'Provoked' directed by Jagmohan Mundhra in which Ash plays the pivotal role of a battered Indian housewife based in the UK has received a phenomenal reception in the UK as well as India from film critics and audiences.
It is perhaps for the first time, Ash's overseas project has received a good response. Her earlier films 'Bride and Prejudice' and 'Mistress of Spice' were non-starters, trade sources said.
Eros International, who distributed the film, said in a statement that Provoked, which released on April six, has crossed Fox Searchlight distributed Namesake's weekend box office takings in the UK.
Provoked grossed 1,40,204 pounds with just 35 prints as against 1,25,084 pounds for Namesake with 59 prints in its opening weekend, thus giving a nearly double screen average of 4005 as against 2120 for Namesake.
Time Out London refers to Provoked as a film that 'packs a Punch', Daily Mirror said the film was ''a worthy story and this drama deals with the delicate subject matter with a sensitive touch' giving the film three stars, BBC Online described the film where 'you actually forget Aishwarya Rai's good looks and empathise with her portrayal of a victim turned victor'.
Provoked is the true life depiction of Kiranjit Ahluwalia (played by Aishwarya Rai), the Asian woman who overturned the British judicial system and transformed the meaning of 'provocation' in the case of physically abused women, winning justice for women subjected to domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse.
The film, based on Ahluwalia's autobiography Circle of Light by Rahila Gupta, follows her lonely struggle in an abusive 10-year marriage, her retaliation through the murder of her violent husband and the efforts of women activists Southall Black Sisters to bring her justice.