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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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pure fantasy, bollywood ishtyle, 5 Mar 2006
By 
Jeffrey Lehman (Market Harborough, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Most of what people know about Asoka is pure fantasy. For example, it is widely believed that Ashoka, out of disgust and sorrow over all the blood he shed, renounces violence and becomes a Buddhist. The details about this, however, comes from text written several hundred years after his death. Historic fact is that he probably did not become a Buddhist, and he became the model emperor in order to peacefully consolidate his conquests. If he had renounced violence and was sorry for what he had done, why did he not return the land he had taken? Any good history book will clarify this.
Now, about the film:
The film Asoka takes the fantasy, and fantasizes about it, creating a whole new level of fantasy, which is the story the film follows. It is pure Bollywood melodrama: boy meets girl, they fall in love, they get separated, boy thinks girl dies, boy eventually remarries, invades her country, and fights her army in battle. Okay, the last bit doesn't fit any of the normal formulas. But, change the clothing, and it's a standard Bollywood film.
The movie is, emphatically, not "as good as Gladiator" or Braveheart. The battle scenes are disappointing. Apparantly, rolling burning logs down a hillside will defeat an entire army. Well, of course it would do if they all stand there screaming and falling about the place, as they do in Asoka. There are amazing lapses in storyline continuity. For example, Asoka is lying at death's door. Then he's up and hunting. Then he's back in his sick bed and unaware of what's going on around him. Switches from day to night and back to day again seem to occur within a few minutes (depending on which lighting is more dramatic for the shot). Taking Bollywood standards into account, it is not nearly as good a historic melodrama as "Mughal-e-Azam", for example.
Having said all of that, if you accept that almost nothing of the story is at all factual, and that it is a "heightened emotional drama", as is the usual case with Indian films, and if you accept that continuity is not a priority in a Bollywood film, then Asoka is quite an enjoyable film. The story has its own interest, and the song and dance bits are fascinating. The cinematography is quite good by Bollywood standards. So, judging it purely on the basis of its own story, and by the expectations of a Bollywood film, I give it four stars.
If you can enjoy Bollywood films, then the four stars apply to you. If you can't step into their world and mindset, then you won't enjoy this one.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, 4 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
An excellent piece of a movie.
Even though the bollywood aspect (songs) dont mix too well with an epic story, the songs are pretty good on their own. The movie sans the songs could have showed more blood and violence as was the case in that era of Indian history.
All said, kudos to Khan for his efforts to bring some history back into our lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars King Khan, 28 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Its a movie to cherish
Sharukh Khan looks good
the role suits him
Kareena looks ok though not as beautiful as expected
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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect, 20 Jan 2013
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
lovely movie, love it for years, now i have it in my collection of DVD. worth wathcing , good story and good music
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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
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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4.0 out of 5 stars View for enjoyment, 24 Sep 2006
By 
Thomas Dana Lloyd "D. Thomas" (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
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An enjoyable film, considering it does not pretend to be a historical reconstruction. Good photography and generally fine settings. The musical numbers are a trifle tacky, but who really knows what dancing and singing was like in the 3rd cent. BC? Of course there were no special effects then.... The power politics aspect is well portrayed.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, a Must have like crouching tiger hidden dragon., 17 Feb 2002
By 
SJR Fawcett (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Fantastic, Hindi with english subtitles. Wonderful tale of strengh of will over all else, even love. Watch the atmospheric drama in on go on as wide a screen as possibe. Quality almost as good as Gladiator.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great movie masterpice., 1 Oct 2004
By 
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
This film looks, soungs and is GREAT!
Shah Rukh is wonderfull, and although i'm not a Kareena fan, she is very good in this film.
The acting is great, the 'look' is butiful and the songs are realy catchy.
Asoka is a film on the scale of meny Hollywood Blockbusters and hasnt, in my opinon, been given the credit it diserves.
Must be seen to be belived. - Go and watch it now!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Asoka [2001] DVD, 10 Aug 2010
This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (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 be worth looking at if you want to learn about Ancient Indian fuedal times but don't expect Gladiator epicness.
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7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bearable., 16 April 2006
By 
David Welsh (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Asoka [2001] [DVD] (DVD)
Overall, this is a pretty disappointing film, given the subject matter it is based on. The film only follows Asoka up to the point where he renounces violence and becomes a Buddhist - that's where it stops. It has all the characteristics of a Bollywood film which are likely to infuriate the Western viewer: the plot basically revolves around a convoluted and nauseatingly sentimental love story, the characters periodically break out into song and dance routines which are totally incidental to the plot and, at almost three hours, the film is far longer than the fairly thin plot can possibly justify. Having said this, the film is really stunning from a visual point of view, which makes it just about bearable. But really, only just.
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Asoka [2001] [DVD]
Asoka [2001] [DVD] by Santosh Sivan (DVD - 2003)
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