Big B dons Ashoka mantle | india | Hindustan Times
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Big B dons Ashoka mantle

The three times National Award winner will play King Ashoka in The Legend of Kunal, to be directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who made the acclaimed serial Chanakya. Princy Jain tells more.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2009 20:04 IST
Princy Jain

Amitabh Bachchan is doing the first period film of his 40-year career. The three times National Award winner will play King Ashoka in The Legend of Kunal, to be directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who made the acclaimed serial Chanakya. Arjun Rampal has been cast as Ashoka’s son Kunal, while Amrita Rao has been signed to play Rampal’s wife. This film will also mark the revival of Bachchan’s production house ABCL.

Rampal, who has worked with Big B in Kaante, is looking forward to the film, both for a chance to work with Bachchan again, and as “a learning experience to dive into the bygone era”. To prepare, he plans to read up about the Maurya dynasty and Ashoka. “Not much is available on Kunal, so I will mostly rely on the director’s vision and research,” says Rampal, who is rather kicked about the historical action. “I am most excited about bits like horse riding, and sword fighting... all those royal stunts.”

“It’s the story of the relationship between Ashoka and Kunal,” says Dwivedi. Amitabh’s Ashoka is Dharmashoka, the king who gave up warfare and was transformed from Chandashoka. Shah Rukh Khan’s Asoka (2001) was the last major film made on one of history’s greatest monarchs.

“My film starts where Shah Rukh’s Asoka ended,” Dwivedi says. Tabu plays the king’s wife Tishyarakshita, “one of the most powerful characters of Indian history, who swayed the Mauryan empire with her beauty and politics”. The director is now following up his three-year research with a hunt for the best location, “considering Nepal and some relevant places in India”.