February 11, 2007

Kabul Express - Stockholm Syndrome

I´ve been waiting for a long time to get my hands on this one. An off-mainstream movie about the post 9/11 Afganistan, shot entirely in Afganistan coming out of the Yash Raj camp. Sounds like a challenge.

One cameraman/journalist Indian TV team (Arshad and John) heads to Afghanistan in November 2001 to get a story on the situation there with the goal of interviewing at least one member of the overthrown and now hunted Taliban.

And get stuck in a roadmovie-like adventure when they, along with their Afghani driver Khyber (Hanif Hum Ghum) and a female American photojournalist (Linda Arsenio), are kidnapped by a Pakistani Taliban (Salman Shahid) who wants to escape home to Pakistan. In the course of 48 hours we accompany this very diverse group as they drive through the rough battered countryside and encounter various obstacles on their way to the Pakistan border, from shrewd donkeys to lynch mobs, from Army roadblocks to dangerous Mujahideen tribes. And due to varying opinions on Cricket and war originators life inside the "Kabul Express" is as well not short of critical situations.

It´s a Yash Raj film, produced by Aditya Chopra. So don´t expect a grim doku-drama. It is more shallow-ish. But hell, sirf movie hai, documentary bhi nahin. I like the route they took. Our five characters in the movie form for a short while their own small microcosmos which only grazes the outside world.

Deep political or sociological problems are sidelined. Quotes like "America wants to suck out our oil and pump in Coke and Papsi" are a bit to tabloid. And it might be that we´re all so used to and fed up with the ongoings there, that only few of the beautiful shot pictures make an impact.
even if I´m not 100% sure as to what Kabir Khan wanted to transport in Kabul Express, for me it served a purpose. I liked it, I had a very good time watching it and I´m now going to read up on Afghan history and politics. And that´s not too bad an outcome, hai naa?

Ad Stockholm syndrome. My favorite character was indeed the Taliban. How can you not like a battle weary character with a soft spot for Hindi film songs who says stuff like "Madhuri Dixit do, Kashmir lo" (Give us Madhuri and take Kashmir).

No comments: