Language: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada
Director: Ayan Mukherjee
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Nagarjuna, Shah Rukh Khan, Mouni Roy
Let me begin by mentioning what works in Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva – as there’s not much to say. The film opens with Shah Rukh Khan, who is playing a renowned scientist called Mohan Bhargav, sitting at his house when the villains – Mouni Roy and her two followers come. This is when it’s revealed that Khan is a part of the secret society and is protecting one of the three parts of Brahmastra. It’s SRK’s wit and acting skills that saved the beginning of the film. He is the owner of the Vanar Astra (monkey powers). Mouni Roy as Junoon should also be given credit for playing the best she could, given the cliché and annoying dialogues and the senseless plot. The other positive thing about Brahmastra: Part 1 – Shiva is the songs – Kesariya, Deva, and Dance Ka Bhoot are all peppy and fun.
Oh, if you are wondering what Brahmastra and Astras are all about then you have 2 hours 43 minutes dedicated to explaining the same.
Junoon and her partners Zor and Raftaar capture the scientist and takes away his ‘Payal’. Yes, you read that right. SRK’s Vanar Astra only activated when he wore an anklet. Junoon manages to hypnotize the scientist to know about the second part of the Brahmastra. While all of this is happening, we see a good-looking man running in a red shirt. You guessed it right, it’s our protagonist, Ranbir Kapoor aka Shiva who is a DJ. He reaches the Dusshera pandal to perform for the guests, but it is now when he sees Isha (Alia Bhatt) for the first time. He falls in love by just looking at her. The moment has been captured beautifully, but the scene after that kills the vibe. We suddenly see Ravan burning and some supernatural things happening. This is when we get to know about Shiva’s powers – he cannot burn. This is also when we get to know that the VFX is not at par with what has been marketed by director Ayan Mukherji. This could have been easily brushed under the carpet if Mukherji would not claim to have spent eight years on the film and its VFX. In one of his making videos, he has gone to the extent of comparing Brahmastra’s VFX with that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Shiva is in love with the girl he saw at the pandal, without even knowing who she was. Luck plays a part (or maybe Karan Johar, as he claims) and Shiva meets Isha at a party and she immediately trusts him when he says “Bharosa karna aata hai?” and leaves for another party with him and his friends. Shiva takes her to an orphanage where he lives and was born. Isha is touched by his simplicity and asks him “Kaun ho tum” as if the entire build-up around his character was not enough. Oh, did I miss telling how Ranbir dances on Katrina Kaif’s song Chikni Chameli, only to be joined by Alia Bhatt. That looked unnecessary or maybe Ranbir is giving his exes space in the film. You’ll know why I said this eventually in this review.
While giving a lecture on the importance of light, Shiva starts getting fits as he can see the future. He could see how Junoon and her men killed Mohan Bhargav. He also saw that the second piece of Brahmastra is in Varanasi with a known artist called Anish.
Quick update: The film gets monotonous by now.
Anyway, when Shiva wakes up, he decides to go back to the pandal to find Isha. He tells her about his powers and without even getting scared, Isha encourages him to go to Varanasi to save Anish. Immediately after the song Kesariya, Isha gets to know about Shiva’s power to play with fire. Before anything could be built-up, Junoon and her team also reaches Varanasi. All of them are on a mission to find Anish. Something extremely out of context has been added to this chase. While I understand a film made on such a huge budget would have required money, however, promoting a brand in the middle of an action scene is weird to another level. While looking for the artist, Isha decides to divert the attention of Zor, and to do so, she starts a conversation with him – asking him for his phone to make a call and this is when she suddenly says, “Jio ka outgoing free hai bhaiya.”
We eventually get to know that Nagarjuna has the Nandi Astra, but the irony is that he gets defeated with bullets. What’s the logic now? Why has so much attention been given to guns in the film when everyone has supernatural powers? How can an Astra – the most powerful thing shown in the film can be killed by a bullet?
Well, things (film) don’t end here, I wish it could have.
Shiva and Isha reach the Aashram of the Guru, played by none other than Amitabh Bachchan, using GPS navigation. If it was that simple to find the Aashram, then why is Junoon not able to do so? The film will leave you with many such questions.
Oh, if you are wondering what happened to Anish’s character, then let me tell you, they wasted Nagarjuna for just 2 scenes.
At this stage, we get to know that Zor is the owner of Vanar Astra now. And Zoravar has taken away the Nandi Astra. However, when the couple reaches the Aashram, Shiva can kill Zor with his power to burn when the latter tries to attack isha.
Amitabh Bachchan’s character is reduced to being a mere Guru with no agenda, whatsoever.
I feel the Mahadev serial, starring Mohit Raina, probably has a better storyline.
The Guru tells Shiva about his powers and his parents – Dev and Amrita. He narrates a tale of the battle between love and responsibilities. His father is the owner of Agni Astra, just like him while his mother Amrita is the owner of Jal Astra. She had hidden the Brahmastra pieces from her husband as he wanted to become the owner of Brahm Astra and that would have killed the entire universe.
Now, here’s why I said, Ranbir is giving space to all his exes and probably their respective partners. Amrita in the second part of Brahmastra will be played by Deepika Padukone and Dev will be Ranveer Singh. We get a glimpse of her in the first part of Brahmastra.
The last sequence of the film – a battle between Shiva and the secret society and Junoon and her gang is the ultimate deal breaker. The entire scene is to show how Shiva decides to take over Junoon with the help of a lighter but eventually learns to light fire without any help. The dialogues are cliché and annoying – “marne k baad uss paar dhoond lena”, “Agar kuch kia to mein Brahmastra fek doogi”, “maut aaegi to pehele meri…” I can go on and on…
Even after Junoon joins all three pieces of Brahmastra, the world doesn’t end, but thankfully the film does. But before that Ayan shows how love can conquer anything and just because Shiva was ready to sacrifice his life for Isha, the world is not coming to an end.
At the end of the film, the makers announced Brahmastra – Part 2: Dev, and that made my heart sink. I cannot bear another torture. The VFX of the film is undoubtedly better than what we have seen, but not at par with what was promised. The dialogues are cliché, Ayan Mukherji has wasted the skills and popularity of Shah Rukh Khan, Nagarjuna, and of course, Amitabh Bachchan. Mukherji needs to be applauded for his vision but I feel he forgot to edit the film. It could have been reduced to at least 30 minutes. Brahmastra – Part 1: Shiva is an apt film for a 4-year-old or maybe even they are more sensible. Ayan Mukherji promised better.