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SRK in the doldrums


After his pumping iron religiously and after Santosh Sivan doing a great deal of research on the background history of eSamrat Ashokaf, the film seems to be going the way of Deepa Mehtafs Water. Shah Rukh Khan who plays Ashoka himself, Kareena Kapoor who plays princess Kasbaki and director Santosh Sivan are beginning to despair as historians and politicians (donft they have better things to do than rile up controversy to gain media attention?) are making it their business to put the film out of business.

While the conventional story is that the mighty King adopted Buddhism after being overwhelmed by the bloodbath he caused at Kalinga, Santosh Sivan toyed with it to lend a romantic angle to the tale. In his version, eAshoka The Greatf falls in love with Kasbaki, the princess of Kalinga, which is why he wages war on Kalinga. Now the historians have no objection to the King and Kasbakifs relationship, their only grouse is that Kasbaki was actually a beautiful Buddhist mendicant who influenced Ashoka to the extent that he not only adopted but also propagated Buddhism for as long as he lived.

Aside from the usual noise, a demand that the film be banned and not allowing Shah Rukh and company to shoot, S N Das, a Member of Parliament and historian has gone so far as to state, "Though Ashok Chakra is associated with our national flag the government has allowed these people to insult our history and heritage." In an attempt to prevent an agitation on the lines of the one that was organized to protest against and stop the shooting of Water, Santosh Sivan is planning a meeting with the historian-politician to convince him of the authenticity of his estoryf. We wish him all the best and will someone please cheer up SRK!