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‘Brahmastra’: Bollywood's Superhero Universe

Bollywood's new superhero universe is a romantic, fantasy, and action-packed journey of a young warrior who rises to save the world with superpowers.

Brahmāstra Part One: Shiva (2022)

3.5 / 5
3.5 / 5

Brahmāstra Part One: Shiva (2022) is a romance fantasy Hindi film directed by Ayan Mukerji. Starring Ranbir Kapoor as Shiva, a young DJ in Mumbai with the astra power of fire (known as the power of Agniastra), and Alia Bhatt as Isha Chatterjee, Shiva’s girlfriend. While navigating through their newfound love for one another, they are also thrown into a war for the Brahmāstra. A powerful astra with the ability to cause worldwide destruction in the wrong hands. The Brahmāstra is divided into three pieces, and Shiva must find them and prevent them from falling into Dev’s hands. Brahmāstra looks to become the beginning of Bollywood’s Superhero Universe.

Power of Love

Shiva played by Ranbir Kapoor is standing close to Isha played by Alia Bhatt as they look forward
Ranbir Kapoor as Shiva and Alia Bhatt as Isha

The romance in Brahmāstra takes center stage throughout the movie, and the fantasy genre of the film becomes more of a second plotline. The love story between Shiva and Isha begins as love at first sight, but the plot and cheesy lines rushed their development as a couple. While it makes sense that their love for one another would need to be strong for them to be victorious as a team in a major battle, it would have been better if their love had been given more time to blossom naturally. Even if they didn’t end up as a couple by the film’s end, they would have been good friends who cared deeply for one another. Given that Brahmāstra will be one of several parts, there would have still been time to develop their love in the following sequels and use the power of love to win against the final boss battle the series seems to be building up to.

Additionally, because of the rushed plotline of Shiva discovering who he is and growing into his ability, Isha’s character suffers from a lack of development. Shiva, as the protagonist, is given enough screen time for audiences to get to know him and root for him to win at the end. But Isha is more of a damsel in distress who likes to shout “Shiva” constantly throughout the film. Isha is introduced as a young, wealthy London resident who is visiting Mumbai to help her grandfather prepare for the pandal, when she encounters Shiva for the first time. She runs off with Shiva minutes upon meeting, no questions asked, after learning of Shiva’s sad past. Despite having a tragic past, Shiva is making the best of his circumstances by DJing to support himself and other orphans like him. Shiva’s personality is presented as a cheerful, bold, and resilient young man, but Isha’s character doesn’t get these kinds of developments. We don’t know her past, dreams, likes, or dislikes. She ends up being presented as a one-dimensional character who says very cheesy lines and whose actions are questionable. Given that she plays a significant part in Shiva’s developing abilities, Isha must also be a solid and stable character to be able to stand beside him.

World Building

Brahmānsh, a group wielders of the astra artifacts standing together as they join their powers together
Brahmānsh, a secret society of astra wielders

The films build a world with the powers of the various astra artifacts that give their wielders powers. Similar to the Marvel universe, they use the infinity stones as MacGuffins in their different phrases. It is a fantastic story plotline that offers many opportunities to build on in the following sequels. The Brahmāstra develops its universe around the Hindi gods and goddesses and not superheroes like Marvel or DC, making it more like the Greco-Roman mythology-inspired Percy Jackson series based on the books of Rick Riordan. There aren’t only astra artifacts, but an ultimate weapon that the villain wants to get his hands on, and the heroes must protect the three parts of the Brahmāstra. The war for the Brahmāstra is a fantastic storyline between light and darkness.

Man known to be Dev standing with his back facing the camera
Dev, the main villain


While Brahmāstra is not a perfect film, the premises that it seems to run with are something to look forward to in the following sequel. The film is a good start towards building Bollywood’s Superhero Universe and expanding more on the Hindi culture. The next movie will be called Brahmāstra Part Two: Dev. Dev is a significant and mysterious character who is often mentioned and partly seen in the film, so if the sequels follow him, it is something to look towards too.