Mumbai, Dec 15: Filmmaker Ayan Mukerji’s upcoming magnum opus Movie Brahmastra, which stars Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, is finally set to theatrically release on September 9, 2022.
According to Variety, ‘Brahmastra’, the star cast of which also includes Nagarjuna Akkineni and Mouni Roy, will come out in the Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. The film is set in contemporary India, where a secret society known as the Brahmansh have guarded ‘Astras’ (divine weapons) created in ancient India for generations. The most powerful among these, the Brahmastra, is now waking up and it threatens to destroy the universe.
The story which is based on Indian mythology has been constructed as a trilogy with the first part following the protagonist Shiva (Kapoor), who is in love with Isha (Bhatt).
Their lives get forever changed when Shiva come to know that he has a mysterious connection to the Brahmastra and a great power within him that he doesn’t understand just yet, the power of fire. The film recounts Shiva’s adventures as he journeys into the world of Astras and discovers his destiny as the divine hero of the universe.
‘Brahmastra’ is Ayan’s dream project that he had been developing prior to ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’.
Talking to Variety about the project, he said, “‘Brahmastra,’ is very inspired by Indian mythology and Indian culture and set in the modern world with modern characters, so in many ways, it is a modern mythology of our own.”
“And in that modern spectrum, Mr Bachchan plays the role of what Professor Dumbledore is to Harry Potter, or what Gandalf the wizard is to Frodo Baggins, he plays the wise teacher guide, who helps Shiva’s character to actualize his powers and find his destiny,” continued Ayan.
There have been only a few films made in India with regards to the superhero genre, including the ‘Krrish’ franchise starring Hrithik Roshan and ‘Ra.One’ with Shah Rukh Khan. Both of these have largely been based on sci-fi or futuristic elements and not Indian mythology.
“I felt like there was something there that had just not been done, and it surprised me that nobody’s done it, nobody’s really touched in a modern way this fantasy, larger than life cinema on the ancient powers of this ancient land that is India,” said Ayan.
Describing himself as a “geeky reader” whilst growing up, apart from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’, Ayan cited Marvel and the legends around the Hindu god Shiva among his influences.
“This exact combination of East and West, the way that those influences came together, the film has many different colours, but at some level, it’s a very new colour,” said Ayan.
He continued, “It’s a very original film and I really feel quite proud of that at some level, because a lot of the big stuff that’s come out of the West is based on some comic book literature, or it’s based on a really best-selling book series.
‘Brahmastra’ came from nothing, there’s no strict basis for it.”
Ayan believes that India had previously been held back by insufficient technology in attempting to create films in the genre. However, now the country has the know-how for the filmmaker’s ‘Astraverse’, and is a go-to post-production destination for FX-laden Hollywood content.
“In the mainstream world of entertainment, I really think that ‘Brahmastra’ is that step that takes us from India towards the West, where they can appreciate Indian culture and our inherent storytelling and still get enough bang for their buck,” said Ayan.
The ‘Brahmastra’ trilogy has been produced by Fox Star Studios, Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Prime Focus and Starlight Pictures. While the producers declined to disclose the budget for the first part of the trilogy, Variety suggests as per industry sources that it is roughly INR 3 billion (USD 40 million). Ayan feels that when Hollywood studio heads watch the film, they will experience the effect of having seen a USD 100 million project.
The second and third parts of “Brahmastra” are due in 2024 and 2026, according to Variety.