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Asoka [2001] [DVD]


Price: £7.33 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Asoka [2001] [DVD] + Devdas [DVD] [NTSC] + Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) - Amitabh Bachchan - Shah Rukh Khan - Hrithik Roshan - Bollywood - Indian Cinema - Hindi Film [DVD] [2002] [NTSC]
Price For All Three: £35.31

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Product details

  • Actors: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Danny Denzongpa, Rahul Dev, Hrishitaa Bhatt
  • Directors: Santosh Sivan
  • Writers: Santosh Sivan, Abbas Tyrewala, Saket Chaudhary
  • Producers: Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Mark Burton, Sanjiv Chawla
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby, Subtitled
  • Language: Hindi
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Prism Leisure
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Jan 2003
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UJAS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,624 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The epic story of the Emperor Asoka, the ruler of Magadha in the 3rd century BC. Asoka was a warrior whose desire to expand his empire led him to wage a long and relentless war against the neighbouring kingdom of Kalinga. But after seeing the death and destruction brought about by his warmongering, Asoka finds himself overcome with remorse and decides to dedicate the rest of his life to helping spread the teachings of Buddhism.

From Amazon.co.uk

Both stylish and stylised, Santosh Sivan's Hindi epic Asoka tells the heavily fictionalised but nonetheless compelling story of India's greatest emperor. In the third century BC the Mauryan king Asoka built a vast empire by means of ruthless conquest; but after the great Kalinga war he became sickened by the terrible slaughter he had caused, converted to Buddhism and dedicated the rest of his life to spreading peace and prosperity.

The film, though, concerns itself only with Asoka's rise to power, his love for the princess Kaurwaki, and his subsequent descent into brutality. Shah Rukh Khan is a brooding and temperamental prince who woos the lovely princess Kaurwaki (Kareena Kapoor) incognito and with the aid of the obligatory song-and-dance numbers. After a promising start involving mythic swords, heroic combat and King Lear-like sibling rivalry, the film falls into a familiar Bollywood groove for a while until events overtake the unlucky lovers and Asoka turns mean when he thinks his princess is dead. She in turn searches vainly for her handsome hero, not knowing his real identity; and when the tyrannical Asoka attacks her kingdom she leads her people against his armies in a near-genocidal war. The finale, after a wonderfully staged battle that employs 6,000 extras, is genuinely touching.

Throughout, the film works best when striving for a realistic tone, though the fairy tale romance and song interludes are doubtless contrived to please the domestic Indian audience more than cynical Europeans. It's a shame that Asoka's true greatness is never realised on screen, as the story ends before his momentous conversion, but as a film that tackles big themes with real visual flair Asoka nonetheless deserves to find a worldwide audience.

On the DVD: Presented in sumptuous widescreen (2.35:1) anamorphic format and in Dolby 5.1, the film can be viewed with or without English subtitles. There are also two short documentaries, in English, featuring interviews with the star and director among others. The five big musical numbers can be accessed all in one go or individually, while a trailer and picture gallery complete a good package. --Mark Walker


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jan 2002
Asoka, the story of the first all-India emperor who introduced Buddhism to the country, is a cinematic treat for anyone who has even a remote acquaintance with Bollywood films. It stars devilishly lovable rogue Shah Rukh Khan at his most naturalistic and commanding best as the emperor Asoka, and haughtily gorgeous Kareena Kapoor, Bollywood's latest superstar actress, as the Kalingan princess he falls in love with. The plot manages to combine typical Bollywood love-story-with-a-tragic-twist with a genuine - though liberally inventive - exploration and dramatisation of historical events. Asoka is the first real character of Indian history and as such, is seen as a nation-builder. The film certainly gives the impression of both the epic sweep of history and of the sophistication and breadth of 1st millenia BC Indian civilisation, and is lavishly photographed, designed, costumed and shot in every scene. The battle scenes - some of the best I've seen - are vast and not computer generated, with elephants fighting alongside footsoldiers, and the audience is not spared from grisliness of war. This is a film with a message: one learnt by the real Asoka and disseminated across his nation. War brings no benefits. Violence is evil. The violence in the film is given an ultra-realism and morality that Hollywood doesn't match, while you can thrill, at the same time, to the sight of a spear point within millimetres of Shah Rukh Khan's eyeball, or the sight of Kareena wielding a sword on the battlefield in defence of her people.
If you are prepared to settle in for the epic length, this film is a treat.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kiwi-fille on 9 Feb 2006
Format: DVD
I have a very poor opinion of Bollywood movies (most of which consist of half-naked women gyrating on screen, the set-location moving impossibly from Egypt in one moment to Switzerland in the next. Weak plots combine with goofy all-dancing/all-singing numbers, normally).
I watched this movie with much trepidation (I am of Indian origin, and am totally clueless of India's rich culture/history). This film just swept me away, words cannot describe the sheer euphoria that rushed through me when watching this masterpiece unfold. Lush locations, beauteous women clad in the simplest of garments, an intriguing plot with no end of twists and turns, interesting-looking weapons and fight-scenes, subtle humour, a blossoming romance. This is a sparkling gem of a film that rivals such others like 'Braveheart' and 'Gladiator'. Based on actual fact and history (along with a few legends), it tells the story of a mighty prince - Asoka (played with utter conviction by the infamous Shahrukh Khan), and his love for a woman in exile, his "Warrior" - fiesty Princess Kaurwaki (played by the charming Kariena Kapoor); believing that his love is lost, and angered by the murder of his beloved mother, Asoka slowly sinks into a consuming despair and dementia, and starts to "destroy everything", slaughtering innocents and conquering lands, in his wish to be "the greatest emperor on earth". This culminates in the great war he wages against his neighbouring kingdom of Kalinga (this movie, is in fact, dedicated to the people of Kalinga, who were hopelessly outnumbered and so brave in the face of adversity).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Dec 2001
Format: DVD
I saw the movie in Calcutta, without sub-titles but it was fascinating anyway! The movie depicts an important part of buddhist history in India, and combines this with a touching love story. It is a real Hindi movie: with song and dance and no kissing; but so well played that is was not necessary to understand Hindi.
Real captivating movie!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Boo on 21 Feb 2007
Format: DVD
I think that this film is alot better than many critics made out when the film was first released. I would definately say that it comes after Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge in terms of Shah Rukh Khan's best films, and loved every bit of it, the songs, action sequences and love stories. Shah Rukh shows in this film that he has a great ability to perform the roles of 'goodies' and 'baddies', in the space of one film, and he makes you as a viewer hate him and love him at the same time. And this is coming from someone who isnt an obsessive SRK fan.

Definately a must see, even if you are not Asian, as I am not, and I still loved it.

The special features are also great value, as there are interviews with Santosh Sivan, SRK himself, and producer and film star Juhi Chawla, with clips of behind the scenes footage.

A great buy, I would recommend it to anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MR on 17 Sep 2005
Format: DVD
This is a classic - It started off like an arty Indian movie with stagey character acting (which can be off putting!) but when the story moves to Asoka's adventure as a normal everyman - the movie takes on elements of classic Bollywood with some nice songs and romantic storyline.
The martial arts sequences are stylised and surprisingly quite dramatic - Particularly Danny Denzongpa's final battle - and the war scene at the climax.
I was extremely surprised at how good this film was and at the time of its release critics compared it to Braveheart and Gladiator - Although this movie surpasses both those films in terms of its cinematic direction, sheer scale and storyline. I would rate this film on a par with classics such as 'Dances With Wolves'.
This is more than worth the asking price (Its a steal!).
A movie no one should miss.
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