Bramhastra : This Astraverse Needed More Finesse

There is a lot riding on Ayan Mukherjee’s Bramhastra, with many expecting it to be the savior for Bollywood. A chief attraction for Bramhastra apart from its visual grandeur is the coming together of its two leads Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. The addition of Amitabh Bachchan and Nargarjuna among others has also helped in heightening the buzz.

Bramhastra begins with the booming voice of the legendary Amitabh Bachchan. He introduces you to the secret society of rishis known as the Brahmansh. This Brahmansh possess the powers to control the different astras, the most powerful of these astras are the Bramhastra which was broken into three pieces 30 years ago. After setting up the premise the location shifts to Delhi where we are introduced to the scientist Mohan Bhargav played by the dashing Shah Rukh Khan, Mohan possess the vanarastra. The portion of Shah Rukh is small but the actor draws you in with his charm. Junoon (Mouni Roy) is the queen of darkness who wants a piece of Bramhastra. From here we cut to the film’s actual hero Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor) Shiva is seen worshipping in a Durga temple. His eyes fall on a beautiful young woman Isha (a luminous Alia Bhatt). It is love at first sight. Shiva is a DJ with no blood family; Isha on the other hand is a rich young woman. In between the romance Shiva keeps having strange dreams. Shiva has a connection with fire which he cannot explain. This is just the basic synopsis. Saying anything more wouldn’t be appropriate.

There is no denying that Ayan Mukherjee sets up his story well. The voice over of Amitabh Bachchan along with Shah Rukh’s presence does add a certain intrigue to the plot. The foundation of the love story between Ranbir and Alia is rather cliché but both the actors do bring in their real life chemistry. Some of their conversations do bring a smile on your face particularly in the first half.

The Varanasi portions featuring Nagarjuna definitely add a thrill element. A scene which deserves a particular mention is the chase sequence in the hills. This chase sequence raises your heartbeat and you desperately want Shiva and Isha to come out safe from the clutches of the villain.

The interval bang raises expectations with the arrival of Amitabh Bachchan but it is from the second half that the film starts derailing. The real life story of Shiva and how he is connected to this astraverse is way too complex for a common man to understand. The romantic bits in the second half also come across as major speed breaker, only adding to the already exhaustive length of the film.

The climatic fight between Shiva and Junoon is also way too stretched, you feel like you have fought a battle yourself. The climax scene although intense and well acted doesn’t have the required emotional connect.

Ayan also does a poor job in developing the secondary characters. The best examples of this are the characters of Dimple Kapadia and Amitabh Bachchan. Nagarjuna in his shorter screen time has far more of an impact than Amitabh Bachchan. Bachchan’s character is mostly reduced to making Shiva realize his powers. Mouni Roy as the primary antagonist has an arresting screen presence.

Coming to the leads both Ranbir and Alia do the best that they can do with the written material. The good thing about Alia’s Isha is that she is always in the thick of action and does get a lot of screen time; however the character could have done with some agency instead of just making Shiva’s mission her mission. Badru in Darlings with all its contradictions had far more agency than this one. The same applies to her small part in RRR where she at least had that one scene with Junior NTR.

Pritam’s music is pleasing to both the eyes and ears. My favorites among the songs are Kesariya, Deva Deva and Rasiya. But the background score though is far from pleasing. Bramhastra ends with the tease of the second part but that makes the audiences more apprehensive than excited.

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