Bollywood film Brahmastra has been in the theatres for a few days but it has been in the headlines for the past several months. Right-wing organizations have been demonstrating against this film on various grounds. A few days before the film’s release, Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor were allegedly stopped from entering the Mahakal Temple in Ujjain. There was also a demand to boycott the movie on social media platforms. The film was finally released on September 9 amid a wave of controversy.

Against this backdrop, videos of audiences’ reviews of Brahmastra are being circulated widely on social media, describing the film as a flop. One such video was tweeted by a handle called ‘@Lucifer04588091’. Here, a group of people can bee seen criticizing the film, terming it ‘nonsensical’ and a ‘terrible movie’. Among them, there is an aged person in a light pink T-shirt. In the accompanying tweet, the user states that these people are giving a review of the film Brahmastra. (Archived link) Let’s call this viral video I.

[Note: Some people in the videos can be heard using expletive language. Please watch at your own discretion.]

Twitter handle ‘@ShrishtySays’ also promoted a video as a review of Brahmastra, where the same aged man talks about a film, but this time he is in a grey T-shirt. At the time of the writing of this report, this video racked up more than 2 lakh views and was retweeted by more than 2,000 users. (Archived link) Let’s call this viral video II.

Twitter user Keshav Kumar Chaudhary tweeted the clip dubbing it as an elderly man’s review of Brahmastra. (Archived link)

Fact-check

The same elderly man is seen in both these videos. It is worth noting that he is wearing different clothes in each. In other words, both the videos were taken at different occasions. Now, if a viewer did not enjoy a movie at all, it is unlikely that he would watch it a second time. It is equally unlikely that he would review the same film twice. These things made us suspicious of the authenticity of the videos.

Next, Alt News performed a reverse image search using a frame taken from the viral video I. During our investigation, we came across some videos from 2016.

A channel named ‘Viral Bollywood’ uploaded a video on September 9, 2016, which features the old man in a light pink T-shirt among others. According to the channel, the people seen in the video are giving a review of the film ‘Baar Baar Dekho’. The same individuals from the viral video I are also seen here. This film was released in 2016, with Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra playing the lead roles.

Media outlet India.com published an article on September 10, 2016 covering the elderly man’s review of Baar Baar Dekho.

Next, let’s focus on viral video II. Upon further research, we came to know that this was a review of the movie ‘Udta Punjab’. It is worth noting that Udta Punjab was also released in 2016.

In March 2017, Viral Bollywood uploaded a video collating the old man’s reviews of different films.

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta also posted a tweet debunking the viral video I. A number of other Twitter users, too, maintained that the viral video was old.

To sum it up, social media users falsely shared videos of audience reviews of two films from 2016 as reviews of the recently released film, Brahmastra.

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