An Indian prince, Asoka (Khan), wages war in the third century BC, kills his brothers and ascends the throne of Magadha - only to be overcome by remorse and to denounce war in the name of Buddhism. It's the preamble to his conversion that we see most of, and especially his love affair with the independent Kaurwaki (Kapoor, convincing despite the shampoo-ad visuals). Khan embodies brutality and passion, but has to contend with an awkward mix of tragedy and comedy, which frequently jars and undercuts the action. Where director Sivan's 1998 feature, The Terrorist, was an intimate, slow-moving drama shot mainly in close-up, this is all whip pans, moving cameras and 'Scope action. Wonderful to look at, when you get the chance. (The director's cut runs at 158 min, while the Hindi version and the Tamil dubbed version both run at 176 min.