Brahmastra Review (SPOILERS): This is What Happens When a Narcissist Makes a SuperHero Movie

Ugh, I did not like this movie. I did not like it so much that I couldn’t sleep last night. So I am writing this review on very little sleep, therefore very grumpy, and hating it even more than my last review when I compared it to vomit. What a fun read this will be for all of you!

Whole “plot”:

Astras are super powerful thingies created years ago, the most powerful of which is the Brahmastra, which is broken in 3 pieces. Ranbir, an orphan DJ in Bombay, has a vision of Evil Mouni Roy torturing Shahrukh Khan until she gets the piece from him and learns the other piece is with Nagarjuna in Varanasi. Ranbir goes to Varanasi along with his love interest Alia, they find Nagarjuna and get the piece from him, he dies protecting them, and then they go to the remote Ashram run by Amitabh who has the last piece. Amitabh trains Ranbir in his Magical Astra Powers and tells him that his parents were Magical Astra Users also. Then evil Mouni Roy shows up, big fight, she gets the last piece and creates the Brahmastra which wakes up Ranbir’s father who has been controlling and directing Mouni this whole time. The end of the world starts, and then Ranbir uses his powers to protect Alia and somehow stops the end of the world? And then the movie is over.

I’ve had all night to think about this, and I think the main problem with this movie is the clothes. I think what they were going for is “look, super powered ancient beings, but they dress just like us!” Only it doesn’t work because they don’t dress like “us”. They dress like a very small specific portion of the world which, in the minds of these filmmakers, is the whole world. And that’s the whole problem with the film.

It’s not just that this movie is blind to other viewpoints, it is blind to being blind. The beauty of film as an artform is that it involves so many creative souls, all working together and bringing out a shared vision. But this film is made by people who cannot imagine anyone existing who is not just like them. And so they dress folks like “everyone” dresses, meaning the way wealthy urban Indian youth dress. And we, the audience, are supposed to go “wow, this person dressed like a normal person has huge powers”. But instead I think “this person dressed like the 1% of society with all the power now has even more power”.

It’s not just the clothes, it’s everything. Everyone speaks Hinglish, everyone goes to cool nightclubs and dance parties, everyone can drive a car, everyone has all their basic needs met and only must be concerned with incidentals. If that is the case, then what is the point of anything? Why should I care if the villain wins or the hero? If the couple stays together? If Ranbir learns how to use his powers? This world is already fixed, the issues are so superficial, so transitory, that there’s no meaning to anything.

Let’s back up and talk about the “astras”. This has always been my least favorite part of Hindu writing, the whole “and then after hundreds of years of devotion, he was rewarded with a super cool magical thing”. It’s my least favorite part because often the super cool thing is just, well, super cool. It doesn’t serve humanity in any great way, it’s just a cool thing. I can accept it as part of a larger philosophy, a larger idea that sacrifice and struggle reap rewards. And most of all I can accept it because I know the “super cool gift of the Gods” is a very very small part of the overall Hindu philosophy. It is about using your gifts in the way determined by Dharma, following overall concepts of society fitting together as a whole and you needing to do the best you can within your place inside it. The super cool weapon thing is just the lightest touch on top of it all. To put it in the simplest way possible, it is not about the weapon, it is about who wields it.

This movie misses that point entirely. First of all, it has this very odd opening concept of “devoted folks prayed and were given Astras by the Gods”. But, which Gods? What Gods? And why did they want the Astras? Heck, why did the Gods have to give them anything in return for their devotion? What is the value system here that we are proposing? I DON’T KNOW!

We get a later story to explain the villain, and the explanation is “he wanted all the Astras, so his girlfriend/fellow Astra warrior fought him”. But why is it bad to want all the Astras? This whole movie is about “ooo, Astras super cool”. And the villain is introduced as “he was super powerful and mastered a lot of Astras”, as though everyone was just cool with that and kind of impressed, until all of a sudden they weren’t cool with it any more.

What’s so frustrating about this movie is that it is not as though the filmmakers decided “oh, I don’t want to deal with that part”, it’s like they were blind to even the idea that maybe they SHOULD talk about what makes Astras good or bad and what their purpose is, besides being cool.

Which brings me to Alia. There were two moments with her character that really stood out to me as “wow, they don’t even think of women as people”. First, when she is getting to know Ranbir, he gives her a whole long story of his parents and his life and his philosophy. And this is when, in a normal conversation, you would say “and who are your parents?” I’m not even talking film dialogue, I’m just talking about how humans work. And Ranbir never asks her. For the whole movie, start to finish, all we know about Alia is that she is from London. I don’t know who her parents are, if she has siblings, if she has a passion in life, what she studied in school, truly NOTHING. That’s remarkable. That takes a shocking amount of blindness to not notice your second lead, the actor with the second most screentime compared to the hero, has a character with no identity AT ALL beyond a name.

The other moment that hit me as I was watching it is later in the film when they are in the middle of a car chase and Ranbir is having visions and doing Astra things. But he is still driving the car. The car stopped, Nagarjuna who was driving got out, Ranbir started having weird vision things, Nagarjuna told them to leave, Ranbir and Alia got in the car WITH RANBIR DRIVING. At first I just laughed, the way you do in movies when the person supposed to be driving the car keeps looking away and doing dumb stuff. But then it hit me, why isn’t Alia driving? It’s a standard thing in action movies, Bang Bang did it, A Gentleman did it, The Bourne Identity did it, the hero has to be fighting and whatever so the heroine has to drive the car. But in this movie, Alia is such a forgotten entity that she is sitting in the car, doing nothing, while Ranbir both drives and has visions, and eventually also fights while driving. To be fair, later in the scene Alia is allowed to drive, but only with Ranbir telling her “faster faster, go go go”, and eventually TAKING THE WHEEL FROM HER AGAIN.

Beyond the “Alia is totally forgotten as an independent being with agency” in this scene, looking back on it the fact that Ranbir is driving is problematic in a different way. How does he know how to drive? His character is supposed to be an orphan raised in the slums surviving by working as a DJ. That is not someone who usually knows how to drive a car. Where is his access to a car? Where is the necessity for him to ever bother learning? But again, the absolute blindness of this film to anything outside of a very narrow area of experience means they cannot conceive of a 30 something cool dude who doesn’t of course know how to drive.

There’s so much blindness around that kind of privilege here. This movie is a great case study for why you should be careful when writing outside of your comfort zone. Ranbir is introduced as a cool DJ who spends Diwali celebrating with a bunch of orphans in the slums because he used to be an orphan himself. But, after the celebration scene, Ranbir takes Alia to his room. Which is a rich young man’s room. Maybe the bed is on the floor and the walls are unfinished, but it’s enormous with space for sitting, playing the keyboard, listening to music, everything. Space is the greatest luxury, we JUST saw a bunch of orphans squeezed into a hallway going to bed in triple bunks, and now Ranbir has this massive private area? And no one involved in the movie even thought about it, because of course your bedroom would be private and huge and include a keyboard and so on.

And of course your remote Himalayan Ashram exists just to teach people (rich English speaking cell phone owning cool clothes wearing people like Us) how to use cool weapons, and not to help the surrounding community in anyway. And of course when the Evil Villain Woman takes over the neighboring village and turns all the men into mindless drones, you only care about saving yourselves and not helping the village in any way. And of course the girl you like falls in love with you for no reason immediately, and of course you were born with the most magical powerful powers of all, and of course you are also a successful DJ instead of any sort of logical job for an orphan, and of course once you have the opportunity to have Magical Powers, you walk away from all the other orphans who were ultimately just window-dressing to your character, and of course to ALL those things.

Because you dress the way “everyone” dresses, and if you aren’t dressed like this, you aren’t a person. Sorry villagers, poor people, old people, children, and anyone else who is trying to exist in your world and thinking it also might belong a little bit to them.

Of course Ranbir’s superhero avatar is just….a bigger version of himself

34 thoughts on “Brahmastra Review (SPOILERS): This is What Happens When a Narcissist Makes a SuperHero Movie

  1. I’m distracted by DJ-ism. It seems like “DJ” is the new favored occupation for all heroes and sidekicks. I didn’t even know it’s a real job and now it seems to employ a major portion of the population. Someday, I hope to meet a real life DJ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect that DJ has become the new profession or hobby of leads because it allows the director to throw in song and dance (and even lip sync) in a diagetic way, or at least in a believable way.

      What’s ironic is that as a “cool job” for the wealthy, there was a brief period post-Napster & pre- Social-Media when ultra rich kids who had no need to work took up DJ as a profession (like Paris Hilton), but since social media those same kids can just be social media stars & brands instead without leaving their mansions. So at least in the West this concept is dated.

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  2. Thinking about your core point, many of the MCU, DCU, and Indian historical and mythological figures came from privilege. Batman comes from generational wealth. Ironman is an industry titan. Kunti was already a queen(?) or at least a part of the society from which queen consorts are drawn (like Lady Di / Princess Diana), Bheeshma was already royalty, Buddha was Prince Siddhartha, e.t.c e.t.c.
    But I think this line from your review hit me the most, “And of course when the Evil Villain Woman takes over the neighboring village and turns all the men into mindless drones, you only care about saving yourselves and not helping the village in any way. “, because that is so anathema to the superhero, whether it he MCU or Hindu. This would never happen in an MCU movie, or if it did, it would become a turning point for the main character. Heck, even in The Boys (Amazon series), an entire episode is devoted to a plane that’s about to crash and the heroes have a crisis of conscience over “the corporation’s” decision to not save the passengers .
    Btw the thing about the man driving the car is very south asian and middle eastern. I recall as a kid, if my parents picked up another couple in their car, the 2 husbands sat in the front and the 2 wives sat in the back – whether kids were included in the drive or not. Even today, it’s India’s poor and working class that takes the role of private driver or taxi driver, yet the profession is entirely men. For many segments of Indian society, seeing the woman drive while the man does “more important things” could be viewed as crude, unchivalrous, or “using” the woman. Ayaan might have wanted to avoid that.
    Another BTW – because of my own childhood programming, I also notice when the woman is driving a man in a movie, though my reaction is cringe. Like, if you are such a super hero or cop or spy, then why does she have to do the grunt work of driving? Didn’t your office or org provide you with a driver? Or if you are so “super”, why can’t you do both at the same time? If ordinary women have to multi task in life – essentially run 3 careers simultaneously (employment, child rearing, and home care)- then why can’t a Super man drive while performing his duties?

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    • YES! While I was writing my review, I was thinking “wait, isn’t this Batman?” But that’s the origin story, right? You come from power, you are given even more power, and then your eyes are opened to those who do not have what you have and you devote your life to serving them. Or often, you come from worldly power, something terrible happens, and it makes you seek out a new type of power in order to fix things worldly power can’t save. Batman and Iron Man, both of them created their superpowers because they hit the limit of their ability to do good with their worldly powers. In a way, it’s a story about the pointlessness of money and so on, because it can’t fix everything.

      The driving the car thing almost makes sense from that perspective, but then it turns into this crazy thing where all she is doing is sitting their screaming and he is doing everything else including driving. It starts out as a “okay, he’s poor and she’s rich, but I can set that asidea nd accept that he is driving on the road trip”, but the action sequence is just too much. And, of course, one of many moments when she just stands there and screams things instead of doing anything because her character can’t ever do anything interesting.

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  3. So I watched the film and while I didn’t hate it as much as you. I really didn’t like it and want this movie to be a flop unless you replace Ranbir in the second movie.

    – I think one of the biggest flaws of the movie is the focus on the terrible love story rather than the actual lore in this universe. For one thing Alia-Ranbir really don’t have chemistry but even beyond that there is no reason why they like each other so much. It would make sense if it was a movie like Raabta, where they have a shared past and the actors have great chemistry it makes sense. See in Harry Potter, which this movie is obviously inspired by Mothers love is what helps Harry survive against even the impossible. It even brings a parallel to Voldemort not having a mother who loved him against Harry who did have a mother who loved him. Here, the love is a flimsy love which is made in 2 days and it makes no sense why it can fight against someone.

    – This is another one of the problems with this movie is the power being awakened makes no sense. For one, how has he never felt his fire power before he met Isha? Also what’s so special about Isha, as Ayan has written her as a paper thin character so I don‘t understand why she‘s there in the movie. It also doesn’t make sense why he can‘t control his dad‘s powers if he has the same blood as him while he can with his mother. There‘s also the dumb fire song where he runs around doing the most dumb things you can do with fire instead of talking about destructive power of fire. Also why do they never talk about a connection with Shiva as Shiva is the lord of destruction while Ranbir wields fire.

    -I mentioned this in the no-spoiler about how no one in Hinduism gets powers without deserving them. Even the villains who get a boon from a god, almost always are people who‘ve medicated for thousands of years and are well trained. Not this joker who just roams around spouting bad dialogues. It just so dumb because they never talk about training, all they do is just have many powers.

    -This is mostly the same with what you said. So I won’t elaborate but one thing I never got is how do they scout these guys who get to wield the weapons?Why is Bhramastra bad as it wasn’t before but suddenly it’s dangerous which doesn’t make sense at all.

    – I genuinely wish Ranbir wasn‘t there in this movie as he has the most boring character I‘ve ever seen. His father is so much cooler than him and hopefully if their making a sequel Ranbir is not playing him and someone else is. But his father and mother seem like genuinely interesting people but Ranbir is literal like plain white paper. Or even Nagarjuna/SRK both are so much more interesting and why were they told to be safekeepers of Bhramastra.

    -Now Ranbir is genuinely a terrible person who doesn’t care about anyone beyond him. For one thing, he just kind of goes along with things for some reason. He also doesn’t have any greater purpose in wanting to join the Bhramastra. So I’m going to do a Harry Potter comparison again, but Harry in the movie has a bit of a savior complex due to his abuse he got from his relatives. It makes sense why he’s so obsessed with justice. However Ranbir is poor, does he have enough money to waste time on this rather than take care of the orphans. Also what happened to the orphans while he was parading around Himalyas?

    -Theres a real lack of morals in this movie. Like no one wants to do anything beyond than something for themselves. Literally all Ranbir cares about Isha, rather than the villagers who are manipulated by Mouni. Also what do they even do with the weapons, do they help people or just have it to wield sometimes.

    – You mentioned this in your review. However I really feel that’s where you can see a difference to a movie like Pushpa where you can clearly see a characters class. Not once did I feel that Ranbir is poor and he feels a gap with Isha. He looked and acted like a rich man. As no one who is poor and taking care of like 10 orphans can just run away to save people they barely know. I really wish they made Ranbir a richer person so it could make more sense.

    – I basically mentioned this all throughout but the lack of Hinduism was irking when the ideas were all based of Hinduism. Like the vanarastra is obviously Hanuman and Nandiastra is Nandi (Shiva‘s vehicle). Shiva is supposed to be a comparison to Lord Shiva. So just say it. Also did you feel there was a bit of Islamaphobia with the way all the villains would stereotypically look more Muslim. I don‘t think it was intentional but I still didn’t like that comparison.

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    • -YES! My friend and I talked about this in the car on the way home, the movie seems to be proposing that the only valid form of Love in the universe is romantic Love. Which might have worked if we established that Ranbir’s life was an empty misery until Alia appeared, but he seemed to have lots of non-romantic love.

      -They also never really are clear about why it is special he has these powers without needing an Astra. Like, what’s the difference between someone holding a Fire Astra and doing all of that, and him doing it on his own? Tenzing with his Air Astra seems as powerful if not more so than Ranbir, only thing is he needs an object to focus with.

      -Speaking of not talking about training, how is it that little kid Tenzing, and teenage the other one, and 20 something the other 3, are all in the same training group? Is there something that has to be awakened in them? For a moment at the start I thought it would be Ranbir training with a bunch of super old folks, which would have been cool, and solved a lot of problems since it shows that Ranbir is special because he is so young, and that it takes a lot of training and study to earn these powers usually therefore only old folks have them.

      -If you think about it, Nagarjuna and SRK are introduced as “the Scientist” and “The Artist”. That right there is more than we ever knew about Ranbir. He’s just “the Dude”.

      -We never have a moment of Ranbir active doing something, until the end when he tries to sacrifice himself to save Alia. Everything else is him reacting to stuff, defending himself. Like, we don’t even see him give money to a beggar, let alone use his powers to help someone.

      -Thank you! These aren’t even “weapons” necessarily, air power and water power and growing power, that’s super useful stuff you could be contributing to the world. Why did you want them? Why did the Gods give them to you? Why are you protecting them? Is it just to hoard them away? It would have been so easy to think this through and say that their agents go all over the world secretly doing good things to help others, but no, we didn’t get that at all.

      -The movie I kept thinking of was Gully Boy. We see Ranveer interacting with wealthy people in that film, and they speak the same language and wear similar clothes, but there is a line. In this, alia doesn’t even know Ranbir is poor until he tells her “I’m poor”. How is that possible?

      -I didn’t see the villains as Islamaphobia, but more just “traditional-phobia”. The bad people wore older style South Asian garb. The Good People wear hip urban gear. It goes back to the central problem of thinking everyone is like Ranbir.

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  4. The biggest thing for me that didn’t work was – why should we care about the ‘astraverse’. Why does it even exist in the world. What is its purpose. Why is it so important to have Brahmastra and save it from getting into evil hands. I don’t want to be told this this that that happens. I want to feel how these incidents will affect the characters in the movie. The emotional connect was zero. I just loved the ensemble. But I haven’t seen Ranbir’s any other performance that’s worse than this one. Mouni was my favourite. She fit the role perfectly.

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    • Mouni was amazing! And actually gave us that emotional connection, we could feel how much she desired to please her guru and therefore be freed from servitude.

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  5. Did you feel like the movie was setting up Alia as the twist villain? Her character makes complete sense viewed in that way, but unfortunately it’s just “True Love”.

    Really felt that all the clues, her character and the dialogues she is given were all pointing to her being a villain.

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    • Ooooo! That didn’t occur to me at all, but I can see it. Especially with how quickly she inserted herself into his life and quest.

      I was waiting for two other twists that didn’t happen. First that Mouni Roy would turn out to be his mother. And second that he dies and Alia lives and inherits his powers.

      On Sun, Sep 11, 2022 at 3:03 PM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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      • It was when they were saving Nagarjuna that I genuinely thought everything was being set up for her to be a villain. The evidence we had to that point was

        – she comes out of nowhere and we never get much backstory beyond “she’s from London”
        – she was very accepting of Shiva from moment 1, even when he acted strange and left
        – she jumped to go to Varanasi with him
        – she accepted all the Astra backstory with no questions

        Then when we meet Nagarjuna she says she has a plan to distract the hunters but it could easily be spinned as her leading them to him instead. And then
        – she’s very very interested in the Brahmastra
        – basically goads Nagarjuna into revealing the address of the Ashram
        – could easily have been providing tracking info to the villains

        And this was the big one
        – the camera focuses on her not securing the Brahmastra pieces. Which I really thought was a clue that she wanted the pieces to be taken by the villain

        But no, all these breadcrumbs lead nowhere. Would have been a much more interesting movie with that twist

        Liked by 1 person

        • Also, if I’m not wrong in the end she takes the stone Mouni had on her arm. Why?

          Some Ranbir fans have their old theories and while they don’t think she would be the villain they are sure her role will be more important in the next movies, because she is the force that unleashed Shiva’s visions and powers. I thought they could be right till they said: Ayan is too smart/good to put those details and don’t use them, and Alia is too good of an actress to act like that deliberately.

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  6. So I just got back from watching it with my Indian-American friend (who said that all of her Whatsapp group from back home in Gujarat are boycotting it). After watching it she said they’re crazy! I agree. I haven’t watched a film on an IMAX screen in a long time and in 3D in like forever. I had a perfectly fun time watching this film. It’s not that I didn’t see its many faults, but I gave it credit for what it was and for those three hours I was transfixed (that score really holds you in its clutches). I do admit I like Ranbir more than most, but I also think his best film is Bombay Velvet so there’s also that. I think his off-screen personality is super confusing (sometimes sad (clear daddy issues), sometimes sexy (his reticence and his aristocratic bearing really works for me), and sometimes uncomfortable (the recent overblown scandal over an awkward joke). But I still can’t help hoping that Alia Bhatt becomes a big global star and leaves him in the dust.

    Back to the movie…here are my thoughts (I actually do agree with most of your critiques, too!)

    The mostly forgiven (by me) major flaws :
    1) screenplay was cringe and simplistic (I want to think that sometimes they were thinking that it needed to be easy for kids to understand, but I also just think Ayan Mukerji himself is a giant kid)

    2) instalove plot (though we forgive this so often in other Bollywood romances…this is a heightened fantasy world and why can’t we believe in instalove then)

    3) I thought the Chikni Chameli reference scene was fun, but at the same time in poor taste…I know that Alia is friends with Katrina, but I think Karan Johar had a hand in that since it was a Dharma song and it was kind of cheeky to do

    4)2D villain (I really wanted Junoon to have a backstory, dammit!) and speaking of the villains…they were coded as Muslim and that was probably my biggest issue (I was expecting it though…this isn’t the Indian film I’ve seen after all)

    5) the animation at the beginning and exposition voice overs, they need to happen, I suppose, but I think the animation especially was not impressive visually

    6) Dimple Kapadia was not used well and I wanted to learn more about all of Professor X’s…I mean Guruji’s trainees and squad

    7)…there were no really funny moments

    Things I liked:
    1) the festival sets and dance number at the beginning
    2) the songs and score
    3) SRK and Nagarjuna were both so great and I wanted to see so much more of them
    4) the visual effects really were good
    5) Ranbir and Alia are both hot and fun to see on screen (it really can be that simple)
    6) the setup for a kickass showdown/love story for Amrita/Dev (aka Deepika/Ranveer)
    7) the ambition of it all
    8) the hero’s journey is universal and all of the kitchen sink references from Harry Potter and the boy who lived to the clear Star Wars-esque setup for Dev/Darth Vader

    I’m excited most about the potential of the entire trilogy. I think the setup was always going to be clunky (as almost every first installment of stories of this nature…I think we forget about how so many first films in series like this are a little underwhelming). I do think the second part could be exponentially better because of its cast and the world building is well underway. I do hope that Ranbir and Alia do take a backseat and even Amitabh. I just hope that the screenplay takes the time to ground things better and to be a little more clever and that it gives us more well-rounded villains and secondary characters.

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    • filmilibrarian, I agree with many of your points! I had a good time and the IMAX experience was worth it. I’ll comment in detail later because I have a headache (I suspect from the 3D of it all, ugh).

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    • I feel the same – of course I saw the problems, but I entered cinema with “it’s kids movie and I’m here for the fireworks” in my mind and I enjoyed it. But yes, if we treat it like a serious movie and think about its parts, it’s a crap.

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    • Also, another question I have about all of this…where is the merchandise????!!!! The film may or may not work for everyone (though it sounds like reports of its doing poorly financially under the boycott crap were widely misrepresented). But don’t they realize that merchandising it actually how Disney has built its empire and this is a Disney backed film no less! If I were Dharma and Ayan I would be merchandising the hell out of this movie. Perhaps there’s an issue in making money off of Hindu mythology, but I can’t think that would be hard to get around?!

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      • Ooooo, EXCELLENT point! And I can’t imagine there would be a merchandising issue if it’s just something like “a monkey doll” or “a knife that looks like the one Amitabh uses”. In fact, merchandising may explain why they were resisting saying “Hanuman” etc., if they keep it neutral and general, you can sell toys. Only, they aren’t.

        On Mon, Sep 12, 2022 at 8:38 AM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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  7. The biggest problems in the movie in my opinion were:

    – absolutely zero chemistry between Alia and Ranbir. This kind of story desperately needs a very strong chemistry so we can believe the girl will follow him everywhere. If there’s chemistry I can pretend I don’t see how shallow their connection is and won’t ask questions. But here we had nothing.

    -both Alia and Ranbir were terrible in their roles. They had the same expressions almost all the time. She was there to look pretty and he looked like he doesn’t know what is going on. Again I could ignore it if I didn’t know they were filming for 9 years! And the roles weren’t even that complicated. There were special effects, or fights or songs all the time. Only few scenes were really emotional and in all those years this is the best shot you had?

    -dialogues. OMG, so many years thinking and working on this film, and the dialogues are like that? What was Ayan even doing all this time?

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    • The more and more I think about it and read and listen to other responses too (listening to the Khandaan podcast now), maybe it really is that the dialogues are so simplistic because this is clearly a kids’ movie. I just don’t know about the chemistry. You’re totally right that they had so long to get it right. I just think it’s that thing that happens so often when real life couples have no chemistry. I always think about Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze (who did not get along) but had great chemistry in Dirty Dancing.

      I think Alia sells it all slightly better than Ranbir for sure, but not great. Ranbir is not a great actor in my opinion despite what everyone in Bollywood seems to think. He’s definitely a star and I enjoy watching him on screen. Maybe he’s also tired of playing these kind of roles, too?

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  8. Karan greenlighted Ayan’s idea 8 years ago…Karan’s fault was to announce it far too early (but I give him that he could not forsee Covid)…in any way, shooting started in the beginning of 2018 – with a break of more than a year and many retakes (a kind of “many cooks…” – even Rajamouli’s father had something to say…and was followed).
    Ranbir, I don’t know…he may have got really bored to act in front of a green wall…or he was stoned sometimes…
    Alia, I suppose that her role was deliberately written like that …she may be a tool of the dark forces and has – at least initially – to pretend to love him…the goal: to get the broken pieces of the Brahmastra.
    Dialogues: I also think that they are made (too much, imo) simplistic to reach an audience as large as possible.
    Cliffhanger: not only one but many…almost no story-part has a closure and there is a perceptible lack of information.
    VFX: Really made to make this movie an event to watch in a theatre…done by DNEG (4 oscars, based in UK and Kanada) with its ReDefine wing in Mumbai and London (no wonder that the coasts went through the roof). Good (but a bit exhausting, imo).
    Mouni Roy: fitting the character to a “T”…will not forgive Karan that he didn’t involve her into the promotions (he largely prefered to profit from the fact that Alia got pregnant and then married… Ranbir not eager to do so, Alia did the best possible).
    Amitji: I guess he experienced a lot he didn’t like…
    Karan: Gosh, how much he has changed…and n o t to the better (imo).

    Thanks, Margaret for watching and writing…Would you have watched the movie otherwise?

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  9. So I had a fun time with this. My two main expectations were fulfilled – SRK (a treat) and visual effects. I was really impressed with the effects and it was totally worthwhile to see it on the biggest screen possible. Thankfully, they spent more time showcasing the effects than the story because that’s the weak part. I wish the plot was stronger, they had almost a decade, but oh well! I have to think of this being aimed at kids to digest the dialogues, but still they should have been better. Shahrukh, Nagarjuna, Amitabh and Mouni sell it despite that, I was especially impressed by Mouni.

    I can see the issues you had if I think about it after the fact, but to be honest none of that occurred to me while watching. That’s partly because I had no expectations that this would follow Hindu mythology to the tee. I don’t expect that from an urban Bombay person like Ayan and the possible fact that at its conception, this film had nothing to do with Hindu mythology. I’m fine with him having powers without doing anything to deserve them as you can grow to be a person worthy of them – the hero’s journey. My problem was that even by the end he didn’t get there, his only motivation was saving his love, the world getting saved was just a by-product. Which makes me not interested in him for the rest of the trilogy. I think it’s now become a universal opinion that the love story is the weakest part. I can still buy love at first sight as a concept, but if your film’s emotional core hinges on this epic love, you better sell it to the audience. Ranbir-Alia couldn’t, there was no tension between them. It should have been an easy thing to fix, it just seems they didn’t want to spend any effort there. Weirdly, Alia sells it better without having any character depth than Ranbir. Which brings me to my main issue – it should have been someone younger in that role, or at least someone who can project wide-eyed youthfulness. How does SRK manage to be more youthful and fun in his cameo than Ranbir in the whole movie?!!

    But I’m excited for the next part especially if they manage to get Ranveer-Deepika for Dev-Amrita. Lovers to enemies? Take my money already! I’m afraid it’s going to be Ranbir playing Dev but I hope it’s not! It would be hilarious though when he has more chemistry with Deepika than Alia. The whole Deepika as Ranbir’s mother is already very cheeky! Part of me wishes Shahrukh could’ve been Dev. Hope they bring back his character at least as it’s set in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I didn’t even realize the privilege thing until you mention it, but it’s definitely a huge deal the more I think about it. If Ranbir already has a relatively successful career and friends and a girlfriend he “loves”, why should we care that HE’s the one who saves the world? Because he’s an orphan? Because it’s the entire world that needs saving? There’s no risk for him personally besides being a person living in the world. And there isn’t even a hint of “oh, I’m doing this for the greater good”. It’s under the guise of saving Alia, which was my main complaint when walking out of the theater, is that their romance was literally the stupidest most unbelievable thing ever. They met maybe 4 times and you have this deep love for each other that can save the world? Love is the most powerful weapon of all? The sentiment I can get behind, but the execution was poop. That’s basically the main issue overall, I think. Cool idea, garbage execution. And if Ranbir and Alia’s love saves the world, this movie cannot work if you don’t buy them together. And clearly I don’t.

    Also one tiny 2 minute monologue at the beginning to explain Astras and stuff is not enough for me to understand the fantasy element of this movie. Of course, I know nothing about Hindu mythology, so maybe I’m just unaware of the different possibilities of Astras, but it still would have helped to know the different kinds so I’m not baffled and confused when someone has water powers for the first time in the last 20 minutes of the movie.

    And the last tiny stupid thing that bothered me was Ranbir’s monologue about finding light in the darkness. Again, great sentiment, but they painted it as the most revolutionary idea in history, and this is nowhere close to a new philosophy. Stop playing the swelling music in the background, and Alia, stop looking at him like he’s Einstein.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ALSO I forgot, was there a point to those other kids in Ashram? I cannot remember a single one’s name? Am I supposed to care? Shouldn’t they have developed those kids’ Astras so we’re not surprised when they start running around fighting? Aren’t we supposed to FEEL something when that little one dies? Ugh. I thought I was over my hatred for Brahmastra but I guess not.

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