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Shah Rukh Khan
Gerson Da Cunha
Author, Making of Asoka
'We tried to make it look like Gladiator'- Rahul Nanda
Shah Rukh gave us a definite brief. One was to portray SRK as Ashoka -- The Emperor and the other was to portray the romantic angle of the film.
But with three bosses, it was a tough job. I could have done four more films with the amount of time I spent on this one. We spent a lot of time bouncing ideas off each other. Santosh wanted blue hues, Juhi keeping an eye on the commercial angle wanted a snazzy look for the hoardings and Shah Rukh had his own views.
But, when you are doing something so pathbreaking and so different, you do want to try and break your heads, have intelligent arguments and come up with something new.
We used a desaturated black and a warm yellow, because we were unsure of the usual black and whites. We wanted to convey that it was a mainstream commercial film, not just another art classic.
Kariena is draped in white because she neutralises the picture and is that symbol of peace in the seemingly chaotic picture. There were pictures of SRK after the war, portraying the devastation and the pain, but these were preferred by everybody because of the character and the power they exude.
There are a lot of stills we did not use. They will be, if the film becomes a hit.
However, I think the best continuity shots that I have ever seen are the ones that are shot by Santosh's assistants. Each picture is like a painting worthy enough of being framed. If the film does well, we will use a lot of them for publicity.
Having seen the film and worked on it, I know that it has been made with a lot of sincerity. Empire has given it 4 stars so there is a lot of curiousity we have generated. The number of prints I have made for the Western audience is the largest ever. In fact, the number is more than what was made for India.
But the designs for the western audiences are different keeping their tastes and knowledge about Bollywood in mind. The more romantic pose was taken off the cassette leaf, because they do not really know who Kariena is. Besides, we did not want them to think that it was a tribal film.
The publicity stills for the West were tailored to look like Gladiator. Jay Mehta has been the one who has opened up the largest number of channels to promote this film. It is to his credit that we have been able to generate and tap the entire market and generate such hype abroad about the film.
Rahul Nanda spoke to Pratiksha Arora