
To extinguish the light of righteousness, there has to be something wrong to balance both sides and here we’ve Junoon (Mouni Roy) who’s just a pawn played by her master. Junoon is on her way to collect the lost pieces of ‘Bramahstra’ – the weapon of weapons, which will unlock world-ending capabilities to the one who owns it. Junoon wants her for its master, Shiva is somehow connected to it as its guard & helps its original possessors in Guru (Amitabh Bachchan), Artist (Nagarjuna) & the man who must not be named.
Brahmastra Movie Review: Script Analysis
Just imagine you’re a superhero genre fan in India & I tell you to compose a story retaining the ‘desi’ elements but also ask you to mix your favourite moments from International films from the same genre as well, this is the closest product you’ll get to your imagination (until you, of course, don’t bring Christopher Nolan kinda storytelling to the picture). Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.one walked, so this could run!
Ayan Mukerji has rightly focused more on the screenplay than the story because every frame is a painting. I tried to filter out one ordinary frame & failed because of the way this is shot, the makers have made sure to retain the grandeur throughout the scenes which in a way also cleverly hides the simpleton nature of the script. It’s everything you can predict but would still have fun because you can’t know the way it would be presented to you.
The masters behind this visual p*rn are a perfectly curated team by Ayan in V. Manikandan (Cinematographer, Ra.one), Pankaj Kumar (Cinematographer, Tumbbad), Sudeep Chatterjee (Cinematographer, Dhoom 3, Gangubai Kathiawadi), Vikash Nowlakha (Camera Department, Black) & Patrick Duroux. The best of all the worlds come together to create this big-screen dessert. The camerawork synced in with an almost perfect CGI infuses life even in lifeless scenes leaving practically no space for dull moments. It’s like, if there’s nothing interesting happening in a scene, you’ll either have something to listen to (brilliant BGM by Simon Franglen, detailed discussion ahead) or something to visually admire the whole time.
All this doesn’t mean it’s a perfect 5/5 product, there are let-downs & some of them are: weak dark side, second half initially crawls but gradually picks up as it goes ahead, the scope to add ‘high points’ was tremendous but missed to maintain the ‘story structure’, Hussain Dalal’s dialogues (at times) doesn’t match the gravity of efforts of the rest of the team.
Brahmastra Movie Review: Star Performance
Ranbir Kapoor would probably be the second-last choice I would pick as a superhero in Bollywood (the last would be Arjun Kapoor) owing to his ‘vulnerable’ side of acting capability, but Ayan exactly saw the same quality and rightly imagined him as Shiva. The amount of charm he brings to this character makes you connect with his problems & hence getting you invested in the story. This also just touches the base of the ‘superheroic’ trait of his character & it’ll hopefully develop further in the upcoming instalments which will surely happen.
Alia Bhatt touches extreme ends with Isha as at times you’d see a seasoned actress delivering tough lines, but then there are scenes where she just forcefully ‘enacts’ things eliminating the natural flair. Her pairing with Ranbir Kapoor saves the day as the ‘reel-real’ elements work completely in the favour of the couple.
Amitabh Bachchan as Guru doesn’t have much to do apart from unlocking Shiva’s potential. He might have an important role in the backstory of these characters which could unfold further, but as of now he just added some extra depth to the storyline.
Nagarjuna’s ‘Nandi Bail’ super-power came across as one of the coolest things you’d watch on big-screen. Yes, he as an actor doesn’t have much to contribute to the story but his character even in limited scenes looks uber-cool & might attract a colossal amount of seetis/taalis. Mouni Roy was FOR SURE cast after watching her performance in Naagin & it was a decent decision to present her as this demonically cool baddie. She doesn’t go over the board despite her character having all the traits of letting her travel miles in the land of hamming. Dimple Kapadia is just there, why? Doing what? Even I couldn’t really figure out, might be for the future parts. There are multiple cameos (rather few hints) and they’re as grand as one would have rather hoped.
Brahmastra Movie Review: Direction, Music
Ayan Mukerji has done it, he has decoded the formula of sci-fi-my i.e. science-fiction-mythology & that’s what makes Brahmastra what it is. When I say this is an answer to every Marvel movie ever, I’m not comparing ANYTHING, it’s just my way of saying “if I ever have to recommend an Indian film to a Marvel fan who’s alien to our cinematic world, this would be it (earlier it was Ra.one, which wasn’t a great recco tbh).
Simon Franglen’s (Seven, Avatar, Titanic) orchestral background score has GOOSEBUMPS written all over it. If the visuals of the film are ‘every frame is a painting’, then the background music is ‘every sound is a symphony’. The way pieces from Pritam’s songs are converted into these colossal orchestra tracks blends in amazingly well with the visuals. None of the songs interrupts. An unreleased song ‘Rasiya’ became an instant favourite & I hope Pritam releases this soon.
Brahmastra Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Brahmastra has pro-level VFX bundled with enough mythology to keep things interesting. It contains everything that the best-looking Indian film should have with some obvious flaws.
Brahmastra Part One: Shiva releases on 09 September, 2022.
Share with us your experience of watching Brahmastra Part One: Shiva.
Yet to watch the latest Aamir Khan starrer? Read our Laal Singh Chaddha Movie Review here.