In India, about 260 BC in the Empire of Magadha, the Prince Asoka (Shah Rukh Khan) survives to many betrayals of his brothers, leaded by the evil Susima (Ajit Kumar), who wants to kill him to inherit the throne.
Asoka's mother orders him to leave Magadha to save his life, and while traveling, he meets Princess Kaurwaki (Karriena Kapoor) and her brother, Prince Aryan (Sooraj Balaji) from Kalinga, who are undercover and protected by General Bheema (Rahul Dev). Asoka and Kaurwaki falls in love for each other, but the mother of Asoka calls him back to Magadha. When he returns to Kaurwaki, he does not find her, since she was attacked by traitors of Kalinga and was hidden in the house of a loyal vassal. When Asoka's mother is killed by a man of Susima, Asoka becomes mad, kills all his evil brothers but Sugatra, who escapes to Kalinga. Asoka decides to conquer Kalinga, but in the end, he concludes that he has not built an empire, but conquered only corpses and destroyed everything, and he decides to spread love and the Buddhism with his son and his daughter.
"Asoka" is a spectacular epic from Bolywood. In Brazil, there are very few Indian movies released on DVD, but all of them are excellent. "Asoka" is one of the best, with a beautiful romance, very dramatic situations and great actions scenes, and a touching conclusion. The actress Karriena Kapoor is extremely beautiful and sexy, and has a great chemistry with Shah Rukh Khan. The boy Sooraj Balaji has a great performance in the role of a prince. Unfortunately the lyrics of the songs have not been translated in the Brazilian DVD. From other Bolywood movies, I am sure that the songs are very important, since they always tell something about the feelings of the characters in that moment. By the way, the music score is excellent. My vote is ten.
This film, combining familiar elements of epics such as Gladiator and Braveheart, is directed by the internationally renowned Indian director Santosh Sivan.
Sivan is primarily known for his low-budget arthouse hit, The Terrorist. "Asoka" is quite different from The Terrorist in both scale and starpower. Shah Rukh Khan, India's biggest star, plays the Mauryan Emperor Asoka, who wages bloody wars across the country only to renounce violence when he witnesses the aftermath of the destruction he causes. Drawn from legends and folk tales about the emperor, much of the film is not historical fact. However, the narrative provides true entertainment. Some criticism: "Asoka" seems to be using the same "Bollywood" love story formula, and augmenting the story of Asoka onto that formula. If it had been the other way around, this film would have been far more intriguing and relevent. Most of the movie revolves around his romance with his one true love, princess Kaurwaki, played by Kareena Kapoor. We are left not knowing much about Asoka's message of peace, only his trials with love. On top of that, the poor song and dance numbers in the film disrupt the narrative flow. On the other hand, while Anu Malik does a bad job with the composition of the songs, the composers Sandeep Chowta and Ranjit Barot weave a superb musical score seamlessly into the film. Even with its faults, "Asoka" is gripping through and through with spectacular battle scenes, fine acting by Khan and also, notably, Ajit Kumar, who plays Asoka's duplicitous brother Susima. Techincally, the film is unbeatable by any other Indian film to date. The editing is fast paced and spectacularly done by Sreekar Prasad, the premier film editor of India. The direction is magnificent, and above all else, the cinematography, done by Sivan himself, is indescribably gorgeous. It is sumptuous, and spectacularly vivid. Sivan is regarded as one of the world's premiere cinematogaphers, and this film is proof positive of that. This film should, like Aamir Khan's "Lagaan", be able to break through to western audiences. All in all, a great acheivement