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Shah Rukh Khan
Gerson Da Cunha
Author, Making of Asoka
You said it
"Will Asoka work?"
Especially after the astounding success of two period dramas Lagaan and Gadar - Ek Prem Katha.
While these were based on fictitious scripts, Asoka conveys the story of the Great Indian Emperor Ashoka. Albeit, director Santosh Sivan's novel approach to the film has evoked mixed reactions.
Some say Asoka will be a disaster while others swear that it will be the year's biggest blockbuster. We ventured on to the streets of Bombay, which, by all accounts, is considered the measure of trade success in India.
Here's what the junta has to say:
Agastya, who deals in business information, harps "I wish I could go to the films, munch popcorn, drink endless bottles of cold drinks and have a ball. And whether it is about Ashoka or Akbar, it doesn't matter. It could click. Then again, it might not. Who cares?"
But Final Year Commerce student Kavita Reddy does care. "I donít think it will click. When I heard the music of the film on television, the film didnt seem to be going anywhere. The song O re kanchi sounds way too hep. I wonder if they've succeeded in making a good historical."
Likewise for Ishita, a computer programmer. "I donít think Asoka looks like a period piece, like Gadar. I donít mind seeing it because I admire Kariena and so does my boy friend."
Housewife Chayya insists that the film will definitely click. "With Shah Rukh Khan in it, what else does one want? I want to see the film very much", she beams.
So does Fais. "Yes, I want to see Asoka. Not because of Shah Rukh, but because I have seen Santosh Sivan's previous hit film, The Terrorist. A Sivan film is worth watching. Kariena is another incentive. But I doubt it will be even remotely as successful as Gadar or Lagaan."
Librarian Raksha is not interested in watching the flick; it hasnít managed to capture her attention.
Security guard Santosh is keen on viewing the historical drama because his "favorite actor Shah Rukh Khan" stars in it. Although he is not sure how big a hit it could be, Santosh is certain that "Asoka will do reasonably well".
Telephone booth owner Sunil sounds irritated at the idea of watching any film. "I donít have the time to see any films. I'm not interested." Later, we overhear him discussing catching a late night show of Preity Zinta starrer Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke.
Taxi driver Shaheed jumps at the idea of watching Asoka. "I never miss any film. I see them all; first day, first show itself. Ditto for Asoka which is based on the Great Emperor."
Shopkeeper Ramnik shares Shaheed's sentiments. "I want to the see the film, not just for Shah Rukh, but because I am confident it will be a good film. It will be a hit -- wait and watch!" he predicts.
Fruit vendor Milind is cautious. "I will comment only after I see the film. After seeing the trailers, I donít have an aversion to seeing it. Looks like the film might turn out to be a hit."
Twenty one-year-old Ashish says, " I don't think it will be a hit because, though Asoka is a period drama, the trailors and songs don't have a historical feel. Besides, I have no particular liking for Shah Rukh Khan. If I do watch the film, it will be with my friends."
As for kids, the less said the better. Most of them rejected the prospect of watching Shah Rukh Khan fighting the battle of Kalinga.
Conclusion: The masses want to check out the film, be it for Shah Rukh Khan or Kariena Kapoor. But will it click?
Quoting Ramnik bhai: "Wait and watch!"