Ashok Kumar (film)

Ashok Kumar is a 1941 Indian Tamil-language historical drama film directed by Raja Chandrasekhar. Based on a legend involving the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, his son Kunala and Ashoka's second wife Thishyarakshai, it stars M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, Chittoor V. Nagaiah and P. Kannamba. The film was released on 17 September 1941.

Ashok Kumar
Ashok Kumar film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRaja Chandrasekhar
Written byIlangovan
StarringM. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar
Chittoor V. Nagaiah
P. Kannamba
CinematographyJiten Banerjee
Edited byT. R. Raghunath
Music byAlathur V. Subramanyam
Murugan Talkies
Release date
  • 17 September 1941 (1941-09-17)
Running time
211 minutes[1]


The Mauryan emperor Ashokar's son Kunalan is courted by Ashokar's second wife Tishyarakshai. When he rejects her advances, he is falsely accused by the queen of trying to seduce her, and is thrown into prison and blinded. The story, however, comes to a happy end with his eyesight being restored by Gautama Buddha and the king acquits him of all the charges.



Ashok Kumar is based on a legend involving the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, his son Kunalan and Ashoka's younger queen Thishyarakshai. It was the first Tamil film based on the legend, which was previously filmed in Hindi as Veer Kunal (1925). Telugu actress P. Kannamba played the role of Thishyarakshai. This was her second Tamil film and since she did not know the language, she was provided with a script in which Tamil words had been transliterated into Telugu. Ashok Kumar marked the debut of Ranjan (credited as R. Ramani),[2] who portrayed Gautama Buddha. The song and dance sequence, "Unnai Kandu Mayangaatha" was shot in a single night at Newtone Studio.[3]


The songs were composed by Alathur V. Subramanyam and the lyrics were written by Papanasam Sivan.[2] Playback singers are Rama Rao and Mani of the Renuka Orchestra.[4][5]

1."Unnai Kandu"Papanasam SivanM. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar2:51
2."Dhyaname Enadu"Papanasam SivanM. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar3:06
3."Manamae Nee"Papanasam SivanM. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar3:19
4."Sathvaguna Bothan"Papanasam SivanM. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar3:14
5."Bhoomiyil Maanida Jenmam"Papanasam SivanM. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar2:46
Total length:15:16

Music CreditsEdit

Sharma Brothers Orchestra[6]
  • R. N. Thambi – Veena
  • V. Govindasami – Fiddle
  • N. L. Ramalingam – Harmonium
  • R. V. Parikshithu – Mridangam

Release and receptionEdit

Ashok Kumar was released on 17 September 1941.[7] Kay Yess Enn of The Indian Express praised the film for Kannamba's performance.[8]

In other mediaEdit

Portions of "Bhoomiyil Maanida" were used in "Theepidikka", a song in Arinthum Ariyamalum (2005).[9]


  1. ^ Rajadhyaksha & Willemen 1998, p. 288.
  2. ^ a b c d அசோக் குமார் (PDF) (song book) (in Tamil). Murugan Talkies. 1941. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  3. ^ Guy, Randor (25 January 2008). "Ashok Kumar 1941". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Ashok Kumar". Gaana. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Ashok Kumar". Hungama. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  6. ^ Ashok Kumar (motion picture) (in Tamil). Murugan Talkies. 1941. Opening credits, from 0:00 to 1:30.
  7. ^ "Asok-Kumar". The Indian Express. 17 September 1941. p. 5. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  8. ^ Kay Yess Enn (20 September 1941). "Asok-Kumar". The Indian Express. p. 3. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  9. ^ "சாதனை புரிந்த தமிழ் படங்கள் – 312– எஸ்.கணேஷ்". Dinamalar (in Tamil). Nellai. 12 September 2017. Archived from the original on 29 March 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2018.


External linksEdit