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Brahmastra review: Ranbir Kapoor exudes the brightest light in Ayan Mukerji's labour of love

You will appreciate the film for its attempts and visual splendour despite its flaws and imperfections.

3.5/5rating
Brahmastra review: Ranbir Kapoor exudes the brightest light in Ayan Mukerji's labour of love
Ranbir Kapoor in a still from Brahmastra
  • Aishwarya Vasudevan

Last Updated: 05.25 AM, Sep 09, 2022

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Story:

The Astraverse, India's first original universe, is introduced in the three-part film series Brahmastra. It is a brand-new, original cinematic universe with epic storytelling of fantasy, adventure, good vs. evil, love, and hope that is set in the current era and features never-before-seen visual spectacles. It is inspired by deeply ingrained ideas and stories from Indian history.

Review:

In the Harry Potter series, the main character discovers that Lord Voldemort's secret to immortality is the Horcruxes, which he has to hunt down and destroy. Interestingly, Potter is also one of the Horcruxes, and he should also be destroyed in order to kill Voldemort once and for all. Brahmastra brings that very idea back, and it's just the visual spectacle you have been longing for on the big screen.

This year, the only VFX-heavy films cinephiles heavily relied on were Marvel movies. However, most of them led to disappointment, and now Brahmastra has arrived to "save" the fantasy drama genre. The film starts with a voiceover by Amitabh Bachchan, who talks about Brahmansh, a secret society like the Illuminati, who have been Astras in their own sense and are protecting the ultimate astra, Brahmastra.

As the generation changes, the power of Astras is transferred to the new ones who learn to put it to great use and not misuse it. This is the basis and the introductory piece for the trilogy that is planned by Ayan Mukerji.

As we get introduced to Ranbir Kapoor as Shiva in the film, we also get a glimpse of other Astras that now exist and how they are protecting themselves and the whole secret society.

But the basic plotline for Brahmastra is about a boy-meets-girl moment and how it unravels the power within him. Ayan brings his usual tropes of making the lovers meet in an unexpected yet sweet way, and how in no time they are bound by each other. In the film, Shiva and Isha (Ranbir and Alia) are two peas in a pod in no time, and the quick succession might confuse you. The director doesn't waste time in bringing both of them together and taking them on an adventurous journey. However, Ayan did waste time with the dialogues, which are too caricaturish and reach a cringe point at some level.

Written by Hussain Dalal, the lowest point of the film begins the moment the actors start conversing with each other. Every line of dialogue begs the question, "What if it was just a visual movie with BGM and songs and no one spoke?" The landing of these dialogues, despite trying to be funny, just bounces back and might make you sigh or feel blah at regular intervals.

Barring that, we cannot take away the fact that Ayan's efforts have been fruitful and how! Just before the interval, and with the entry of Nagarjuna Akkineni, is when the thrilling point of Brahmastra begins. The brilliant chase sequence in the mountains is quite well shot, along with the gripping background score.

If you expect Brahmastra to have a lot of details about the whole astraverse, then your patience will be tested for a few more years. The first instalment is only about Shiva and him discovering the power of fire within him. There's more to the story, and gear up to bring your theory game to it.

Let's not sidetrack the storyline! Brahmastra's story has a lot of mysteries within, which Ayan decided just to untangle one at a time. However, in doing so, he makes the mistake of showing the same sequences in the name of flashbacks. The repetition of sequences just breaks the flow of the film in multiple instances, again failing it to land properly.

The major highlight of Brahmastra is mainly the VFX, on which it heavily relies, and deservedly so. The best one is created by Nagarjuna's Nandiastra, wherein a raging bull behind him is created as he takes charge to take on the enemies. It's beautiful and might be a little disturbing for photosensitive people.

More so, the fire play, which starts with Shiva's Agniastra, also takes the cake, and how! The whole Deva Deva song sequence is beautiful to watch on the big screen.

Credit where it's due, Ayan Mukerji has penned a screenplay that's heavily inspired by Hindu mythology and passes with several streaks of rainbow. The filmmaker's script to screen translation is stupendous and will definitely leave you longing for more.

However, the film is definitely not flawless, as mentioned above, and it comes with the performances of the actors too. Given that the film screams for a talented bunch of actors, the faltering among the few is quite evident.

Let's start with the best! Hands down, Amitabh Bachchan and Nagarjuna will leave you impressed from the word go. Both the actors were legends in their own right. Nagarjuna's role is short-lived, and I wish there was more to it. But Big B's character arc is quite interesting and well-written given that the megastar can do anything and everything.

Shiva, played by Ranbir Kapoor, is yet another character for the actor wherein he goes into a self-discovery mode. However, this time, the fantasy genre comes into the picture. For the actor, to live this role is a cakewalk as that's something we have seen him doing for the past 15-odd years in many of his films. I cannot call him his best, but the actor does hold the screen with his presence and steals the show in many of the sequences. 

RK is definitely the light of Brahmastra and his sequences of playing with the fire and also the whole chaotic climax sequence will make you not blink even once while watching. 

Next comes Mouni Roy, and lo, what a revelation on the big screen! The actor is shown as an out-and-out negative character and has one of the meatiest roles in the film. Her character, Junoon, adds mystery and a fiery spark to the mix. Hands down, an actor to watch out for in Brahmastra.

Sadly, the weakling of the fantasy drama is Alia Bhatt. The actor has been given lines, which are juvenile and make you wonder what the writer was thinking. It's just one of the not-up-to-the-mark performances by the actor who has made the audience go gaga over her this year.

The love story and the chemistry between Ranbir and Alia are also the drawbacks of the film, despite those being the backbone of the story.

Brahmastra is also a musical and the songs, especially Deva Deva and the one with Shiva, are the best among the lot. But we must say, there's not a single song that you might not like, as the whole OST album is fantastic with a blend of pop, trance, and romantic everything in one.

Ayan Mukerji's labour of love has a light at the end of the day and sets a perfect foundation for the trilogy it was intended to be. The film has set a new benchmark in terms of VFX in Indian cinema and the storyline, although it doesn't bring any novelty, the narration makes it better. But Brahmastra has pulled down a notch, mainly because of the dialogues, which might stay with you as they're immature and how!

The hope is to bring the second instalment quickly enough so that the curiosity it has built doesn't get killed with time.

Verdict:

An imperfect and flawed film that you will appreciate for its efforts and visual spectacle. Brahmastra shows Ayan's determination to bring something new to the world of cinema from India. It's his homage to Indian mythology mixed with Western fantasy dramas such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Harry Potter series, and others. Will we recommend this film to you? Hands down, yes. But just tolerate the dialogues by keeping your eyes wide open for the stupendous VFX. My rating is purely for Ayan's vision and the efforts he has put in to create Brahmastra!

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