#BingeLens: Looking at Ayan Mukerji's Brahmastra and Zoya Akhtar's The Archies from the lens of debates on Social Media

Sakshi Sharma
New Update

While Netflix announced Zoya Akhtar's highly talked about project-The Archies, Ayan Mukherji also released a teaser of his 7-year-long project Brahmastra and both have sparked many debates around it.

It's just been literally three days since the time Ayan Mukerji in association with Dharma Productions released a glimpse of his almost 7-year long project Brahmastra. The teaser starring Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Nagarjuna, and Mouni Roy was released to announce that the trailer will be out on June 15. And not while ago Netflix in association with Tiger Baby Productions released a short glimpse of Zoya Akhtar's much-talked-about project The Archies. A one-and-a-half minute-long video shows fresh yet familiar faces of young aspiring actors Mihir Ahuja, Suhana Khan, Khushi Kapoor, Agastya Nanda, Dot, Yuvraj Menda, and Vedang Raina frisking in the meadow in dewy vintage retro fashion. But these mere minute videos have sparked debates in all directions across all social media.

While comparisons from Marvel Cinematic Universe and ridiculing Brahmastra for taking on western culture is going on, The Archies announcement went through a whole stage of Nepotism and relatable content discourse pot. And all these assumptions, calculations, and opinions are based on just a mere one-minute or so long videos that don't even give out anything of the valuable source except the fact that these projects are merely introducing themselves. While having a discussion or opinions on these projects isn't entirely discouraged but passing out judgments and comparisons so soon isn't fair either.

With Ayan Mukerji's project which he started approx 7 or 8 years ago to say that he is copying MCU or comparing Mouni Roy's character to Wanda or Naagin isn't fair. Something that started so many years ago can't have been inspired by something that came 3-4 years ago and also even if it is similar then also it isn't entirely wrong as art always takes inspiration from each other and there is no secret about it. And as far as Mouni's character has to go we have just had a glimpse of it and red is a symbolic color for any evil forever plus comparing her character in the movie to her past work isn't really giving her a chance to prove her mettle beyond TV. And don't we want TV actors to get a chance in an apparently nepotistic Bollywood?

People in India often say why aren't we doing something that the west does or why can't we make films like that we have so much of content and when someone is actually trying to bring an entire universe that is not only of western standard (not that is the benchmark) but is also rooted in Indian mythology we don't want to give them a chance? We are ready with our judgments to pull them down over a glimpse. Let's wait for the movie to come out before we adorn our beloved hats of criticism or at least let the trailer release on June 15 to make a better assessment. It's great that social media serves as a great platform for discussion of films and series but to tear a film apart over a video of not even a minute long is no way forward.

The debate of nepotism being stirred again with The Archies given the fact that star kids are involved in it, and honestly wasn't even much of a surprise. But it's the talk around how the film is not a relatable content but rather is a privileged representation for a privileged class and ironically casting privileged people that sparked an interest. The film is set in the 1960s and is a musical drama adapted from the Archies comics but how many in India have read the comics or had access to it? The number is too low and is limited to a certain class which brings in a valid point of it not being a relatable content rooted in our world. But when did the unknown territory of the film's world become a deciding factor?

After all the unapologetic look of rich privileged people did change and was made more accessible and relatable to people by Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai or even Zoya's ZNMD or Dil Dhadakne Do. And given that these films irrespective of being rooted in privileges had something for all maybe The Archies will too. Though yes the nepotistic factor combined with privileged content makes it double the trouble for the film to be given a chance especially when for the past couple of years Bollywood seems to be struggling as many massive films are not working anymore. But considering it's an adaptation that too a musical which is first of its kind if made well and beautifully it could introduce Archies world to many!

And as far as Nepotism has to go it is a much larger debate that is too varied and everyone plays an equal part in it in one way or another. We do this by secretly seeking out to look at these star kids while enjoying our own sort of privileges while the industry does it by keeping on giving a chance to these kids even after they haven't proved their mettle. Hence it's a diabolical never-ending cycle that often seems like breaking while at other times not so much. Outcasting star kids and their exclusive birthright over the medium of art that's for everybody would mean more than simply pointing it out. It would require turning inward and fundamentally rethinking of the opportunities we allow one another, and the ones we don’t.


But both the announcements of the film Brahmastra and The Archies brought in a very visible point forward that while we all have been exposed to a great number of content which has, in turn, made us more aware of ourselves and our surroundings yet the readily availability of social media has turned us into impatient audiences that are far too quick to judge. Discussing and diving into discourse about a film or series is a part of constructive criticism and is fair but how is dissing or calling out an experimental film or series without even watching it fair?

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