Friday, September 9, 2022

The Dragon and the Brahmāstra

Ranbir Kapoor is terrible by the standards of the Kapoor clan. Alia Bhatt is terrible even by the despicably low standards of the dysfunctional Bhatt clan. Amitabh Bachchan’s monologues are so murky as to make you wonder how long it will take for him to shut up. I am talking about the performance of these stars in the junk called Brahmāstra.

Brahmāstra is not directed by someone who knows something about directing movies or about the ancient Hindu tradition of the Brahmastra. It is a movie made by someone who is a terrible ninja—an overinflated, undertalented director called Ayan Mukerji whose sole qualification is that he has watched too many of Hollywood’s subpar science fiction movies. 

The worst thing about Brahmāstra is that this is a movie made with bad intentions. Ayan confessed in his 2019 Instagram post that the original name of this movie was Dragon and that it was based on the thirteenth-century Sufi preacher Rumi (Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī). What he didn’t reveal in his post was that Rumi has talked very derogatorily about India’s Hindus. 

Brahmāstra’s makers realized that a movie on Rumi might not enthuse Indian viewers, so they made desperate attempts to Indianize the story. Ranbir’s name in the film was originally Rumi—it was changed to Shiva. Alia, who plays Shiva’s love interest, becomes Isha. Instead of being a Sufi mystic, Amitabh was given the role of the leader of a nutty cult called Brahmānsh.  

It is impossible to turn a lowly Dragon into Brahmāstra; Rumi will never come close to Shiva. Ayan’s project to transform Dragon into Brahmāstra has been a miserable failure—his Brahmāstra is a clumsy, twisted mishmash. It is nihilistic phantasmagoria. To sit through this mess, you will need to take a good shower. Do not show this movie your money; show them your boycott. 

(PS: The attached picture is a drawing based on a scene from the Mahabharata: Narada and Vyasa come to stop the Brahmastra weapons unleashed by Aswatthama and Arjuna.)

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