Bollywood film 'Kabul Express' banned in Afghanistan
Afghanistan, where Bollywood films enjoy immense popularity, has banned the screening of Indian director Kabir Khan's "Kabul Express" because the Hazara ethnic minority community found parts of the film offending.
"The film has some sentences which were very offensive towards one of Afghanistan's ethnicities, namely the Hazara. For this reason it has been banned," Najib Manalai, Afghanistan's minister of culture adviser, said.
Hazaras, a Shia Muslim minority, make up about 10 percent of the Afghan population. They have supposedly descended from remnants of Genghis Khan's invading army.
The film starring Bollywood stars Arshad Warsi and John Abraham is a socio-political comment on the war ravaged country and it portrays Hazaras as a ruthless and heartless community.
There is a sequence that shows the travelling team of journalists and filmmakers stopped on a highway. The team is told by a Pakistan Army officer masquerading as a Taliban that they could be waylaid and robbed by the local community of Hazaras.
The film, based on Khan's personal experience in the country while filming a documentary film, hit the screens last December and received critical acclaim.
While filming it Khan and both the actors received life threats from the Afghan rebels. However, Khan shot the film on location under heavy security. He wrapped it up in 45 days.
A large number of cinemas in Afghanistan show Hindi films because of the cultural affinity and the language is easily understood.
Amitabh Bachchan starrer "Khuda Gawah" was based, although not shot, in Afghanistan during the 1980s and was said to be popular with both the supporters of the Najibullah regime in Kabul and its opponents, the mujahideen.
Actor-film maker Firoze Khan has also portrayed Afghan culture and characters in his films, including the Buskhashi sport in "Dharmatma".