Kabul Express

Kabul Express

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Kabul Express is a Bollywood
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 film that was released on 15 December 2006. The film stars John Abraham
John Abraham (actor)
John Abraham is an Indian film actor and former model. After modeling for numerous advertisements and companies, Abraham made his film debut with Jism , which earned him a Filmfare Best Debut Award nomination. This was followed by his first commercial success, Dhoom...

, Arshad Warsi
Arshad Warsi
Arshad Warsi is an Indian actor who debuted in 1996 with the film Tere Mere Sapne which was a success but he is best known for his role as "Circuit" in the comedy films Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munnabhai and his role as Babban in Ishqiya which won him acclaim.-Early life and...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i actor Salman Shahid
Salman Shahid
Salman Shahid is an actor who has worked in many stage plays and tv shows. He recently appeared in the Bollywood film Ishqiya. The actor for many years has given Pakistan great comedy shows. His mother Khursheed Shahid was also a well known tv artist while his father Salim Shahid created programs...

, Afghan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 actor Hanif Hum Ghum and American actress Linda Arsenio
Linda Arsenio
Linda Arsenio is an American actress and model from Texas. She has predominantly appeared in Indian films in various languages. She is probably best known for her performance as Jessica Beckham in the 2006 Hindi film Kabul Express....

. The film is produced by Aditya Chopra
Aditya Chopra
Aditya Chopra is an Indian film producer, screenwriter and director. He is most known for directing his only three films Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge , Mohabbatein , and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi...

 under Yash Raj Films
Yash Raj Films
Yash Raj Films is an Indian Entertainment company set up by Yash Chopra, an Indian film director and producer who is considered an entertainment mogul in India.-Initial years:...

 and is directed by documentary film maker Kabir Khan
Kabir Khan (director)
Kabir Khan is an Pathan Indian film director, screenwriter, and camera operator of documentary and Bollywood films.-Career:A graduate of Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, Khan started his career as a cinematographer for the documentary film, Beyond the Himalayas which was directed by Gautam...

.

Kabul Express is the first fictional film for director Kabir Khan who has made several documentaries over the years in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. According to him Kabul Express is loosely based on his and his friend Rajan Kapoor's experiences in post-taliban Afghanistan.

Plot


Suhel Khan (John Abraham
John Abraham (actor)
John Abraham is an Indian film actor and former model. After modeling for numerous advertisements and companies, Abraham made his film debut with Jism , which earned him a Filmfare Best Debut Award nomination. This was followed by his first commercial success, Dhoom...

) and Jai Kapoor(Arshad Warsi
Arshad Warsi
Arshad Warsi is an Indian actor who debuted in 1996 with the film Tere Mere Sapne which was a success but he is best known for his role as "Circuit" in the comedy films Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munnabhai and his role as Babban in Ishqiya which won him acclaim.-Early life and...

) are Indian journalists working for Star News
STAR News
STAR News is the Hindi language news channel of STAR TV based in Mumbai. The channel is a co-production of STAR Group and ABP Pvt. Ltd...

 who are sent into Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 to create a report on what life is like in the country following the US Invasion of the country in September 2001. The two are shocked at the state of the country and the ruins that remain due to years of rule by the Taliban Regime. They take a tour of the country in a Taxi starting in Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

. This follows an escape from capture by the Taliban.

On the way, they stop in the village of Ishtar along with the Taxi Driver Khyber(Hanif Humghum) who has watched his country fall apart over the decades. They stop in a small cafe selling Kebabs where they meet American Muslim Journalist Jessica Beckham(Linda Arsenio
Linda Arsenio
Linda Arsenio is an American actress and model from Texas. She has predominantly appeared in Indian films in various languages. She is probably best known for her performance as Jessica Beckham in the 2006 Hindi film Kabul Express....

) who is working for ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 in reporting on the US side of the War in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. Suhel and Jai then invite Jessica to join them on their tour of the country which she does. However, shortly after leaving Ishtar, they are caught by Taliban official Imran Khan(Salman Shahid
Salman Shahid
Salman Shahid is an actor who has worked in many stage plays and tv shows. He recently appeared in the Bollywood film Ishqiya. The actor for many years has given Pakistan great comedy shows. His mother Khursheed Shahid was also a well known tv artist while his father Salim Shahid created programs...

) who has hitched a ride at the back of the Taxi in disguise as an Afghan woman. Imran demands they listen to him and travel straight to the Afghan border with Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 or he promises they will be killed. Imran is attempting to cross the border, get past Pakistani troops and negotiate with his Taliban associates in Pakistan.

The four of them(Suhel, Jai, Jesica, Imran and Khyber) travel through various villages where they say horrific sights of poverty before reaching the southern city of Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 where Jessica gets the chance to interview US troops who are fighting to re-gain control of the city from the Taliban who occupy the area. In the meantime, Suhel and Jai attempt to interview Imran yet are unsuccessful when Imran threatens to shoot them. Once leaving Kandahar they travel through a farm and manage to capture a bull fight on film before stopping off at a stream coming closer to the Pakistan border. While Imran and the rest are out exploring, Jessica discovers Imran's passport as a Pakistani passport
Pakistani passport
Pakistani passports are issued to the citizens of Pakistan for the purpose of international travel. Directorate General Immigration and Passports of Ministry of Interior is responsible for issuing the passport...

. She discovers that he is not a Taliban, but in fact a member of the Pakistani army named Wassim Chaudrey sent to Afghanistan to support the Mujahadeen rebels in their war against the USSR back in the 1980s before he settled down in the country as a member of the Taliban Regime. When Imran discovers the break-in, he takes Suhel, Khyber and Jessica hostage and forces them to continue the journey to the Pakistan border. At one point, Imran abandons them for hours when he hears a noice. Gunshots are fired and the three travellers discover Imran to have 10 US soldiers who attempted to kill him. With Imran distracted, Suhel grabs a gun from one of the soldiers and points it at Imran threatening to kill him if he doesn't answer him in his interview. They leave Imran at the side of the road and start their journey back to Kabul. However they stopped in their path when Imran manages to leap onto the Taxi and demands they continue their journey to the border. They soon arrive at the border where Imran bids them farewell(on the way they stop at the village where Imran lived and Imran meets his long lost wife and daughter Zoya. But before Imran can reach anywhere he and the rest of them are attacked by US troops. Imran tells Suhel, Jessica, Khyber and Jai to go while he uses his fighting skills to fight off the US troops. Imran later travels on his own to the border and tries to persuade Pakistani troops to allow him entry into the country and that he is a Pakistani. However they do not listen and Imran is shot on order by troops.

Cast

  • John Abraham
    John Abraham (actor)
    John Abraham is an Indian film actor and former model. After modeling for numerous advertisements and companies, Abraham made his film debut with Jism , which earned him a Filmfare Best Debut Award nomination. This was followed by his first commercial success, Dhoom...

     as Suhel Khan (TV journalist - director)
  • Arshad Warsi
    Arshad Warsi
    Arshad Warsi is an Indian actor who debuted in 1996 with the film Tere Mere Sapne which was a success but he is best known for his role as "Circuit" in the comedy films Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Lage Raho Munnabhai and his role as Babban in Ishqiya which won him acclaim.-Early life and...

     as Jai Kapoor (TV journalist - cinematographer)
  • Salman Shahid
    Salman Shahid
    Salman Shahid is an actor who has worked in many stage plays and tv shows. He recently appeared in the Bollywood film Ishqiya. The actor for many years has given Pakistan great comedy shows. His mother Khursheed Shahid was also a well known tv artist while his father Salim Shahid created programs...

     as Imran Khan Afridi (Pakistani and Taliban soldier)
  • Hanif Humghum as Khyber (Afghan driver and guide)
  • Linda Arsenio
    Linda Arsenio
    Linda Arsenio is an American actress and model from Texas. She has predominantly appeared in Indian films in various languages. She is probably best known for her performance as Jessica Beckham in the 2006 Hindi film Kabul Express....

     as Jessica Beckham (journalist from New York)

Box office


The film opened to a high response. As of February 2007, the film grossed $4,523,110 at the Indian box office,$53,104 and $212,617 from Australian and British box offices respectively for a worldwide total of $5,091,289. On the whole it was averagely received.http://www.boxofficeindia.com/

Reviews


The film has received mixed reviews. http://www.indiafm.com/movies/review/12724/index.html. It has been reviewed that the movie is so far away from real war like reporting.

Controversy


In early January 2007 the government of Afghanistan banned the movie, Kabul Express(although the movie was never officially released there). The official banning by the Afghan Ministry of Culture followed protests over the film's racist portrayal of the Hazara nationality of Afghanistan.
The Hazara people, one of the four largest nationalities in Afghanistan, who have suffered greatly under the Taliban's oppressive rule in Afghanistan, and have faced oppression and discrimination throughout the modern history of Afghan polity, are described in the film by an Afghan member of the crew and the "Pakistani Talib" as "worse than the Taliban", "bandits", "dangerous", and "savages".

In 5 January 2007, in a large gathering in Kabul, people of Kabul denounced the film as "an insult to all the people of Afghanistan". In the gathering one speaker pointed out that after decades of internecine conflict when all ethnic groups of Afghanistan are working towards building a fraternal peace in the country, such provocations should not be allowed to derail these efforts. The gathering is reported to have been peaceful and the organizers are determined to follow the legal course of action to seek redress through the governments of India and Afghanistan. Many people are adamant over Afghan Film's role in making the movie and expect that the Afghan organization should not have let the remarks pass. The Afghan actor responsible for the racist remarks has reportedly apologized, so has the Indian director of the movie Kabir Khan
Kabir Khan (director)
Kabir Khan is an Pathan Indian film director, screenwriter, and camera operator of documentary and Bollywood films.-Career:A graduate of Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, Khan started his career as a cinematographer for the documentary film, Beyond the Himalayas which was directed by Gautam...

.

On 14 January 2007, a demonstration was held in the city of Quetta
Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, where a large number of Hazaras reside. They demanded an apology from the director and a complete ban on the movie because "They (The Hazaras) have been offended and hurt by the movie. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C01%5C15%5Cstory_15-1-2007_pg7_3

External links