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Star Studios, Dharma Productions, Prime Focus and Starlight Pictures’ Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva (UA) is a fantasy adventure film with a dash of mythology. It is also a love story.

Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor), a modern, fun-loving orphan, has a special connection with the element of fire. Among other things, he does not get burnt by fire. He also holds the power to awaken the Brahmastra, a very potent weapon. Junoon (Mouni Roy), the queen of dark forces, is also in search of the Brahmastra. She has evil designs for which she needs the Brahmastra. Will Shiva allow Junoon to realise her goals?

Shiva falls head over heels in love with the rich and beautiful Isha (Alia Bhatt). He soon realises that Isha is the ‘button’ of his connection with fire. What happens to their love story?

Ayan Mukerji has written an original story set in the Astra Verse. Therefore, the story is fresh. The love story and the story of the Brahmastra are so closely knit that one blends into the other. That’s a fantastic plus point of the story. Ayan Mukerji’s screenplay is fast-paced and has several layers. The drama keeps the audiences engrossed and involved so much that it doesn’t give them a minute to get bored, especially in the first half. Yes, it does dip a bit after interval but that doesn’t much dilute the impact of the well-written screenplay. After the prologue, the first few reels are light and laced with fun, frolic and romance. The element of fun and humour takes a back seat once the story of Brahmastra and Agni Astra starts in full swing. However, even after that story starts in full force, the romantic track keeps moving parallely. Although there are no tear-jerking emotions, the emotional thread and undercurrent are so strong that they keep the viewers invested in the drama. The revelation of the back story of Shiva’s parents, the track of the shankh, the visions which Shiva keeps getting are all so wonderful that the audience enjoys them thoroughly. The placement of the Kesariya and Deva Deva songs are so perfect that the viewers’ hearts rejoice when they start. Even though the climax is lengthy (it is of almost 30 minutes), it sustains the interest of the audience because it is very interesting as well as impactful. Hussain Dalaal’s dialogues are simple but engaging and appealing.

Ranbir Kapoor lives the role of Shiva. He gets into the skin of the character and comes out trumps with a fantastic performance which will be loved by one and all. His expressions are so real that one can’t help but fall in love with his acting. Alia Bhatt looks supremely pretty and acts with effortless ease. She uses her body language and her voice modulation so effectively that they enhance her performance manifold. Her costumes are just too lovely. Amitabh Bachchan lends tremendous support as Guru. His acting has a touch of class. Mouni Roy is pretty effective as Junoon. Nagarjuna Akkineni makes his mark as Artist (Anish Shetty). Shah Rukh Khan shines in a cameo appearance as scientist Mohan Bhargav. Dimple Kapadia has a tiny role; she has been wasted. Saurav Gurjar (as Zor) and Rouhallah Gazi (as Raftaar) are adequate. Gurfateh Pirzada (as Sher), Lehar Khan (as Raveena), Aditi Joshi (as Rani), Markand Soni (as Santha), and Stanzin Delek (as Tenzing) provide decent support. Others are alright.

Ayan Mukerji’s direction is splendid. He has made a unique film for the Hindi film-going audience and has complemented the high-on-visual-effects drama with a heart-touching story, juxtaposing both beautifully. His narration is remarkable. Pritam’s music comprises the super-hit Kesariya song, the hit Deva Deva number (which will soon become super-hit) and other songs which are very appealing. The two best songs being played during the end rolling titles deserves special mention. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are exceptionally good. Song picturisations (Ganesh Acharya, Brinda and Adil Shaikh) are very eye-filling. Background music (Pritam with Jim Satya, Prasad S., Meghdeep Bose, Tanuj Tiku, Ketan Sodha and Sunny M.R.) is outstanding. The use of Sanskrit shlokas in the background score at many places makes the drama appear more divine and absolutely compelling. Cinematography (by V. Manikandan, Pankaj Kumar, Sudeep Chatterjee, Vikash Nowlakha and Patrick Duroux) is heavenly. Computer graphics, visual effects and 3D effects (by DNEG and Redefine) are phenomenal and comparable to those in Hollywood films. Action scenes and stunts (choreographed by Dan Bradley, Diyan Hristov and Parvez Shaikh) are very thrilling. Amrita Mahal Nakai’s production designing, and Rohan Kate’s art direction are of a very good standard. Prakash Kurup’s editing is super-sharp.

On the whole, Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva is a super-duper hit. It will do phenomenal business at the box-office and will also take Indian cinema several notches higher on the international map as far as visual effects are concerned. The mind-blowing visual appeal of the film, the fantastic first half, its two extraordinary songs, and the love story of Ranbir-Alia (coming as it does soon after their real-life marriage) will ensure that it gets immense love from the public. Business of the 3D version in the initial days will be far, far more than that of the 2D version. It has the potential to touch or almost touch the Rs. 100-crore mark in the first weekend, and touch or almost touch the Rs. 200-crore mark by the end of the second weekend. For those who are concerned not just about box-office collections but also about cost-revenue economics, let it be said that for correct business analysis, part of the huge investment in the film is actually to be amortised by dividing it among three films — parts one, two and three.

Released on 9-9-’22 at Regal (daily 4 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay thru UTV Software Communications Ltd. Publicity: outstanding. Opening: extraordinary places, very good at others. …….Also released all over. Opening was phenomenal at many places.