Ajay as Emperor Ashoka

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Raj Kumar Santoshi who just completed his film Halla Bol with Ajay Devgan, has now signed the excellent actor to play an epic character. Ajay will take on the role of Ashoka in Santoshi’s vision of the Maurayn emperor’s life.

Santoshi said, “Though he was born in 265 BC, today Emperor Ashoka’s message of Buddhist peace at the time of terrible strife and war is more relevant than ever. I want my Ashoka to reach out to the young hip-and-happening generation. It won’t be a costume drama like ‘Mughal-e-Azam’. It will be a happening epic on the lines of Hollywood’s Spartacus, Braveheart and Gladiator. Technicians from all over the world are now being finalized.”

Shah Rukh Khan earlier starred as Ashoka in film directed by Santosh Sivan. Despite this great casting, the film was not well accepted at the box office.

Santoshi added, “I’m aware of Sivan’s film. He’s a fine craftsman. But my approach and treatment to this fascinating subject will be very different. My Ashoka will open during the Battle of Kalinga and move forward into the emperor’s life and also recreate events pre-Kalinga through flashbacks.”

Shooting for the film will begin in the first part of 2008 and interestingly it will not have any songs, just a background score composed by one of the masters of Hindi music, A.R. Rahman.

Ajay will be working with this impressive director again when he essays the character of Rama for Santoshi’s version of Ramayan.

Seems there are many wonderful films in the pipeline coming from this great director and we cannot wait to see them all!

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