Asoka  [DVD]
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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.
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 WalkerSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are prepared to settle in for the epic length, this film is a treat.Read more ›
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).Read more ›
Real captivating movie!
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If your interested in Sumrat Ashoka like me get this film. If your into Indian history and interested in the Greatest Indian Emporer India has ever had this DVD will give you an... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Always worth to watch it, and to have it at hand. It's a great movie, on a great real personality. Still a movie to watch and watch again.Published 13 months ago by Anna Spinelli
Its a movie to cherish
Sharukh Khan looks good
the role suits him
Kareena looks ok though not as beautiful as expected
lovely movie, love it for years, now i have it in my collection of DVD. worth wathcing , good story and good musicPublished on 20 Jan. 2013 by Laura Mazarache
This is a bollywood take on the sword and sandal genre. The film focuseson a general prince who leaves his people to find "himself" I think. Read morePublished on 10 Aug. 2010 by Rambosaur
Asoka  [DVD]The film directed by India's number one Cinematographer Santosh Sivan is a delight to the eyes. Santosh Sivan is from Kerala, my home state. Read morePublished on 13 July 2010 by BABU VARMA