It’s the first time I am driven to write about a movie. But then not everyday a movie like Kabul Express [KE] is made. I wonder why the movie didn’t do very well…but then again, movies like KE often do not find an audience because they are not made to please everyone and his brother. KE is out and out a passion product. Even though it’s shot entirely in the war-torn Afghanistan, it’s a fast-paced flick with not a moment of boredom. One reason for it, I suppose, was the absence of songs. The script is focussed on delivering a social message and does so very effectively.
I think it needs a genious to make a movie with five characters who are travelling in an MUV under a constant threat of getting killed and yet managing to keep the audience in splits throughout the two hours. The comic timing of Arshad Warsi is as brilliant as ever — he’s a genius in his own right and deserves much more recognition. Noteworthy is John Abraham’s chemistry with Hanif Hum Ghum, who plays Khyber, the proud Afghan who hates the Taliban for the destruction they have caused. Linda Arsenio, who plays Jessica Beckham, an American photojournalist ready to risk her life to capture the Taliban in her camera, looks beautiful and fresh, and her performance is subtle. But to me, the man who takes the lion’s share is Salman Shahid. He plays Imran Khan Afridi, a soldier of the Pakistan Army who served the Taliban in the name of duty and who now needs to escape the wrath of the Afghans. His performance can be summed up in one word: excellent. He manages to evoke our sympathy in spite of having served the Taliban.
The cinematography is smooth, the background score is inspiring, and the direction is elegant. No histrionics, no excessive drama, just a clean story with a clear focus. It’s an intelligent film. Watch it if you can.