Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva Review: A visual delight which is too romanticized.

While watching Brahmastra: Part One-Shiva, there has to be a firm suspension of disbelief not for the special effects but for how the film’s protagonist(Shiva) is introduced. 

Brahmastra is a fantasy adventure film directed by Ayan Mukherjee, who previously made Wake Up Sid(2009) and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani(2013)

Before the beginning of the narrative of Brahmastra, there is a comic introduction about the existence of the ancient Indian Astras.  

There is a superstar cameo in the very first frame of the plot, which takes on the forces of darkness. The protagonist Shiva (played by Ranbir Kapoor), is introduced at a Durga Puja Pandal in Mumbai, where he dances to the song Dance ka Bhoot and soon encounters Isha(played by Alia Bhatt), who becomes his love interest, and soon they fall for each other. Shiva is an orphan and Dj who loves an ordinary life, but his journey is destined to be extraordinary. His life’s mission has been to find his parents and a companion. Shiva has been experiencing mysterious things since his childhood. He gets nightmares about supernatural things, and even fire doesn’t burn him as he thinks he is connected to it somehow. Isha comes from affluent family background. She meets him at a party where Shiva is DJ.

Ayan creates an ‘Astraverse’ (a universe of ancient supernatural weapons) eminently rooted in the critical events of Hindu mythology, and Brahmastra is the most potent indestructible weapon. It has the power to destroy the world, so since ancient times till date, there has been a secret society called ‘Brahmansh’ whose sole motto is to protect Brahmastra from evil forces. Brahmansh is led by Guru(played by Amitabh Bachchan), who wields Prabhastra(weapon of light). Then there is Anish Shetty(played by Nagarjuna), who wields Nandiastra(a weapon with the power of thousand bulls) and many more. The astras are in the form of objects, so whoever wears them can control them. But Shiva is the only one who is an Astra in the form of a human (Agniastra- weapon of fire). 

There are a lot of western references in the movie, like Shiva’s character. He is an orphan, has extraordinary powers and gets nightmares like Harry Potter. In the narrative, he discovers Brahmash and Guru, where Brahmansh is like Hogwarts and Guru is Dumbledore. Then his journey towards Brahmastra, where there are evil forces to deal with on his way, just like Frodo did in Lord of the Rings. Shiva’s character has a lot of things, but there are none in Isha’s character. She is just a companion who travels with him everywhere, and we can often see her calling ‘Shiva’ several times in the film. There is not even a single dialogue for her which could be memorable. I wonder how she trusts him in their first few meets so much that she falls for him and travels with him anywhere. And what about her siblings and Shiva’s friends, who appeared in the beginning and then just vanished? And why a man having a superpower armed with human-made weapons, and why does he need to use a gun to attack? 

The Durga Pandal and the crowd dancing with Shiva on Dance ka Bhoot make me wonder where this place could be in Mumbai. 

Shiva and Isha are referred to as Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati. Their love story angle has more screen time which doesn’t work most of the time. The primary first half of the story is given about them. What does not work for me in this narrative is the love story angles of the narrative. 

The special effects make the visuals look stunning. The cinematographers’ lenses leave no camera angle. Every frame is a visual treat. The astras take their form, and the action sequences are incredible.

Pritam’s songs go well on Spotify and youtube more than in the film. Kesariya and Deva Deva work well in the narrative. Deva Deva song with a montage of Shiva learning to control his power and explore them. The lyrics of this song contrast well with the story and visuals. But Kesariya feels good but also lengthy at some point. Dance Ka Bhoot is nothing but an entertainment trail, and it doesn’t even fit for a Durga Puja event.

Due to its heavy visual effects and concept, Brahmastra deserves to be a theatrical experience.