So when the whole world (read twiterrati) was going crazy about the ‘Love storiyan’ interruption in ‘Kesariya’, I dint find it misplaced. We’ve seen much worse in song lyrics in the last decade and this was totally acceptable to me. Until today. When in the entire ‘Astraverse’ experience of ‘Brahmastra’ the ‘Love storiyan’ that the lead couple tries to engage in is the only thing that sticks out like a sore thumb. But there is a lot to like about Brahmastra which makes the unnecessary parts tolerable.
THE STORY (NO SPOILERS)
The film starts with Amitabh Bachchan’s voice setting the context of ‘Brahmhansh’. For a film touted as grand as this, the intro is rather direct and plain as though written for Wikipedia. So if you are still settling into your seats and adjusting your 3D glasses, you wont miss much, it is explained many a times later as well. The next 15 mins is dedicated to SRK and his supremacy. Despite the badly written dialogues for him, the screen presence and his contribution to the storytelling raises the expectations for this film higher than what the trailer promised. But soon enough we walk into a much slower and slightly uneventful first half. The hero entry of Shiva, the love at first sight with Isha, the song and dance and some emotional backstory occupy much of the first half. All this amidst the grandeur of opulent sets. The interactions and relationship progress between Shiva and Isha are disturbingly odd. For eg, the first time they meet Ranbir Aka Shiva takes her (Alia aka Isha) to a house party and then disappears, yet when he simply shows up the next day she says things like ‘ Muje lagta hai tum mujse kabhi jhooth nahi bologe’. And by the third meeting she is ready to just pack her bags and walk off to a seemingly dangerous mission with him. All this while the only thing we get to know about Isha’s character is that she is rich. But the film is called ‘ Part1 – Shiva’ so why waste time. Enters the second and another powerful cameo by Nagarjuna. Packed with action and some impressive VFX.
Moving into second half, the writing gets tighter and fast paced. BigB in a pivotal role, takes control of the narrative hereon. It moves from chaotic to dramatic. Finally, he brings some solid purpose to the meaningless wandering of the lead couple. This mythical ‘Dr strange’ like world also introduces some interesting characters. It’s not jaw-dropping but its heavily entertaining.
THE CAST, MUSIC, Etc
Coming to the cast – Everyone except Ranbir perfectly fits into their characters. His overgrown kid, clueless and carefree vibe doesn’t work here. Alia’s role is reduced to someone who is simply in awe of Shiva through the film. Special mention to Mouni Roy who’s consistent bad-ass performance from start to end makes her character the most convincing one.
Also full marks to the background score (songs are blah) and the well-choreographed action. Though the film travels through India, somehow never captures the unique character of the cities. Everything looks alike, either dark or bright.
With a lot of money spent on the visual effects, it does look fantastic, but it remains detached from the story. Characters written without much detail and the constant shift of focus to the love angle which also lacks any depth is what keeps Brahmastra from becoming brilliant. There is hardly any ‘edge of the seat’ suspense or sense of urgency, you watch it all because it looks good, also because its simple and pleasant at all times.
There is no doubt how rich Indian Mythology is, yet Brahmastra doesn’t explore the full potential of the premise it sets. Despite its less -imaginative storytelling, it must be applauded for its technical finesse and bringing us a ‘theatre-worthy’ cinematic experience in Hindi cinema after a while.
Absolutely looking forward to Part 2 and hoping it gets only better from here.
Going with 3/5 Cutting Rating