Asoka (12)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byNina Patel11/01/2001

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Four out of five stars

Based on the life of Indian Emperor Asoka who lived 2,300 years ago this film, subtitled in English, presents a slice of ancient India, her traditions and her spiritual treasure.

As a youth, Asoka falls in love with the beautiful Princess Kaurwaki, played by Kareena Kapoor. But as an adult and King, he becomes obsessed with a sadistic hunger for power and is separated from her when he seeks to expand his empire.

As the Emperor, Asoka realises that his conquests have inflicted great suffering on the lives of innocent people which sparks an inner change and finally he turns towards monkdom preaching the message of non-violence and love.

Thus Asoka fulfils the four stages of life expected of Hindus according to Vedic philosophy.

Cinematographer/director Santosh Sivan and actor Shah Rukh Khan, who plays Asoka, have certainly pushed mainstream Hindi cinema forward. This film is visually haunting. Prophetic moments such as the appearance of the Buddhist monk at Asoka's crucial battle of Kalinga, spreading his message in silence and foretelling Asoka's change onto the spiritual path, is wonderfully done.

Captivating film and excellent performances all round. Kareena Kapoor emerges as a true rival for her sister Karishma, and Suraj Balaje, the boy prince, as fresh talent.

A must see on the big screen if you are a Bollywood fan.

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Content updated: 20/11/2017 13:53

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