Brahmastra: Ayan Mukerji’s film is an insult to Alia Bhatt’s acting talent

Sadak 2 movie (and Alia Bhattat it) something everyone seemed to have silently agreed to sweep under the rug. After two years and well-deserved stardom, this remains the sore smudge in a filmography that also includes Student of the Year and a movie literally called Kalank. But while everyone has admitted that she put herself in the middle in Sadak 2, considering it was directed by her father Mahesh Bhatt decades later, there’s no excuse for the way she described Bhatt – often touted as the most talented actor of her generation. , someone who is unable to perform poorly even in Manyavar commercials – Addressed in Epic Fantasy by Ayan Mukerji Brahmastra.

Released in cinemas last weekend eight years after it was first announced, Brahmastra is a haunting theatrical experience that has the power to shatter your eardrums and your will to live. It’s a lengthy, unconnected movie that routinely steals from all obvious sources – Harry Potter, MCU, Star Wars, and even Avatar: The Last Airbender — and she seems to have convinced herself that no one will notice. In fact, director Ayan Mukerji disrespects the audience so much (and believes so little in his own film) that he feels the need to feed every last drop of the show so loud that by the time you step off the stage, in a silly daze, you’ll think of yourself in the language Sanskrit.

And no one screams louder than Isha Bhatt, who, when she doesn’t call out her boyfriend Shiva at the top of her lungs, tears as much devotion as Parvati to him, literally within 24 hours of their first meeting. In these 24 hours, Shiva (performed by Ranbir Kapoor) creeps her around a party, manipulates her into giving him cake points by telling her he cares for orphaned children, and then leaves her on a rooftop. The next day, he revealed a major “god” in his life to dinner – for as long as he could remember, he had troubling visions – and promised he would never keep a secret from her again.

Shiva immediately breaks this promise, when Isha catches him messing with fire on a trip to Varanasi. He told her, by way of clarification, that he had a “rishta” with an “ag”. Looking at the pained look on Isha’s face, he probably also told her that he had a ‘Rishta’ with another woman. To be fair, her anger is justified. She was explicitly promised that there would be no more secrets between them, and then Shiva told her that he was immune to fire! But what happens next is even more exciting.

With little reason to continue to be involved with a (secret, superpowered) man she just met, Isha tells Shiva that she knows he’s special, and that if fate brings them together at this very moment, it must be her duty to do his thing. . I know this movie may have been conceived before anyone involved heard the word “wake up”, but writing like this would be outdated even in the era in which the Brahmastra was drawn.

Isha is later referred to as the “button” – a literal, inanimate object – needed by Shiva to perform the function of a catalyst in his journey. In the film’s climax action sequence, she accompanies him to the battlefield with a lighter in her hand, ready to bring her to life at any moment – he can’t do it himself, I guess? – And help Shiva ignite his powers.

Another mundane task is outsourced when she is with Shiva at Guruji’s House for Gifted Youngsters in Himachal Pradesh, deep in the second half of the film. She was told to go back to Shawwal Shiva Mumbai, secure the last belongings of his deceased mother, put them in an overnight bag and return everything to him. So, after about two hours of being aggressively involved in a life-changing drama she never asked for, Isha is asked to give Shiva room to focus on his training, as if she was the kind of distraction that Ramya Krishnan’s character plays. to rent It was described as “chudail”. In Mumbai, she is attacked by one of the villain’s three henchmen, and even then – she is separated from Shiva – the film refuses to allow Isha to save herself. Instead, she sends two powerful Guruji disciples to save her skin in a blatant act of Deus Ex Machina. Brahmastra often relies on plot conveniences like this, rather than developing characters throughout the story.

And for a film whose mission statement is a difference from “love is the most powerful supernatural force,” Brahmastra certainly treats the romantic arc of Isha and Shiva with care. Karan Johar He introduces it to the lesser-known guest on his talk show. In fact, Bhatt is handled better in the episodes of Koffee with Karan that she wasn’t even a part of than in Brahmastra, a film that seems to constantly repeat the “mantra” under his breath to find ways to engage her in a story.

Isha’s lack of agency in the film is one thing – Brahmastra failed Bechdel’s test with flying colors, of course – but didn’t Bhatt have an opinion of her character in real life, too? Or maybe she did, and the others simply didn’t listen. It can be argued that Mukerji, as with many other elements in the film, plays Isha’s story close to the box. However, we shouldn’t judge a character based on their hypothetical arc in non-existent future movies, but based on what was shown in that movie.

And to think that Bhatt’s career has peaked as we speak. Isha is the kind of arm candy character you’d expect to see in some of the most offensive “hero-led” movies that Bollywood loves to make. But it’s the sad realization that Brahmastra leaves you with: Shiva may be the chosen one, sure, but nothing unique about this movie; In fact, treating the female lead poorly is just one of the many traits it has in common with the worst kinds of entertainment the industry has to offer.

Post Credits Scene is a column in which we dissect new releases each week, with a particular focus on context, character, and characters. Because there is always something to focus on once the dust has settled.

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