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Why Shah Rukh Khan must pay for 'Asoka'. Just not the way the Kalinga Sena wants

Here's what the Kalinga Sena can do instead of throwing ink and waving black flags.

 |  3-minute read |   26-11-2018
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That moment when I stepped out of the theatre after watching the much-awaited Padmaavat, I realised that perhaps unwittingly, the Karni Sena was doing us a favour.

They wanted to stop the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus — and I wish they had. At least that would have saved me from the torture of sitting through a three-hour Tanishq advertisement.

The only thing that made it barely bearable was Ranveer Singh’s Allauddin Khilji. Yes, he was OTT, but I am biased.

Of course, the path the Karni Sena chose was incorrect. You cannot threaten to cut off the lead actor, Deepika Padukone’s, nose to stop a release. Just like you cannot splash ink on Shah Rukh Khan’s face for subjecting us to Asoka. And you certainly can’t do it 17 years after the release of the film!

For the uninitiated, the Kalinga Sena, similar to the Karni Sena in both name, intent and agency, has threatened to throw ink on Shah Rukh’s face when he visits Odisha tomorrow, November 27, for the inauguration of the Men’s Hockey World Cup, because they are offended by Khan's 2001-release, Asoka.

mv5boty4ztfjyjitmwix_112618073556.jpgShah Rukh. We have a way to save you from the blank ink attack. (Source: YouTube screen grab)

“We have made preparation to throw ink on the actor’s face and show him black flag at any place from the airport to the stadium. Our activists will remain present all along the road where Khan is likely to visit,” read a press statement issued by Kalinga Sena general secretary, Nihar Pani.

But why, one may ask.

Well, if you’ve seen Asoka, you know why the fringe group is cross. The 2001 release, starring Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan in the lead, did take plenty of creative liberty, and the people of Odisha were not pleased with it. Back at the time of its release, the film could not run for more than a week in Odisha, owing to protests and backlash.

What were they so offended about, you may wonder. Simply that the film had reportedly portrayed Kalinga, the erstwhile Odisha, in a bad light. Moreover, apparently, Kaurwaki (Kareena’s character) wasn’t even a princess, let alone that of Kalinga. And even if you were to add an imaginary princess to the land, at least make sure she’s feisty but not a predecessor to Mandakini.

But why the Kalinga Sena is choosing to react 17 years after the film's release is not known.

Still, better late than never. 

Aside from the people of Odisha, the film also offended regular cine-goers like yours truly. Even with truck-loads of willing suspension of disbelief, how that village in Kalinga managed to be so sartorially advanced in 265 BC was beyond me.

But that was 17 years ago.

Yes, I’ve had nightmares of Shah Rukh’s face with tomato ketchup (read: blood) oozing out of his mouth, but I’ve gotten over it. I almost needed therapy, but then, I had a rosogolla and I was happy again.

Now, the arrival of Shah Rukh Khan in town, precisely at the Kalinga Stadium, was like him stepping on the Kalinga Sena’s sore thumb. I completely get their outrage. He had ruined the Bangali’s favourite Devdas, too, and Devdas wasn’t even real. At least they have rosogolla and pools of sugary syrup to drown their disappointment in.

So, yes, pay he must. We want a refund of the ticket money we spent on the film Asoka. An average ticket back then was anything between Rs 50-100.

+ 17 years of inflation

+ rise in cost of living

+ an interest on the principal sum

+ GST.

And we arrive on a figure roughly between Rs 500-1000. So there. Two green crisps and we’ll call it a deal.

If West Bengal wants to stand in solidarity with Shah Rukh, their brand ambassador, they very well may. Odisha may have lost the rosogolla, they will not lose this one. 

In return, Odisha and yours truly could promise to even go watch Zero.

The Kalinga Sena would have their revenge. Shah Rukh would have a full theatre for Zero. The Indian economy would see some money rolling.

Win-win!

(The Kalinga Sena has since put its threat of throwing ink on SRK on hold, reports say. The decision was made apparently keeping the state's prestige and the sanctity of the sports tournament in mind. However, the Kalinga Sena has also been reported as saying this step has been taken for the time being).

Also read: How Bengal won the prestige issue of rasgulla from Odisha

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