Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva

The events that have happened with the development of the film Brahmastra are quite exciting. The idea of a superhero movie by Ayan Mukerji was in the news around 2014, and the movie was officially announced in 2017. Several production delays happened, and the pandemic delayed it indefinitely. And finally, when it was all set for a release, the boycott campaigns got momentum. I am saying all these sine-wave-like ups and downs of this movie’s production journey because it is impossible to ignore the influence of the chaos outside this film when you are viewing and reviewing Brahmastra: Part One- Shiva.

Ayan introduces us to this Astraverse with this film. There are many Astras in this universe, and Brahmastra is the Astra of all Astras. Our hero, Shiva, knows that he has a weird equation with fire, and he later learns that he himself is Agneyastra. The movie deals with the series of events that happen in Shiva’s life when he has these random visions about a group of people going after people to get the broken pieces of Brahmastra. The history of Brahmastra and how Shiva is connected to the whole thing is what you get to witness in this Ayan Mukerji film.

The movie is far from perfect, and I would even say that it is an easily forgettable film. But I will have to admit that despite being loud and cheesy whenever someone uttered a line in this film, Brahmastra felt very engaging. The weird thing that happened with the movie, in my opinion, was that it disappointed me in the areas where I was hoping Ayan would score, and it impressed me a lot in segments where I thought there would be compromises. Ayan Mukerji is someone who reduced the cringe element from the typical Yashraj Dharma-style movies. YJHD is still my go-to movie whenever I feel like watching an easy yet emotionally relatable film. So, when it was announced that Ranbir would be playing the lead role in an Ayan Mukerji superhero film, I was hoping to see some cool talks. But to my surprise, despite having Hussain Dalal as the dialogue writer, the dialogues in Brahmastra were awfully cheesy, even by Ayan Mukerji standards.

What worked for me in the movie was the visual effects. I know some of you may say it was an explosion of colors. But the color richness in Brahmastra had a solid reason, and it wasn’t like those Rohit Shetty films where he might even paint the road yellow to make the frame colorful. While the details Ayan unveils about the characters in his Astraverse look very compelling, the spoonfeeding level broad-stroke presentation of those details will bother you. The efforts to incorporate love into the picture through various elements make way for far too many cheesy dialogues.

Ranbir Kapoor is playing Shiva in his typical style, and there isn’t much unique about Shiva that makes him different from other characters Ayan has given Ranbir. The acting chops of Ranbir help the movie reduce the awkwardness created by the amateurish lines Hussain Dalal has written. The same was the case with Alia Bhatt, as the film rarely challenges her range as an actor. Amitabh Bachchan understandably plays the Guru character. Mouni Roy is burdened with the responsibility of playing the only antagonist in the movie, and I must say that she was able to cover up the dullness of the script to an extent. Nagarjuna, as the sculptor, played this extended cameo-like character. Shah Rukh Khan is on a cameo schedule these days, and in Brahmastra, the character he played had a significant role.

Ayan’s vision for the trilogy is indeed fascinating. The Astras in our mythology are great material to create something like a home-grown universe, and Ayan uses that to establish the concept. The problem is with the nuances in writing. As a writer, he underestimates the audience greatly. There are areas in the script where you will feel like questioning the intelligence of the killer group. These guys have the power of Astras, and yet they can’t find a particular location. And there is even a moment when Alia’s character Isha threatens to throw the piece Brahmastra from a cliff. Every time Shiva or people around him gets emotional, the movie goes to that cringe zone. It was actually the visual effects that exceeded my expectations which made me forget the flaws in the writing. Pritam’s music actually does a better job than those dialogues in depicting the emotional layer of the movie.

What was, in a way, surprising for me was the fact that despite being lengthy and also having all these cringe-worthy dialogues, Brahmastra: Part One- Shiva never felt like an exhausting or boring film. I know the movie is off to excellent numbers at the box office, and I really hope Ayan Mukerji won’t mistake it as a complete acceptance. With anecdotes about Shiva’s origin and the introduction of the character Dev, I think Ayan has managed to generate curiosity around his trilogy. If a sequel happens, I hope I won’t have to use the word cringe the way I have used it in this review.

Final Thoughts

Ayan's vision for the trilogy is indeed fascinating. The problem is with the nuances in writing. As a writer, he underestimates the audience greatly.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.