With KABUL EXPRESS, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Kabir Khan makes his feature film debut. A veteran of many national and international awards, Kabir Khan is an eminent name in the world of documentaries. His documentary TALIBAN: YEAR AND BEYOND has been aired on Discovery Channel and various international channels.
KABUL EXPRESS also deals with the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Kabir Khan has himself been to Afghanistan many times to film his documentaries and through KABUL EXPRESS he has basically tried to convey his experiences he sustained in that fascinating but now a war-ravaged nation.
KABUL EXPRESS stars John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Pakistani actor Salman Shahid, Afghan actor Hanif Hum Ghum and American actress Linda Arsenio. The film is produced by Aditya Chopra.
The story of KABUL EXPRESS goes likes this:
Jai Kapoor (Arshad Warsi) and Suhel Khan (John Abraham) – TV journalists from India in search of the ultimate news scoop: meeting the Taliban.
Imran Khan Afridi (Salman Shahid) – a soldier of the hated Taliban who needs to escape the wrath of the Afghans and run to his country, Pakistan. Khyber (Hanif Hum Ghum), a proud Afghan who has seen the destruction of his country over the decades. Jessica Beckham (Linda Arsenio) – An American photojournalist ready to risk her life to photograph the Taliban. Five people from different worlds, their paths are destined to cross in a ruthless country devastated by war – Afghanistan.
This is a thrilling story, spanning 48 hours, of five individuals linked by hate and fear, but brought together by fate to finally recognize each other.
Kabul Express is set in post 9/11 (November 2001) Afghanistan where the American bombing has destroyed the most hated Taliban regime and the Taliban soldiers are trying to escape to Pakistan to avoid the wrath of the Afghans. Against this turbulent backdrop, Jai and Suhel – two Indian Television reporters have entered Afghanistan and their aim is to somehow get a rare interview with a Talibani.
Helping them in their pursuit of a Talibani is their Afghan guide, translator and driver – Khyber - in his Toyota Jeep called ‘Kabul Express’. The three of them are having their share of adventure as they go from being blindfolded and taken to secret hideouts in the mountains to interview Taliban prisoners to nearly getting trampled by horses while shooting a game of Buzkashi (Rugby played on horses with a dead lamb). They are saved from getting trampled by an American photojournalist, Jessica.
Despite all their attempts the Taliban remains elusive. But unknown to them, these hunters are being hunted down themselves...
One cold winter morning in Kabul, they get kidnapped at gunpoint by a Taliban fugitive who wants to escape to the Pakistani border. The kidnapper, Imran is a Pakistani army soldier who was part of the Taliban. He knows that as journalists, Jai and Suhel’s movements in the country will not be questioned and posing as their local guide, he can reach the safety of his country. Imran knows that the Taliban were the most hated regime in the history of Afghanistan and if caught by the Afghans, he would be torn to pieces.
From here on begins the two-day journey from Kabul to the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border. Jai and Suhel’s mission becomes a nightmare as they are taken hostage aboard the ‘Kabul Express’ and made to drive across the most dangerous country in the world. Jessica sees their car driving away from Kabul and mistakenly thinks that they are onto a big story. She begins to chase them. Before she knows it Jessica gets stuck in a bizarre situation and inadvertently, also gets taken hostage by Imran. Along the long treacherous route they get stopped by dangerous mercenary armed bandits, see an angry mob kill prisoners with their bare hands, and in a hilarious situation they even get chased by a suicidal donkey! Political and ideological boundaries not withstanding, all five of them are forced to act as a team in life threatening situations.
As the film unfolds, a special relationship develops between an Afghan, a Pakistani, two Indians and an American. By the end of the journey Jai, Suhel and Jessica actually help Imran reach the border of Pakistan – his country that he is very proud and patriotic about. But the turbulent political situation at that time has a surprise in store for all of them.
The film has got promising promos and an interesting and very present-day subject. Hence KABUL EXPRESS is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated movies of this year.
The film has been shot entirely in Afghanistan. It is during the filming of KABUL EXPRESS that John Abraham suffered a viral infection and was hospitalized at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai at the same time as Amitabh Bachchan. The two remained neighbours at the hospital for a few days.