Shah Rukh Khan's Asoka starring the Khan himself, directed and shot by internationally acclaimed Santosh Sivan, captures the life and times of the great historical figure Asoka, who underwent a radical change and embraced Buddhism at the pinnacle of success.
Shah Rukh's first attempt at production, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, with Juhi Chawla, was a damp squib at the box office. And he has left no stone unturned in making Asoka a lavish affair.
The film has already been screened at several foreign film festivals.
The music of Asoka has a rhythm and life of its own as it recreates a heady mix of powerful sensuousness. The credit goes to the team of Aks, which returns to cast its spell in Asoka.
The team has the likes of composer Anu Malik (who could easily pass off as A R Rahman, had it not been specified in the inlay card), music arranger Ranjit Barot and poet Gulzar.
The album comprises six tracks and one theme music.
It starts off on a high voltage, dramatic note with Alka Yagnik and Hema Sardesai in pursuit of their Prince Charming in San sanana. THe high point of this song is the interesting use of the mridang.
Sensuality casts its spell in Raat ka nasha, repeated twice in the album. An immensely engaging track, picturised on Kareena Kapoor (who plays a tribal girl in the film, which explains her wild, exotic look, replete with kohl and tattoos).
Also, a word of appreciation for Chitra in the solo version and the duet with Abhijeet.
Roshni se follows -- a rich composition, which includes some awesome Buddhist chanting and the intriguing vocal chemistry between Abhijeet and Alka Yagnik.
O re kanchi captures the earthy feel of Oriya music, in addition to some funky drumbeats and the enthusiastic vocals of Shaan and Alka Yagnik.
Sandeep Chowta, who scored soulful theme pieces in Satya and Jungle, conjures another ace with Asoka. The theme piece is surreal and poetic, with appropriate use of the flute, violins and sitar.
Sunidhi Chauhan storms the speakers with Aa tayar joja, a fast-paced, upbeat track that promises to grow on you after a couple of hearings.
In a nutshell, Asoka rocks. Whether it will go down in history or not, it remains to be seen.
Moulin Rouge credits omit Anu Malik