Silly Sunday: Brahmastra Rewrite! To Fix the Holes and Make it Better

I’m watching my terrible 1990s BBC Mystery series and waiting for the storms to start, and I am finally ready to start thinking about how to fix Brahmastra.

I think the worst problem with Brahmastra is the one I can’t fix, generally terrible dialogue/dialogue delivery. But at least I can surround that bad dialogue with logical plot progressions and fun twists and things, instead of how it is.

Opening:

We should open with Shahrukh, right at the start. Have an amazing action sequence that makes you go “whoa, what is this? What’s happening?”. And at the moment you have that cool effect of Shahrukh jumping into air with the Hanuman outline around him, suddenly slam into backstory.

The Astra backstory really needs some work. Let’s start by explaining WHY this collective of priests asked the Gods for weapons. Could be something simple like “In order to solve the problems of humanity, these priests decided to beg the Gods for powerful weapons” And then we see the collective of priests ACTUALLY DOING THINGS through time, quick flashes of them rescuing people from burning buildings, stopping floods just long enough to rescue a child, helping devastated forests come back to life, whatever. But they always do it in secret, so they can serve humanity instead of ruling over it.

BAM! We have an explanation for stuff, and also a set up for the Bad Guys, that they want to rule the world instead of serving it. And some ACTUAL HINDU MORALITY too, since it’s always about the people who demand power from the Gods versus are given power to use it to help people.

From there, we meet Ranbir, he meets Alia, blah blah blah. Small change, instead of taking her to his palatial bedroom to talk, he takes her up to the roof because of course he’s not going to take the precious space from the orphans.

And then Big change, Alia touches him and shares his vision. She runs away to her home, we see her unloving aunt and uncle nag her for being gone all night and learn that she is a rich orphan who is living with her relatives who don’t love her because she has nowhere else to go and no one loves her. She is tormented by the vision so that when Ranbir shows up, she asks to go with him because she needs to solve this mystery for herself.

They go to Varanasi together and have this magical connection and find Nagarjuna. Everything plays out as before, but slightly better dialogue. And finally they reach the Ashram and Ranbir’s powers burst out. He wakes up in the Ashram and initially wants to get away, back to his orphans and his life in Bombay. But then Amitabh shows him how he can do so much MORE good if he works with the other Astra warriors who have been dedicated to helping people and serving the world all this time. Ranbir’s instinct to help the orphans ties directly into his heritage as an Astra Hero.

Alia goes away, and Ranbir tries to train but can’t manage it. He wants to help people and save people, but nothing will make his fire come out. Not until he has a vision of Alia being attacked and his fire bursts out suddenly. Amitabh trains him to focus on Alia, on their connection, in order to make the fire come out. And Amitabh looks sneaky like he suspects something about their connection he’s not telling Ranbir.

Mouni Roy shows up at the Ashram and Amitabh tells everyone not to harm her, or her army. They are all being controlled by a Dark Astra and are powerless. Instead of directly attacking, he sends some of the Astra warriors away to help the women and children of the village to safety while the men are mindcontrolled into being Mouni’s warriors. With the Ashram lacking defenses, Alia and Dimple show up. Amitabh explains he sent for them because he knows only Alia’s presence will make them survive and Dimple has the experience to lead the battle for defense. Dimple coordinates a series of clever traps and schemes to help protect the Ashram. Alia is confused as to why she is there, but Amitabh just orders her to stay near Ranbir.

Mouni shows up for the final battle. Dimple’s clever tricks delay her until she finally is faced by the ultimate fighter, Ranbir. While Ranbir is waiting for the final battle, he reads the letter Amitabh gave him. Which reveals that his mother and father were both Astra warriors, his father had an evil craving for power which corrupted him while his mother stayed pure. His mother fought and defeated his father and then disappeared. She hid herself away in the slums of Bombay so his father’s undying spirit and powers couldn’t find her. And there she had a child. But there’s one more thing…

Now, here’s the key to the trick plot! We get voiceover and flashback of everything else in this letter, but don’t see/hear the last few words. Instead we just see Ranbir’s surprised face, and then he has to rush out and do Final Battle. He focuses on reaching Alia and staying close to her. And then in the end, when they are seemingly defeated, he grabs her hand and tells her to reach within herself and feel her own power because SHE IS HIS TWIN SISTER. And that’s when we get a flash to the last part of the letter. Ranbir’s mother had two children, one child she kept with her, the other she gave to a rich couple to be taken overseas to London (Alia). As Alia and Ranbir’s eyes meet and they feel the truth of this, suddenly her power comes out and joins his, a wall of fire and water together.

BAM! End of movie!

And yes, I totally stole stuff from Star Wars, but the whole “Darth Vader father” is already stolen, so why not go all the way? And Alia and Ranbir’s relationship makes WAY more sense as “magical twins reunited” than as “love at first sight”. And Alia would be WAY more interesting as someone with her own powers instead of just someone tagging along.

Also, now I want to watch the original Star Wars trilogy again

6 thoughts on “Silly Sunday: Brahmastra Rewrite! To Fix the Holes and Make it Better

  1. I would write out Alia completely even though I love her and make the film more about Mouni+Ranbir. I kept on feeling Mouni was Ranbir’s twin sister who her father trapped. So I think having the same ideas as yours but instead making it more about Mouni and Ranbir’s twisted sibling relationship would be my idea.

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  2. I had nothing against that “love at first sight” but I was disappointed about Ayan how his feelings towards Ranbir made write such a weak character for Alia. Why not make love the trigger for special power (Mouni’s power also came out of love for Dev). It can be romantic love or devotional love or love of a kid for a parent or love for a task to do…
    I would prefer the idea of Mouni and Ranbir being half-siblings (having the same father).
    I like your idea of introducing first the scientist with his astra-power and then showing the Astra-backstory the way you describes it.

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  3. I was just watching an interview with the three musketeers of Brahmastra and they were asked about interesting fan theories and the interviewer said they thought that Isha was sent by Amrita to protect Shiva. All of their awkward responses to this theory suggest it might be true. And I like that theory (it makes the simplistic script of the 1st part slightly more forgivable if there will be big reveals later.

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      • I also think that because of all the critique of the script and story, I bet Ayan will borrow a lot from the fan theories…it’s like he has his own very public writing workshop going on. I think he still only has the basic storyline outlined for the trilogy (part of the reason the first part’s screenplay suffered) and I think he can easily adjust the next two scripts since they haven’t started filming. I just hope he doesn’t go to the opposite extreme and throw everything and the kitchen sink into the story.

        I was also surprised by them talking about the fact that this has become a children’s movie and how surprised they were by that. Umm…yeah. Did they not think that Marvel movies are for kids? Also a reason they stupidly didn’t merchandise for kids? Ayan also comes across as a very odd and insecure person in these interviews (I think he also suffers from depression…did I read that somewhere?). I know he won’t do it, but I really think taking on a co-director would help carry the load. I doubt Karan is that involved at the producer level since he’s so busy and such a technical film like this one is not in his wheelhouse anyway. He’s just there to manage the money. I’m surprised Karan hasn’t been out gloating about the success more, though I bet he will throw a big success party at some point.

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