'Brahmastra: Part One- Shiva', produced by Dharma Productions, Starlight Pictures, and Prime Focus in association with Star Studios, was released in theatres today. Here is the review of the Telugu-dubbed version of the movie.
Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor) is a DJ who has an inexplicable connection with the element of fire (Agni Astra). We are told that he can reinvigorate the Brahmastra, the most powerful supernatural weapon on Earth, a weapon that was brought into existence ages ago and something that is now sought by dark forces led by an evil force named Dev (unseen) and Junoon (Mouni Roy as the Queen of Darkness).
A secret society named Brahmansh is working to stop the designs of the dark forces from being realized. Anish Shetty (Akkineni Nagarjuna) plays an artist who is a member of the Brahmānsh. Shah Rukh Khan plays a scientist. But more than these two characters, Guru (Amitabh Bachchan) has a bigger role at Brahmansh.
How Shiva, his lover Isha (Alia Bhatt) and Guru cross paths and what they achieve against Junoon and her boss is what the second half is about.
Many Netizens and a couple of film critics have already described 'Brahmastra' as an over-expensive laser show. They are obviously taking a dig at the film's VFX heaviness. To be sure, they are too harsh. The visual effects are impressive and definitely do justice to the homegrown fantasy adventure film.
The film's demerits lie somewhere else. It's in the writing and character development. Shiva comes with boyish charm and he doesn't seem as threatening as he should be. He looks barely divine. He is a DJ who dances like a typical Bollywood hero during Dasara. There is nothing about his demeanour that distinguishes him from the usual Hindi film hero.
In 'RRR', SS Rajamouli showed Alluri, a cop working for the British, as a picture of intimidation and danger in the first very scene. Shiva, who must save the Earth, may be unaware of his strengths and destiny, but that doesn't mean you show him as a generic youngster.
'Brahmastra', as a superhero movie, doesn't have the required intensity. Yes, even Hollywood superhero outings don't feature only intense scenes; they actively engage in lightening the mood in different ways. But since 'Brahmastra' is rooted in Hindu mythological themes, the nature of the writing should have been different. Take the case of Brahmansh, its leader Guru and its members. None of them looks self-absorbed. For that matter, even Nagarjuna's character hasn't been designed to look that way.
There could be more to Amitabh Bachchan's character in the second part ('Brahmastra: Dev'), but in this film, his characterization is deficient. There is no urgency in his body language.
Writing action scenes in a superhero movie is considered one of the hardest jobs. The action has to explore all the possibilities. Sometimes, the possibilities are endless and if you tap into them all, the action itself could become impossible to conceive. In 'Brahmastra', one of the bad guys assumes the power to hop like a monkey after getting hold of Vanara Astra. This baddie can jump from Point X to Point Y but not to Point Z in the next moment. Or, at least, the good guys fighting him don't take into consideration his extraordinary powers. This sort of logical flaw is not uncommon in superhero movies. In 'Brahmastra', probably because of the not-so-incredible action choreography, the flaws are glaring.
Chiranjeevi's voiceover, Nagarjuna's presence and the Telugu dubbing try to ensure Telugu nativity.
'Brahmastra' comes with good VFX and bad writing.