This thrilling story spans 48 hours in the lives of five individuals on their journey through Afghanistan. Set against the unstable backdrop of a newly liberated Afghanistan, two Indian television reporters enter the country with an aim to get a rare interview with a Talibani. Their paths cross with an American, a Taliban soldier and an Afghan.
The Indian reporters arrive in the country in search of the Taliban and are helped in their pursuit by an Afghan guide, translator and driver – Khyber in his jeep called Kabul Express. The story sees the three of them share an adventure as they go from being blindfolded and taken to secret hideouts in the mountains to getting kidnapped at gunpoint by a Taliban fugitive, Imran, who wants to escape to the Pakistani border. From here on begins the two-day journey from Kabul to the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border. The reporters’ 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.
Kabul Express was shot over a period of 45 days from October to December 2005 in Afghanistan. The film is inspired by the Director, Kabir Khan’s own experiences in Afghanistan as a documentary filmmaker. His own personal encounters and exchanges with Taliban prisoners were the starting point for the script. Kabul Express is his first feature film and has been shot entirely on location in Afghanistan. During the shoot, the cast and crew were sent death threats by the Taliban to stop shooting but the Afghan government provided tight security and enabled the shoot to be completed in Afghanistan.
To portray the authenticity of the characters, all the actors in this film have been cast according to the nationality of their respective characters. The two reporters are played by Indian actors John Abraham as Suhel and Arshad Warsi as Jai. Salman Shahid, a Pakistani actor plays Imran Khan Afridi, the Taliban soldier who wants to escape the wrath of the Afghans and return to his country. Hanif Hum Ghum portrays the character of Khyber, an Afghan whose bitterness and hatred towards the Taliban is clear. American actress, Linda Arsenio is Jessica Beckham a photojournalist who is in Afghanistan to take a rare picture of the Taliban.
Produced by the largest studio of the Indian Film industry – Yash Raj Films, Kabul Express marks a departure from their usual Hindi mainstream larger than life extravaganzas. The story and characters created by Kabir Khan aim to leave a lasting impression on the minds of viewers. The journey with five diverse characters tries to portray the ethos that people all over the world are the same.
Kabul Express goes on general release across the country on 15th December 2006.