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Kabul ExpressKabul Express : Movie Review
16th Dec 2006  21.00 IST
By Nikhil Kumar  


Kabul Express is an engaging thriller by documentary filmmaker Kabir Khan. The movie tells an interesting and thought-provoking tale against the backdrop of a country ravaged by war.

Without falling prey to the stereotypes of commercial cinema, Kabir Khan attempts to bring the hard-hitting realities of Afghanistan to light. The story is set in the time when the Taliban were being wiped out by the Americans and the Afghans after the 9/11 attacks.




The movie does have a slightly anti-Pak flavour and it also goes into America bashing. But these seem to have been incorporated to bring the truth to light. The ruins of Afghanistan are testimony to 22 years of incessant wars that destroyed the country since the Soviet invasion. The Taliban hunted by the Afghans and betrayed by Pakistan mirrors the shift in the policies of the nation that once supported them.

In this complex setting, Kabir Khan tells the story of five individuals and what transpires in a period of two days. Cameraman Jai ( Arshad Warsi ) and journalist Suhel ( John Abraham ) enter Afghanistan to cover the war and get an interview with a Talibani. With the help of their local guide and driver Khyber (Hanif Hum Ghum), the two set out in Toyota Jeep called Kabul Express in search of their big story.

After a series of adventures and close brushes with death, the trio meets an American photojournalist Jessica ( Linda Arsenio ).

The quartet is then kidnapped by an escaping Pakistani soldier Imran (Salman Shahid) who had been operating for Taliban before the US attack. Now he is on the run to get back to his country.

As the five set out on their perilous journey to the Afghan-Pakistan border, the hostility between them gives way to trust. They debate and discuss the situation in the region. Eventually, Jai, Suhel, Khyber and Jessica help Imran reach his country. But there is a surprise in store for everyone.

'Kabul Express' has a raw and rugged feel that verily complements the film's story and setting. The movie has several nail-biting moments, all of which are peppered by impeccable humour by Arshad Warsi.

In fact, Warsi completely overshadows John Abraham in the film. The latter's presence seems primarily to lend some star value to the movie. The same goes for Linda Arsenio too. If only Kabir Khan had developed John and Linda's characters better and made them essential to the plot.

Salman Shahid gives an emphatic performance as a former Talibani on the run. Hanif Hum Ghum too is effective.

On the whole, 'Kabul Express' is a well-crafted and technically sound film. The only flaw is that Kabir Khan doesn't give depth to some characters in the story. Otherwise, the movie entertains you and leaves you in a reflective mood.



Related
Kabul Express
Kabir Khan
Arshad Warsi
John Abraham
Linda Arsenio





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