Kabul Express is based on director Kabir Khan’s life experience in Afghanistan

Mumbai: Kabir Khan, director of Kabul Express started his career as a documentary film maker and is now working with a prestigious production house of Bollywood – Yash Raj Films. His film Kabul Express is based on his real life experiences in Afghanistan while shooting for his documentaries. In the film, Kabul Express is the name of the vehicle in which John and Arshad travel.

Talking about the story of film Kabir said, “The film is set in November 2001, Kabul. Just after 9/11, the Taliban collapsed and journalists were there to capture the event. The film encapsulates a period of 36 hours, and the adventures these five people go through in Kabul. John and Arshad, who play journalists, also land up there. There are three other characters – a Pakistani Taliban, an Afghan driver and an American photo journalist.”

He further added, “John and Arshad were easy to cast. They play normal, city-slicker journalists. But casting the rest of the characters was tough. Every actor was cast according to the character’s nationality. So the Afghan driver is actually an Afghan.”

Talking about the threatening calls he received from the Taliban he said, “If you do anything high profile in Afghanistan, the threats are bound to come. But the rage with which it came, it scared us. They knew our movements, and the threats were repetitive. That was a tense moment. After these incidents, the Afghanistan government cooperated with us and gave the crew 60 armed guards.”

Clarifying doubts about one entire schedule being shot in Bhuj, he said, “We had to come back when John fell sick. With only 2 – 3 days of shooting left we thought it doesn’t make sense going back to Afghanistan. Hence I did the patch work in Bhuj, which included only some close up shots of faces, shoes etc.”

In spite of having received a threat from Taliban and the on going times of controversies surrounding films, the film maker is not bothered about any pre release controversies for Kabul Express. “My film does not deal with any controversial subject, then why will anybody want to hamper its release.” The film is due for release in September.

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Rohini Bhandari

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