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Review: 'Brahmastra Part One: Shiva' is a visual extravaganza that offers conventional genre-breaking premise

Brahmastra is a visual treat that should be experienced on a large screen. It offers you magnificent special effects and a super intriguing story with some elements never seen before.

Published: Friday,Sep 09, 2022 04:45 AM GMT-06:00
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Brahmastra Part One: Shiva

Brahmastra Part One: Shiva

What transpires when a movie that practically took a decade to complete eventually comes out after encountering several challenges, unfortunate circumstances, and a shed-load of editing? The simple answer to this is, Brahmastra happens and how.

So after all the buzz and noise, I finally had the opportunity to see Brahmastra in 3D, a film whose progression would lead to the creation of yet another movie. So this is what one of the most expensive films ever made in India has to offer.

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Plot: Ayan Mukerji's Astraverse

Plot: Ayan Mukerji's Astraverse

The tale of the Astras, or "weapons of the Light," which are derived from substances found in nature, (Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, as well as animal and plant essences), serves as the baseline for the film's journey.

The Brahmstra, the Gods' most potent weapon, has lain inactive for thirty years. When it was last awake, it wreaked havoc on the entire planet. The Brahmansh divided the universe into three sections, dispersed over India, guarded by significant figures. The purpose of a demonic force commanded by Junoon (Mouni Roy) is to assemble the pieces of Brahmastra together in order to dominate the world.

A poor, humble orphan Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor) meets a London-return Isha(Alia Bhatt) and the two start developing feelings for each other.

Shiva's blossoming love is impeded by unexplained, crippling nightmares, and now the striving hero must heed the call as these glimpses get more dramatic, making Shiva set off on an expedition with Isha to discover his destiny.

While the plot concerning the whole astraverse and the fight for Brahmastra with all the elements in action is completely engaging and well structured, the story falters when it comes to depicting Shiva and Isha's love story as it comes with cheeky buildup and conversations, alleviating the gravity of the actual tone of the film.

Direction and Screenplay

Direction and Screenplay

Ayan Mukerji effortlessly merges Bollywood mirch-masala and Western theatrical elements with the concept of Brahmastra, defying genre boundaries. Introducing a concept like this, which is neither a normal love story nor conventional Indian cinema and is steeped in mythology along with ancient mysticism, definitely requires courage.

The genre-breaking premise is what distinguishes and characterizes the grandiose epic "Brahmastra Part One: Shiva" by Ayan.

Establishing the narrative around Dusshera and Diwali, was a smart move as it draws history and traditions into the stew simultaneously anchoring the special effects-driven shenanigans in actuality.

Even with a sense of predictability, few things like Shiva's identity, or the backstory of his mother were kept guarded for a long run.

The film also has sporadic sequencing concerns and occasionally goes overboard the discourse, most notably after the interval.

Some sequences in the climax seem to give a lot in a short span of time, making it exhausting for your mind, but hold up with the grounds of the tale.

VFX and Cinematography being Brahmastra's most powerful Astra

VFX and Cinematography being Brahmastra's most powerful Astra

Well this is for what Ayan Mukerji needs a standing ovation. The VFX is what makes Brahmastra an extravaganza, a spectacle or visual treat, whatever you call it. If this is what we get after 10 years, Mukerji has certainly set a benchmark and ignited a wave for VFX-oriented films in Bollywood.

The visual effects-heavy sequences that portray the characters embroiled in a battle of muscular wit and grit gives the feel of 'desi marvel heros'. Overall, the action choreography is fascinating, inevitably incorporating some heroic landings.

Of course, it seems a bit extra at points, but the attempt to create something magnificent like this in itself is a valiant move.

The cinematography seems to be yet another selling point, be it the drone shots of people celebrating Dussehra, or the tight frames of wounds and marks.

Performances of the titans of entertainment

Performances of the titans of entertainment

The casting in itself is a smart move, since it includes a wide range of actors including a popular young batch of stars who are already adored off screen (Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt), a veteran who needs no introduction (Amitabh Bachchan), a starlet who can never go wrong with negative characterisation (Mouni Roy), a superstar in south who masters the act of kicking asses (Nagarjuna) and of course a surprise cameo by someone who immediately adds charisma and magic as soon as he appears on the screen.

Ranbir Kapoor as Shiva stays in his element throughout and gets the opportunity to perform every emotion.

Alia Bhatt as Isha has it both, the verve and the grace.

But for Alia Bhatt as an actor, a lot more could have been engraved out of her and not limit her acting prowess to a girl who follows her lover fighting his inner instincts.

Amitabh Bachchan has a decent screen presence and as usual delivers his best as a guru. Nagarjuna keeps it natural and his fight sequences are note-worthy. Mouni Roy plays her 'villain card' flawlessly.

Music and Dialogues

Music and Dialogues

In stark contrast, you will loathe the dialogues of the film as much as you have heard 'Kesariya' on loop.

Pritam Chakraborty's music creates an evocative and emotionally rich backdrop for the movie. The album has a blend of romantic tracks to feel-good songs and dance numbers, keeping it manifold.

Dialogues are probably the biggest non-selling part of the film. At times, they are almost too cheeky, which undermines the intended gravity of the situation. The conversations especially between Isha and Shiva might take you on a 'cringe fest'. 'Kaun ho tum', 'Kya ho tum' seems like embarrassing yourself when you hear those words.

The Verdict

In essence, Brahmastra is a visual treat that should be experienced on a large screen. It offers you magnificent special effects and a super intriguing story with some elements never seen before.

Note: Go for a 3D show to feel the intensity of the spectacle.

Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)

Mouni Roy Ranbir Kapoor Ayan Mukerji Alia Bhatt Brahmastra 

Comments (3)

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ChickenSoup 2 months ago Yet another Hollywood rip off. Funny how they were saying this is the first of its kind. The plot is the same as Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
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phadukaran 2 months ago alls while public reviews and some trades are calling it 1 & 1/2 stars, here you are giving 3 plus stars? weird ain't it.!
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samarp2 2 months ago Once it’s gets flop… in few days we can watch it on our tv screens… & in home also people have big tv screens & projectors… can enjoy on that too now a days
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