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BRAHMASTRA - An over-stuffed visual extravaganza that gives no emphasis to its writing. (Review by Bobby Sing)

10 Sep, 2022 | Just In / Movie Reviews / 2022 Releases

The basic difference between filmmaking in the South and the Hindi film industry can easily be discovered while watching Brahmastra Part One: Shiva - an overstuffed and tiring fantasy thriller. While South cinema extensively works in the writing department post finalizing an exciting subject (as recently seen in Karthikeya 2). Hindi cinema just stops at the choice of subject & doesn’t care about the writing and the script, largely relying upon its evident star enigma and the questionable promotional gimmicks. That’s exactly where it seriously suffers and falters, brutally disappointing the viewers, desperately looking for a major box office success. 
After the recent, unexpected debacle of Laal Singh Chaddha, Brahmastra was being projected and awaited as a mega venture with all the possibilities of becoming an industry saviour. Sadly, this disappoints even more than LSC, which at least had a subtle display of emotions. Brahmastra's trailer had raised some serious doubts, but the final product wasn’t expected to be such a colossal mess, entirely relying upon its scale, VFX department and star attraction, simply ignoring the writing and script progression. In fact, storytelling is nowhere to be found in this hyped extravaganza, that even doesn’t get benefitted from the presence of Ranbir, Alia, Nagarjuna and Amitabh, four stalwarts of the industry known for their exceptional skills. Here, the lead actors contribute nothing significant on the screen, strongly pointing towards the film’s unimpressive direction.
The beginning right away gives you an idea about its poor writing and this is one of the rare films (probably the first), that straight away commences with a cameo and that too of one of the biggest stars of the Hindi film industry, Shah Rukh Khan – rediscovering his identity of a scientist, Mohan Bhargav from Swades. (Frankly this is not any spoiler any more).

As a norm, a cameo is purposefully placed to lift the script, pleasantly surprising the viewers at a crucial time. But Brahmastra, annoyingly breaks the logical format and kills all the thrill and charm found in such exciting cameos. This long opening sequence also weirdly looks like a part of a dubbed film with repeated references of Bandar, Gainda, and Cheeta in the assigned dialogues. And then we get introduced to a loud Mouni Roy who does a similar act as seen in her tacky VFX-loaded TV serials.
The first 15-20 minutes put you in serious doubts about what to expect next and the film sincerely proves them right in its remaining two hours. Taking along many forced religious and mythological references, the director quickly moves on to a typical Dushhera festival song with an opening Punjabi phrase “Mainu Chadheya Dance Ka Bhoot Chadheya”. So, a mythology-based Hindi film titled Brahmastra also requires a Punjabi flavour song to be precise. Anyway, the next formulaic insertion is the romance, which completely remains plastic in both its appearance and feel (forcibly adding an orphanage and kids), hurriedly declaring Ranbir and Alia as the eternal couple. As a result, the potential plot of a group of people preserving the astras since generations soon gets lost in the confusing narrative.
Though everything runs at a brisk pace without any convincing appeal, it remains bearable in the first half that ends with the best scene of the film–the introduction of Amitabh Bachchan. But then, post this engaging sequence, the film nose dives with an amazing speed and remains unstoppable heading towards the climax with an overdose of VFX-laid action sequences, stressing upon fire as the key element. The loud background score fails to grab the attention but a proud announcement certainly does, declaring the sequel - as if the first had a highly engaging mystery revolving around the ‘Brahmastra’.
This was the film, every well-wisher of the industry, sincerely wished to deliver with some solid worth praising content and performances. However, Brahmastra not even comes closer and is one of the weakest projects of Dharma Productions and Ayan Mukerji, also missing the chartbuster songs in its average soundtrack. At the cost of high-priced tickets, it is a strictly avoidable fare but the starving audience might get wooed by the grandeur and visual delight the film offers as a mega big screen venture. It particularly will appeal to the viewers who love to watch Marvel fantasy movies revolving around the superheroes (with no emphasis on the story whatsoever). Personally speaking, the interval sequence was the only one providing the exciting entertainment for me and rest just failed to generate any kind of similar impact.
Plus, in the end all the mythological references seem to be added as a major afterthought, reshaping the entire project. Perhaps, they started conceptualising with a different superhero premise but then changed the direction, establishing a connection with Indian religious and mythological references, catering to the new social and political scenario in the country.  
Overall, Brahmastra can only be seen if you are simply interested in watching VFX generated brightly lit screens with clashes between the superheroes and villains coming at every ten minutes along with flashy display of fireworks and nothing else. But in case you are interested in content, then there is a lot to be watched on OTT in various languages and this can also be seen after a few weeks. 
Besides, if you are really interested in watching an entertaining Indian film, beautifully establishing its relation with strong religious and mythological references, then do watch the recently released Telugu film Karthikeya 2 and feel the bliss and warmth of Lord Krishna.

Karthikeya 2 successfully walks on the same path and delivers, where Brahmastra keeps struggling lost in its visual grandeur.
So as always the choice is all yours.
Rating : 2 / 5

Note 1 : Wonder why a film in Hindi language, opts to have its captions on screen only in English, such as “A few days later”, with no accompanying line in Hindi. Maybe the makers have an interesting answer for that.

Note 2 : The last major success at the box office in Hindi cinema was another mediocre movie as a sequel of Bhool Bhulaiya. If this also becomes a success then Bollywood would find itself stuck in the same age old dillemma of average films with the big stars working and the better films not finding any takers or support from the exhibitors. Perhaps that is the destiny of Hindi cinema since last few decades. 

Tags : Brahmastra Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi films reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing
10 Sep 2022 / Comment ( 2 )

An honest review n well meaning warning in the notes. Kudos Bobby ji for this review. I am waiting to watch a good movie in theater n wait continues.

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot Poornima for your supportive comment.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.

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