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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful swashbuckling romance of epic proportions
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...
Published on 11 Jan. 2002

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Asoka [2001] DVD
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. There are some nice scenes of landscapes and the costumes are detailed but the sword does not look authenticly Indian. The fights scenes are poor however and Bollywood still has some work to do tomake them more convincing. It might...
Published on 10 Aug. 2010 by Rambosaur


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful swashbuckling romance of epic proportions, 11 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Asoka [VHS] [2001] (VHS Tape)
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. It has fewer songs than the standard Bollywood fare, is more naturalistic, has marvellous cinematography including time-shift shots, two of the greatest modern Bollywood stars, and effortlessly sweeps you through its full three hours leaving you breathless and almost overwhelmed at the end.
I only don't give it five stars because if you don't like Bollywood, you might find its traditional Bollywood conventions a bit distracting at first. Otherwise it is cinema at its best from beginning to end.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Why a sword in such beautiful hands?", 9 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (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). Asoka, at the end of this bloody war, sees jarringly for the first time all the death, despair and hatred he has caused, and finally turns to a life of non-violence and peace, spreading Buddhism across the world. This is but the bare skeleton of the plot, there is so much more to this enchanting and beautifully tragic tale. This film takes its time to unfold (about 3 hours long), but one cannot help but enjoy every moment of it.
I am so in love with this movie; it is one of those rare ones that really capture your heart and enthrall you. This August, I turn eighteen, and, in possession of my own credit-card, will purchase several copies of this film from Amazon; one for me, the others for friends. I would give this movie more stars if I could; EVERYONE should watch this. Believe me, you won't regret it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great and romantic movie about buddhist history in India, 1 Dec. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Shah Rukh's best, 21 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Asoka The Epic, 17 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asoka, 20 Jan. 2004
By 
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
The first thing you notice about this film is the stunning cinematography, the richness of colour and the beauty of its setting. The story itself is an old fashioned, if gory historical romp. Based loosely on the tale of the historical tyrant turned monk of third century B.C., Asoka, this is a film that truly has everything. Although the songs went somewhat over my head, they work well within the film, and the choreography is quite mesmerising. It was also helped for me that Osaka married not just one, but two stunning women. I guess that goes with the job of Emporer. Having not seen a Hindi film in full before, i am determined not to make this my last. A wonderful, wonderful film, with a heart rending ending. A must for any open minded fans of cinema!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 17 Jun. 2004
By 
Alezhi (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
This is the first Bollywood film I have ever watched - and I must say I am very impressed. Completely different in style to any film I have seen before, this added a new flavour to the genre for me. The graphics are beautiful, the actors are brilliant and the women are stunning and the songs were truly amazing.
A brilliant semi-fictional work, this is a film easily right up there with Gladiator and Braveheart, and, in my opinion, perhaps even better. The love story is both convincing and quite gut-wrenching too. All in all, I would say this is a must-buy, even if only to watch something different for a change, that is not dominated by the hollywood-style.
Buy this film - it rules:)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE., 30 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
From Santosh Sivan, the maker of The Terrorist, this really a masterpiece, having been made about 10 years ago, without all the computer gimmickry & special effects for the fights scenes.
Leaves such a powerful impact on you after the last scenes, it's difficult to get over it.

What's really special is that it's inspired and based on true events. Teaches a thing or two to the so-called modern men about the destructive nature of violence; the end does not necessarily justify the means.

And needless to say about the underlying love story; you'll feel it to your core for days...if course you've got a heart; I did, even the stonehearted/heartless man that I supposedly am!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE IN CINEMATOGRAPHY, 13 July 2010
By 
BABU VARMA "B.K. Varma" (Trichur East, Kerala State, India) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Asoka [2001] [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. He has earlier worked for several Malayalam films. When he decided to make the story of Emperor Ashoka(correct way to spell), there was a lot of un-necessary protest from various sections in India. The various political parties raised a big hue and cry because according to them, a film on Ashoka is glorifying Buddhism, which was taboo to many. Also they were of the opinion that the concept of the Emperor in the minds of the people would be totally altered by the song and dance ritual of all Bollywood films. They criticized that it would demean the name of the revered Emperor. Santosh Sivan had to change the spelling of the title from "ASHOKA" to "ASOKA" conveying that this film is based on some other king or emperor or whatever. Another group of politicians was angry because a Muslim actor was to portray the emperor and not a Hindu. The film had to pass through severe censorship before it could be released. The final product silenced all the skeptics. The movie went on to make quite a decent record at the box-office though one could not call it a HIT. The songs were all pictured in lovely lush locations and were a treat both to the eyes and ears. Shah rukh khan gives a very controlled portrait of the emperor. Kareena Kapoor the sex symbol of Bollywood also gives a marvelous performance that proved to her critics that she was not only a good-looker but a good-actor as well. The expressions that fleet across her face convey all the innermost trials and pains of her character. Really Superb. The DVD is very good in the sense that it comes with English subtitles for those unfamiliar with Hindi, and the sound is awesome. It has to be seen in a home theater with excellent sound system to give the best results. One will surely be awed at the battle scenes which have been filmed with lots of men and beasts alike. Right in good old Hollywood tradition. A must see DVD both for any Indians who have not had the chance to watch it on the big screen and also to everybody in countries abroad for the sheer spectacle of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Moving!, 14 July 2007
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Asoka was most defientley one of Shah Rukh Khan's best movies out! His acting is superb, he has a great range of skill and mastered the character amazingly well. Kareena Kapoors acting is also very good and not to out there. This movie is very moving and protrays how Asoka's attitude in life changed as he lost his loved ones. The soundtrack to this movie is also excellent. If you are a fan of Shah Rukh Khan or Bollywood...BUY THIS DVD, or rent it atleast ;)
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Asoka [2001] [DVD]
Asoka [2001] [DVD] by Santosh Sivan (DVD - 2003)
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