Romantic track douses much of this Astra's fire l Brahmastra Review

by: Amit KumaR Agarwal

The success rate of cinema in the 70's was 37% reduced to 20% in 80's and 90's and a mere 10% in the 2000's. A reason many trade-pundits often cite for the dismal trend is that the films do not pack in all the ingredients. They are wrong, the correct statement is, the films fail to pack in all the ingredients in the proper mix. Brahmastra is the best example, almost all the ingredients are there, romance, emotion, action, comedy, songs but they are not mixed properly. As a result, the romantic track seems force-fit, breaks the rythm of the film, fails to evoke the right emotions. Rendering the effect of this astra on the audiences feeble; not as strong as it ought to be.
Brahmastra builds a story on the ancient Indian history of the various astras mentioned in the sacred Indian texts - the most powerful of them all is Brahmastra. Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor), a modern, fun-loving orphan, falls madly in love with Isha (Alia Bhatt). It is revealed Shiva has a special connection with one of the elements - fire. He also doesn't get burnt by fire. He has strange flashes of people being attacked by an evil trio led by Junoon (Mouni Roy). The events lead him to an ashram in the Himalayas where all his questions are answered by Guru ji (Amitabh Bachchan) including the revelation of his mother and father.
On the paper the story is full of goosebumps, but the writing pulls the film down, particularly the romantic track. The dialogues written by Hussain Dalaal, at places make no sense. In many romantic scenes they are repetitive. For example, a killer is behind Shiva and Isha, Shiva instead of pulling her inside the gate to safety, starts mouthing romantic dialogues. This is only one instance of bad dialogues. Characters too lack clarity. Brahmastra is in three parts, the people entrusted with the first two parts are shown as easily fallible; why were they selected in the first place of all the members of Brahmaansh? Junoon that kills the two, her powers are not fully established, to contrast the powers of two.
Again, in the climax, Shiva tells that he can't kill the opposing forces because of Kaali Mani having the element of fire. Two minutes into the film, Shiva is killing them all. How? It is simply a case of lazy writing and a screenplay of convenience.
The film could have a strong emotional connect but Ayan Mukherji fails to build it up.
Amitabh Bachchan lives the role of Guru ji, as does Ranbir Kapoor the role of Shiva. Alia Bhatt is good as Isha. Mouni Roy is pretty effective as Junoon. Though as mentioned, Guru ji's and Junoon's character needed to be built up to aid the character of the protagonist for an effective resolution. Technically the film is mounted very well, aided by convincing VFX.

Viewers get a fleeting glimpse of Deepika Padukone as Amrita (Shiva's mother) and if rumors are to be believed, Ranveer Singh will play Dev (Shiva's father) in part two of the trilogy, Brahmastra Part 2 - Dev. If Shamshera hadn't happened, a better option would've been Ranbir Kapoor - evil Ranbir versus good Ranbir! 
After two successful films, Ayan Mukherji is just about ok here, he fails to engage the audiences fully in the film as a director. On the whole Brahmastra is an average film that will fail to live up to the mammoth expectations box-office had from business point of view. Irrespective of the box-office fate (with all the fickle attribute post the pandemic) part 2 and part 3 will release - whether directly on OTT or theatrically is what remains to be seen.