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Brahmastra review: VFX-heavy Ranbir-Alia starrer unfolds a grand vision

Brahmastra review: VFX-heavy Ranbir-Alia starrer unfolds a grand vision

Brahmastra review: This Ranbir-Alia movie bets big on its visual elements and the overall plot. VFX is the one thing that binds this spectacular film together.

Brahmastra review: Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt's movie is big on VFX and action Brahmastra review: Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt's movie is big on VFX and action

Let’s cut to the chase. All boycott calls and controversies aside, the question for the Rs 450-crore superhero extravaganza, ‘Brahmastra Part One: Shiva’, is whether it is worth your time. The answer is mostly yes with a chance of no. 

Just for the naysayers, let’s begin with the positives. Ayan Mukerji’s directorial showcases his grand vision. The first part of the trilogy lays the groundwork, but also throws us into the world of Shiva, which he can’t just yet make much sense of. He has an unexplained “connection” with fire – complete with flashes of his past and all. In the beginning he has visions, but does not seem very perturbed by it, since he jumps into a song-and-dance sequence seconds later. It is during the said song-and-dance sequence that he sees Isha, who would later go on to become his partner in crime, and his partner in life.  

Much of the first half is spent introducing the audiences to the astras and the individuals who wield it, part of the Brahmansh – all still unbeknownst to Shiva. He knows bits and parts of the grand scheme but cannot fathom the enormity of it. The universe is under a dark threat and at the centre of it is the Brahmastra that must be under the control of Brahmansh. 

To make them – and us – explain how it works, Mukerji uses the tried and tested charms of bigwigs like Nagarjuna and Shah Rukh Khan as members of the Brahmansh. Now for Shah Rukh Khan fans, his sequence would probably be the highlight of the movie – as it was for me. It was nothing short of what Bhuvan felt when he saw the rain clouds and started singing ‘Ghanan Ghanan’. 

SRK’s Mohan Bhargav is a scientist – a nod to a much finer and humbler movie called Swades – but also wields an astra, and quite a tricky and wily one at that. Nagarjuna’s Anish Shetty is an architect, who wields an astra too that has a connection with Lord Shiva. Amitabh Bachchan is the Guru – quite literally as he explains the war and the players to Shiva and Isha, and to the audience.  

Moving on to the other finer factors in the movie – Alia Bhatt. Bhatt has been given some surprisingly lame dialogues (we will get back to that). But to actually see her owning those and doing more than justice to her role, while looking perfect in every scene can only be credited to talent. She, like in most of her movies, is a delight to watch. 

Her husband-actor, Ranbir Kapoor, too does full justice to the role. But he falls flat in some scenes. 

Speaking of falling flat, dialogues in Brahmastra could be its Achilles’ heel. The dialogues take away much of the excitement and pace that the action choreography and plot builds. The dialogues add nothing, but only take away from the movie. 

Even Ranbir-Alia who have cracking chemistry on-screen are unable to stop the cringefest. Their relationship feels rushed and unbelievable – who in their right minds would go around chasing people with supernatural powers for a guy they met a day before? Who would reveal their deepest darkest fears to a girl they met minutes ago? Who jumps across walls and half-made buildings to go to a party? Apparently Isha and Shiva are that kinda people. Go figure. 

The pace of the movie is not consistent, with some parts of the movie being very slow, while some are fast-paced. Some sequences are extra-lengthy and most of the characters, including Isha are not well fleshed out. You can sugarcoat it and say Isha has agency but when a female lead is built in order for the male lead to achieve his goals, there is not much agency there. Another of Brahmastra's flaws is the lack of nuances, as is usually seen in movies for younger audiences. 

But Brahmastra bets big on its visual elements and the overall plot. VFX is the one thing that binds this spectacular movie together. Much of the movie relies on special effects to lend that extra punch and for the most part it delivers. The second half is a bit VFX-heavy and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and for good reason. 

All things and flaws considered, the vision for Brahmastra is astounding, and not easily seen in Indian cinema. And good part is that they still have two instalments to go to fix their mistakes! So, to answer the question, the movie does deserve a few hours of your time, even if there is a chance of no. 

Also read: Bollywood's Brahmastra: What's at stake for whom in this Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer