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‘Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva’ Movie Review: Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt’s Visually Epic Actioner Is Marred By A Forced Love Story

‘Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva’ Movie Review: Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt’s Visually Epic Actioner Is Marred By A Forced Love Story

Outlook rating
3 / 5

Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Mouni Roy, Nagarjuna and Amitabh Bachchan starrer ‘Brahmāstra’s first part in the franchise has finally been released. Is the Ayan Mukerji directorial worth a watch? Read the full movie review to find out.

Alia Bhatt And Ranbir Kapoor In A Still From 'Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva'
Alia Bhatt And Ranbir Kapoor In A Still From 'Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva' Instagram

'Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva': Cast & Crew

Director: Ayan Mukerji 
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Mouni Roy, Nagarjuna Akkineni
Available In: Theater
Duration: 2 Hours 43 Minutes

'Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva': Story

Ranbir Kapoor as Shiva, a DJ learns about his strange connection with the element of fire and also holds the power to awaken the Brahmāstra, a supernatural weapon that is said to be able to destroy the universe. It is said that the 'Brahmāstra' is capable of destroying creation and vanquishing all beings. Shiva falls in love with Isha, played by Alia Bhatt, who also helps him in his quest to search for his parents. Shiva, who is on a journey of self-discovery, soon finds out that there are others as well who have similar strange connections to different elements of nature. The group calls themselves Brahmānsh with Guru, played by Amitabh Bachchan, as their leader. The secret group also has Anish, played by Nagarjuna, who also possesses one of the strongest powers in the group. On the other hand, Junoon, played by Mouni Roy, the queen of dark forces is also on a quest to get hold of the Brahmāstra. How Shiva thwarts and vanquishes Junoon's intentions, and also learns about 'Brahmāstra', forms the crux of the plot. Will Shiva be able to stop Junoon from getting hold of the Brahmāstra? Will Isha be of any help? Will the secret of the Brahmānsh come out to the world in this quest for Brahmāstra? Will the Brahmānsh be able to save the world? Well, for that you'll have to watch the movie. Will Shiva be able to stop Junoon from getting hold of the Brahmāstra? Will Isha be of any help? Will the secret of the Brahmānsh come out to the world in this quest for Brahmāstra? Will the Brahmānsh be able to save the world? Well, for that you'll have to watch the movie. Will Shiva be able to stop Junoon from getting hold of the Brahmāstra? Will Isha be of any help? Will the secret of the Brahmānsh come out to the world in this quest for Brahmāstra? Will the Brahmānsh be able to save the world? Well, for that you'll have to watch the movie.

‘Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva’: Performances

Alia Bhatt comes up with the strongest performance among all. In a story that’s laden with people with superpowers and she being, sort of, the only mortal, she stands out and makes sure that you have to notice her performance. The grit and tenacity that Bhatt brings to the character is something that’s missing in the other characters. Her determination to help Shiva, despite being a muggle, is fantastic. Bhatt has managed to get a perfect combination of a quick-witted girl and a spitfire woman.

Ranbir Kapoor has a charm about himself and every time he picks up any role, he manages to exude that. This time also is no different. But don’t you feel Ranbir has played a similar character arc having daddy issues in the past as well? This character starts off from the same arc, and on the same journey of self-discovery that Kapoor has been doing in ‘Wake Up Sid’, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ and even ‘Tamasha’ and ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. Why can’t his characters have some other backstories? The good part is that his character doesn’t have to live with this throughout 'Brahmāstra' and soon the story goes on to be a hard-core actioner. It’s when the romantic angle ends and this high-end action starts is when you start seeing a different Ranbir Kapoor, and you’re left in awe of him.

It’s hard to believe that Amitabh Bachchan is almost 80. His look is so brilliantly done that he doesn’t look older than probably 60-62. To add to that, the way he carries the character throughout makes you want to watch more of him onscreen. His character is one of the very few whom you would miss whenever he’s not onscreen. The way he delivers every dialogue makes it comes across as witty as well as powerful. In the subsequent parts, there should definitely be more of this character, even if it's in flashbacks.

Good to see Nagarjuna back in Bollywood and that too with such a powerful character. He may have had the least of screen time, but his powerful presence illuminates the screen even in that much time.

Mouni Roy couldn’t have asked for a better character. She is a stunner you’ll not want to miss. She managed to steal the screens every time she was there. However, the vocal modulations that had been done for the character seemed a bit too over the top. Barring that, Roy came up with a spectacular performance. There are parts where you know that she’s on the wrong side, but you would sadistically enjoy that. Roy has brought that combination perfectly where her character is dark, but she is not entirely villainous. There is a believability in her wants, which makes you like the character even if it’s the villain.

‘Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Ayan Mukerji’s script is something that’s the soft spot of the entire film. The love story between Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt seems a bit too forced. The story could have done with both of them just being friends and not a couple who’s madly falling in love. There are little sequences in the movie where you feel that the two are not actually mouthing dialogues but falling in love in real. That’s a great quality to have, but just to highlight their personal romantic story, certain parts of the film seem to have been boosted with a mushy romantic feel, which was absolutely unnecessary. But what’s good is the way Mukerji has managed to amalgamate Indian mythological topics with regular current-day topics. It’s effortless and looks very natural in its essence.

The dialogues by Hussain Dalal are cheesy in epic proportions at times. Not just during the meet cute romantic scenes but even in the heavy-powered scenes where the members of the Brahmānsh meet. Some dialling down of the cockiness of those dialogues would have been great.

Mukerji’s direction is top-notch. Not many filmmakers in India would have managed to hold on to a VFX giant like ‘Brahmāstra’. Every shot is detailed and every scene has been thought of over and over before being finalised. There are hardly any instances where you end up feeling that it’s a cheap rip-off of some Hollywood superhero film. He has got the perfect blend of muscular power combined with wit in every scene, which is a tough balance to have. To add to that, the way in which he has brought in the cameo appearances is superb. I’m not naming the actor so as to not give out any spoilers but in that little cameo, Mukerji has sucked up a great performance.

Pritam is back in his zone. His music is something that’s indeed going to keep playing on discs and parties until the new year. Despite the trolling, ‘Kesariya’ stands out to be the best romantic song of the season – something that you will keep humming for months after you’re out of the theatres.

The best part about ‘Brahmāstra’ is the cinematography. V. Manikandan, Pankaj Kumar, Sudeep Chatterjee, Vikash Nowlakha, Patrick Duroux have shot different parts of the epic journey and yet there are hardly any places where you will be able to notice any change in the tone of the film. Their seamless work is what brings to screen a grandness to the project. Each different aspect of the camerawork has been so well detailed that as a viewer you’re left with a visual spectacle. Superb work guys!

Prakash Kurup’s editing is something that could have been a bit different. There are huge chunks of the movie where the actors are narrating the story. That’s not a great feeling to have in a superhero movie. You want to watch it rather than just listen to a commentary. That could have been changed at the edit table.

‘Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva’: Can Kids Watch It?

Yes

Outlook Verdict

Ayan Mukerji's 10-year labor of love, 'Brahmāstra: Part one – Shiva' is surely going to leave an impact. Despite the forced love angle, the film picks up in being a great actioner laden with superb visual effects. 'Brahmāstra' tries to excel in every department, but it's practically impossible to do that in any film. It ends up making the film a jack of all trades but a master of none. Had Mukerji let go of a couple of things and stuck to the brilliant amalgamation of visual effects and edge-of-the-seat action, this would have been the best film to have come out in the last ten years. Just for the VFX and the high-end action sequences, it's indeed a great One Time Watch. I am going with 3 stars.

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