Kudos to Ayan Mukerji to have the courage and convince the veterans for a film of this magnitude. Thus far we have only seen the experienced story tellers (read Rajamouli) venture into something that can only be imagined. Translating one’s imagination into a narrative / story and that too on the cinema medium is a herculean task that only filmmakers would understand. As for people sitting out there with a tub of popcorn and a soft drink in hand, it is very easy to trash a film and demean someone’s efforts. Not that the audience should not criticize but then it should be subjective. Have you ever tried to click that ‘perfect photograph’ and earned appreciation from all those who have seen your pics? Think about it.
We have been exposed to unlimited global content these days and one might compare or refer to stuff seen earlier. Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra is a work of fiction influenced from mythological stories heard while growing up. It is supposed to be a trilogy with ‘Shiva’ being the first part followed by ‘Deva’ and then a third one.
Brahmastra begins with an introduction voice over (Amitabh Bachchan) to the concept and reference to the title of the story. In ancient India, a group of sages in the Himalayas collide with the energy Brahm-shakti, which produces many celestial weapons of great power called astras. The strongest among them being the Brahmāstra that has the capacity to even destroy the world. The sages use their respective astras to tame the unstable Brahmāstra and become the Brahmānsh, a secret society to protect the world from the powers of astras leading unto the current times.
We are introduced to ‘Shiva’ (Ranbir Kapoor) a DJ by profession who performs at large events and lands at an event where he sees Isha (Alia Bhat) and falls head over heels for her. Soon, Isha, realises that Shiva is no common man and it is revealed that he has some connection with fire; he does not get hurt with fire. Shiva gets visions that disturb him and he is unknown to what he is going through. One such vison, that Shiva sees, is of a female who is there to kill a scientist and hunting to kill an artist, to take possession of something mysterious! Shiva gets engulfed into the maze only to find that the two had mystical powers. Through the turn of events Shiva along with Isha reach Guru (Amitabh Bachchan) in the Himalayas and it is revealed to Shiva that he too possesses some powers and the vision that he gets is about their nemesis Junoon (Mouni Roy), who is wanting to get her hands on Brahmastra, now broken into three parts. Once the three pieces are affixed with each other, it would become the Brahmastra. How Shiva adjusts himself to the fact that he possesses the power of the Agnyastra; is Junoon successful in her mission to get the Brahmastra or the Brahmānsh’s succeed in protecting it from Junoon forms the narrative of the film.
Ayan Mukerji’s Brahmastra is a visual spectacle. The very first song – Shiva’s introduction song – ‘Dance Ka Bhoot’ is captured in a style one seldom gets to see in Hindi cinema. The visual effects (VFX) throughout the film are spectacular and sets a benchmark for films to follow suit and catch up. However, the narrative is nothing extraordinary and remains in the routine good over evil theme with romance sprinkled in between. Ayan Mukerji could have used the other members of the Brahmānsh to make the movie more engaging and refrain from the ample screen time devoted to the romance and songs. If not all, atleast some backgrounder / action of the key actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Nagarjuna’s characters could have made for an interesting watch and could have set premise for a complete franchise may be called ‘The Brahmānsh’. Ayan has had many stars in the narrative but mostly they are blink-and-you-miss visuals.
Ayan Mukerji, who (reportedly) conceived the idea way back in 2011 and later got such a huge backing (Dharma Productions) could have spent the duration in a crisper narrative, deeper Hindi and may be Sanskrit dialogues (for that mythological impact) and a more engaging story without delving into the romance or other ancillary scenes, which have no relevance to the actual story.
Brahmastra has three songs with lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya and sung by Arijit Singh and Jonita Gandhi – “Dance Ka Bhoot”, “Kesariya” and “Deva Deva” of which the latter two are worth humming, while the first one is a visual treat.
A film like ‘Brahmastra’ did not require any other ‘astra’ like songs and romance to achieve the ultimate effect but instead got diluted. A visually immersive film Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva, with more immersive story and dialogues could have worked wonders and set the stage for a complete franchise à la ‘The Avengers’
Movie: Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva
Director: Ayan Mukerji
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Mouni Roy, Nagarjuna Akkineni, Dimple Kapadia, Shah Rukh Khan among others
Run Time: 167 Mins