Readers Write In #485: Feelings about Brahmastra

Posted on September 11, 2022

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By Aman Basha

Venting out my mixed feelings about the biggest Hindi film of the year.

Before all things, Brahmastra must be celebrated and applauded for one reason and one reason alone: it has dealt a death blow to one of the most obnoxious, illogical and irritating trends of all time, where stupid jobless lukkhas keep going on, led by miserable taklas making up all sorts of things and constructing absurdities to make themselves feel important and get their bald man up without browsing through images and videos.

Now that this rant is over, you need not read this as I admit to be an absolutely biased Fan who was just spectacularly happy that his favorite star, the heartthrob of millions, has now, after 4 long years got a part allowing me the pleasure of a whistle, hoot and holler. Celebrating him finally getting the superhero part that he always desired, no matter its length. To those who do not share these emotions, perhaps watching senior romantic stars play glorified supporting roles is worthy of applause. Or even better, that the long delayed sequel to Swades is finally here 🙂

It’s also absolutely hilarious how Ranbir Kapoor seems incapable of escaping the ghosts of his ex-es. A scene involving Alia Bhatt and Ranbir dancing to Chikni Chameli got the loudest guffaws in the theatre. Found the transition from paragraph 2 to 3 too jarring? Don’t fret, I am only following the movie structure where a great opening with a full fledged display of an interesting concept abetted by star charisma is quickly followed by a romance about star crossed lovers which carries the most shocking twist in the film, that the guy who made Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani could make such a laughable nibba level romance (For definition of nibba, refer Lalit Modi gushing about Sushmita Sen).

And there is the fatal flaw of Brahmastra. The Harry Potter it borrows so much from, going from the orphan hero, the mother’s death, the dreams, the secluded school, the Dumbledore-esque figure with a lighter, even the McGonagell figure (surprise cameo), to the astras projecting like patronuses dazzled because of its emotional bedrock. JK Rowling never lost track of characters, arcs and emotions amidst the fabulous world that she had built. The relationships between characters were earned, rooted and made you feel.

The entire premise of Brahmastra is nearly doomed by the lackluster writing and floats purely because of the off screen history and relationship between Ranbir and Alia (I admit, Aloobir is cute). Those lovely wedding photos help make the conceit that Shiva and Isha are meant-to- be-together lovers easier to digest. 

What’s absolute shit are the dialogues. Some of the dialogues were so bad that my eyes popped out and my ears nearly fell off. In fact, some preferred Nagarjuna over SRK simply because the former has very few dialogues. Are the dialogues supposed to be “different”, an attempt to set mythology and lore in a modern world with DJs? Even that doesn’t excuse “roshni light hoti hai”. It’s amusing that Hussain Dalal wrote such complicated urdu for Kalank and writes like a 7th grader here.

These dialogues are salvaged by one and only one individual here, and it’s no prizes if you guess it to be Amitabh Bachchan. The man with his towering baritone is actually saddled with the worst and cheesiest dialogues, yet his default mode as Guru is enough to make sure the film doesn’t crash. It’s lovely to see the OG action hero pick up a sword and go man-o-man like it was the 70s again.

One does come away with the impression that the entire film is one giant setup for a more satisfactory Part 2 & 3, but the novelty of seeing such an attempt in Hindi, a desi MCU for one with such quality special effects makes one appreciative of the effort, even when not always amazed with the output.

The novelty also extends to the villain played by Mouni Roy, who acquits herself very well here (much of it a function of not talking much). The kill count this character amasses is stunning to say the least, making me wonder if there was too much unnecessary shock and surprise by killing off characters with good potential for spinoffs of their own.

To put it short and simple: bringing machine guns into mythology is cool and interesting, describing the Brahmastra as pizza slices is cringe and idiotic. Ayan Mukerji does both here. That leaves you wondering whether to love kesariyan more or hate love storiyan less.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS AND SPECULATIONS

I wonder who the Dev character will be. My friends were hoping for Hrithik, but is it Ranveer (which would be a casting coup for part II) or Ranbir again in a double role? And what of Shiva’s parents? How did Amrita manage to defeat her all powerful lover and break the Brahmastra? How and why did she die? Will he be a Darth Vader with an even bigger boss?

Also the Swades connection. Ayan probably named him Mohan Bhargav as he was an AD on Swades, but the village in Swades is named Charanpur where Ram and Sita were supposed to have stayed. Is it the first time that a character played by the same actor appears in such drastically different genres? Is it really Mohan Bhargav of Swades, if so will we see a prequel about how this scientist ended up in the Brahmansh? Please bring back the Swades heroine, she was so good. Wonder why she never acted again.