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Shah Rukh Khan
Gerson Da Cunha
Author, Making of Asoka
Shah Rukh Khan's first home production, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, had raised great expectations from the film, due to the hype created around it. But it bombed at the box office.
Now Shah Rukh is back with his second production - Asoka. This film, however, is not a Dreamz Unlimited production, but an Archlightz and Films Pvt Ltd.
What began as an experiment on a small budget went on to become a mega project. They realised that a period film could not look grand, if restricted to a small budget. So as the budget grew, so did the hype. And the expectations.
Will Asoka fulfill the great expectations? Or will it meet the same fate as Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani?
Trade expert Indu Mirani says, "The promos seem nice. It has a nice historic feel. The cast looks very good, especially Shah Rukh and Kariena. I think the film will do well. I just hope that it's not a history lesson."
Komal Nahta of Film Information agrees. "Asoka will be successful in cities, because the craze there is tremendous." Expectations are here to stay, in any kind of film. It all depends if the film can fulfill the expectations.
"Besides, Asoka's budget is reasonable, so it should cover its cost," adds Nahta.
People are also very curious about Shah Rukh and Kariena together in a film. Says Mirani, "Even though Kariena has had only one hit to her credit (Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai), people will come to watch her in the film. Flops don't matter in her case -- she goes beyond that. She's young, beautiful and vivacious. People will be very curious to see her."
But the film has competition. Sunny Deol's Indian is also releasing on the same day. Will they eat into each other's business?
"Indian has Sunny in an action role -- exactly what people want to see. These films usually do well. The two films may cut into each other's business. But October 26 is also a holiday. So that's a benefit both films will enjoy," says Mirani.
Nahta differs. "The films will not cut into each other's business at all. The two films are entirely different in their content. Asoka will attract an intelligent audience. And Sunny's action flick will do well because everyone loves action."
The truth will be out on October 26.