For a film that speaks so much about the different ‘astras’ in the universe, the one that it desperately lacks is the most crucial one of them all—the ‘scriptastra’. When Ayan Mukerji argued that the story was inspired by Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings and the Marvel Comics Universe, he failed to tell us just how “inspired” he really meant. 

For a country that grew up on Koi Mil Gaya and only recently witnessed VFX-heavy films like Baahubali and RRRBrahmastra Part One: Shiva is really the new benchmark. But it begs the question: can special effects—in all shades of red and blue—make up for a colossal lack of a story? Even with a full Shah Rukh Khan cameo? Here’s all we thought of the Ranbir Kapoor Alia Bhatt-starrer. 

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Credit: Dharma Productions, Star Studios, Prime Focus, Starlight Pictures

What we thought of ‘Brahmastra Part One: Shiva’ 

1. A storyline that is devoid of any real ‘astra’ 

After spending a whopping budget of INR 410 crores and six years in the making, the film lacks any real depth or substance. Shiva, played by Ranbir, is a DJ who meets Isha aka Parvati aka light, at a Durga Puja pandal. 

Let’s remind readers that when we say pandal, it’s not your typical local puja pandal—this is Ayan’s pandal of extravagance with 100 feet idols and a raging dance party. 

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Credit: Dharma Productions, Star Studios, Prime Focus, Starlight Pictures 

Although Shiva only spots Isha for a fraction of a second, he is convinced she is his soulmate. Here is where problems begin. 

2. Isha kaun hai, kya hai?!

After a cringey and borderline stalkerish meet-cute moment, Isha, despite her attempt at being individualistic, is nothing more than Shiva’s dangling toy. Her dialogues, her acceptance of Shiva’s powers and her willingness to sacrifice everything scream ‘stupid’ but we are made to believe it because pyaar mein aisa hi hota hai, am I right? 

We are told—some in actual sequences, others in background narration—that there are several ‘astras’ in the world. All of which are individually guarded by other superheroes like Shiva. However, “something is up” with the balance of this universe and a danger seems to be coming—which by the virtue of Ranbir being in the lead, is his responsibility and Isha’s by choice. (Pyaar guys, pyaar!

3. Mouni Roy is ‘Junoon’ is ‘Naagin’

Mouni Roy’s presence as ‘Junoon’ is all red laser eyes and growly voice, something that we’re thinking Ayan finalised after seeing her perform in Naagin. It’s the same character but with bigger production values and, hence, a lot more bearable than the television version. 

4. Some wasted cameos and a loooong climax

A lot of fight sequences glorified by VFX later, we reach the abode of all of these “good” superheroes where Amitabh Bachchan is the guru and a wild Dimple Kapadia is a helicopter-flying badass. We wish she had more screen time than the few seconds we get to see her. 

The climax of the film nosedives with the sequence stretching not just for too long but taking our patience along with it. We are given context about Shiva’s origin—a confluence of Amrita and Dev—but it’s too little too late. 

The ending sequences are a battle for the better VFX editor—blue and icy shades to the left and red, fire tones to the right. Junoon, Shiva, Guruji and the clan work hard to keep Junoon away from the ‘Brahmastra’ but fail with Junoon being the 6th, maybe 8th, person to fall off of a cliff to their death. Itna hi easy tha to phek diya hota, yaar! 

5. The dialogues and back stories 

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Credit: Dharma Productions, Star Studios, Prime Focus, Starlight Pictures

One frustrating aspect of the film that gnaws at your mind are the dialogues. It keeps you wondering whether people genuinely talk like this, rendering the scenes immaturish. 

For example, when Isha finds out Shiva can tame fire, her reaction is “Tumne mujhse yeh baat kyun chupayi? Mujhe bola kyun nahi?” Like bro, calm down! This is what you have to ask when you find out your partner is a superhero? I would’ve totally lost my marbles, wouldn’t you?

Not just the dialogues, the backstories of the characters and their lives are sacrificed every couple of seconds for the sake of continuity. Isha was apparently visiting from London, had a cousin, grandfather… but in the few minutes after she falls in love with Shiva, all is forgotten. There’s no mention of them till their credits appear on the end screen. Ouch! 

The same behaviour is meted out to Shiva’s friends as well. Why do directors and scriptwriters do this? We’re not sure. 

The costumes, screenplay and cinematography

redit: Dharma Productions, Star Studios, Prime Focus, Starlight Pictures 

Brahmastra is heavy on mood lighting, opting for darker tones when Junoon is around and lighter hues for symbolising the power of goodness. Additionally, Isha’s wardrobe is too glam for anyone to take it seriously. She’s in backless dresses and floral maxis while Shiva is trying to control his fire power. The overtly stylised characters make the plot even more unbelievable. 

Additionally, Ayan’s big ticket—milking Ranbir and Alia’s chemistry—is also a pretty thanda affair. That crackling chemistry was definitely amiss with Alia looking like a smitten fan throughout. Dare we mention Deepika here? 

The final conclusion 

redit: Twitter/TaranAdarsh 

While the film falters in a number of crucial aspects, we have to admit that it’s still a very new and innovative concept by Mukerji. His attempt to bring together India’s rich mythology with the current superhero trend is a lofty one that deserves at least a one-time theatre experience. We appreciate the effort. 

The cameos and songs also work in the favour of the film, although I am not sure if audiences still have the patience to sit through 5-7 minutes of choreographed dance routines. I desperately wanted to fast-forward. However, all in all, Brahmastra is a film that needed more thought-even after six long, long years. 

Have you watched the film? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. 

Lead and social image Credit: Dharma Productions, Star Studios, Prime Focus, Starlight Pictures 

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