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‘Brahmastra gave us the experience of working in five films'

“To create a story from our mythology from scratch is beyond imagination. This is similar to creating a Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. That very thought inspired everyone on board Brahmastra,” says the actor.

‘Brahmastra gave us the experience of working in five films
Director Ayan Mukerji with actors Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor

CHENNAI: Ayan Mukerji would be the happiest man as the trailer of his film Brahmastra- Part One: Shiva clocked over a million views within five hours of its release. This is only his third film in 13 years and has been thinking of nothing except the movie since 2012. Ayan has created his own Indian cinematic universe called Astraverse with the trilogy.

Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor

We walk into the Juhu studio and Ayan is setting up Ranbir’s introduction song in a majestic way. He greets us and says, “This is the introduction song for Shiva, Ranbir’s character. He plays a DJ from a small town and the song is set in the backdrop of Durga pooja. This is the penultimate day of shoot and things have shaped up well so far. I hope the audience will be able to see the effort we have put to bring this project into what it is today. I can’t wait to present it to them. Being the writer, one of the producers and the director has been surreal. Thanks to Ranbir and Alia for having the trust in me.”

As he mentions them Ranbir walks in and takes a look around the sets. “Ayan can go on and on about the film. It’s his child and the way this boy sees this project is unbelievable. In the last decade, Alia and I were on different projects. But Ayan’s world revolved around this one project. He can’t think beyond Brahmastra,” says Ranbir as Alia joins us. “Ranbir is right. There are days where Ayan tells us that he doesn’t feel like working and wants to watch the sunset. 15 minutes later, he will be talking about this project,” she laughs. Ayan doesn’t deny Alia’s statement. He in fact seconds her and says, “I am a crazy person that way. I have been on this very long pregnancy with Brahmastra and I could say that I am the “principal parent”. However, Ranbir and Alia too have equally been parenting the film and nourished it at various levels. Their roles are beyond being actors in the film right from the start.

Ranbir goes on to laud Ayan’s writing skills and adds that the director has done the unimaginable. “To create a story from our mythology from scratch is beyond imagination. This is similar to creating a Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings. That very thought inspired everyone on board Brahmastra,” says the actor. As much as they are confident about the film’s success across the country, the trio isn’t sure about the level of success the film would attain in the south. “Vijay sir’s Master was a huge success in Mumbai. People thronged theatres despite the pandemic. We have been discussing how people down south would receive Brahmastra. It has every element that they would want to see in a film. Fingers crossed,” they remark.

Ayan Mukerji with Nagarjuna on the sets of Brahmastra

The movie also has stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan and Nagarjuna in prominent roles. “Amitabh Bachchan is a Brahmastra in his own way. I grew up watching him and admiring him and when Ayan said he is writing a role for Mr Bachchan, it is a dream-come-true moment for me. Even sitting beside him and walking to the mark when the shot is ready was a huge experience. The creative experience you get by working with Amitabh sir or Nag sir, who treats you like his friend is amazing. Nag sir’s family is now a part of our lives.” Alia gets excited and is all smiles as she talks about them. “They were involved with the film in all stages. We shot for a major chunk of the film in Bulgaria and he was one of the firsts to see the edited version of the portions that were shot. The amount of support he gave us was incredible.”

The shoot of the film started before the pandemic and was shot during Covid under strict protocols and will release on September 9. “Trust me it was like working in five films at once,” says Ayan. Ranbir concludes saying, “Part two and three is going to be much easier as Ayan now knows his strengths.”

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Kaushik Rajaraman
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