Kabul Express

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Kabul Express
Kabul Express.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKabir Khan
Produced byAditya Chopra
Written byKabir Khan
StarringJohn Abraham
Arshad Warsi
Salman Shahid
Hanif Hum Ghum
Linda Arsenio
Music bySongs:
Raghav Sachar
Background Score:
Julius Packiam
CinematographyAnshuman Mahaley
Edited byAmitabh Shukla
Distributed byYash Raj Films
Release date
  • 15 December 2006 (2006-12-15)
Running time
106 minutes
Box office290 million (US$4.1 million)

Kabul Express is a 2006 Indian Hindi-language adventure film written and directed by documentary film maker Kabir Khan and produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films was released on 15 December 2006. The film stars John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Pakistani actor Salman Shahid, Afghan actor Hanif Hum Ghum and American actress Linda Arsenio Kabul Express is the first fictional film for director Kabir Khan who has made several documentaries over the years in Afghanistan. According to him Kabul Express is loosely based on his and his friend Rajan Kapoor's experiences in post-Taliban Afghanistan.


Suhel Khan (John Abraham) and Jai Kapoor (Arshad Warsi) are Indian journalists working for Star News who are sent into Afghanistan to create a report on what life is like in the country following the US-led invasion of the country in September 2001. The two are shocked at the state of the country and the ruins that remain due to years of rule by the Taliban Regime. They take a tour of the country in a taxi, starting in Kabul. This follows an escape from capture by the Taliban.

On the way, they stop in the village of Ishtar along with the taxi driver Khyber (Hanif Humghum), who has watched his country fall apart over the decades. They stop in a small cafe selling kebabs where they meet American journalist Jessica Beckham (Linda Arsenio) who is working for Reuters in reporting on the US side of the War in Afghanistan. Suhel and Jai then invite Jessica to join them on their tour of the country, which she does. However, shortly after leaving Ishtar, they are caught by Taliban official Imran Khan (Salman Shahid) who has hitched a ride at the back of the taxi in disguise as an Afghan woman. Imran demands they listen to him and travel straight to the Afghan border with Pakistan or he promises they will be killed. Imran is attempting to cross the border, get past Pakistani troops and negotiate with his Taliban associates in Pakistan.

The four of them (Suhel, Jai, Jessica, Imran and Khyber) travel through various villages where they see horrific sights of poverty before reaching the southern city of Kandahar where Jessica gets the chance to interview US troops who are fighting to regain control of the city from the Taliban who occupy the area. In the meantime, Suhel and Jai attempt to interview Imran, yet are unsuccessful when Imran threatens to shoot them. Once leaving Kandahar they travel through a farm and manage to capture a bullfight on film before stopping off at a stream coming closer to the Pakistan border. While Imran and the rest are out exploring, Jessica discovers Imran's passport is a Pakistani passport. She discovers that he was not originally a Taliban, but in fact a member of the Pakistani army named Wassim Chaudrey sent to Afghanistan to support the Mujahadeen rebels in their war against the USSR back in the 1980s before he settled down in the country as a member of the Taliban Regime. When Imran discovers the break-in, he takes Suhel, Khyber and Jessica hostage and forces them to continue the journey to the Pakistan border. At one point, Imran abandons them for hours when he hears a noise. Gunshots are fired and the three travellers discover Imran to have met 10 US soldiers who attempted to kill him. With Imran distracted, Suhel grabs a gun from one of the soldiers and points it at Imran threatening to kill him if he doesn't respond in his interview. They leave Imran at the side of the road and start their journey back to Kabul. However, they are stopped in their path when Imran manages to leap into the taxi and demands they continue their journey to the border. They soon arrive at the border where Imran bids them farewell. On the way, they stop at the village where Imran lived and Imran meets his long lost wife and daughter Zoya. But before Imran can reach anywhere, he and the rest of them are attacked by the Mujahideen. Imran tells Suhel, Jessica, Khyber, and Jai to go while he uses his fighting skills to fight them off. Imran later travels on his own to the border and tries to persuade Pakistani troops to allow him entry into the country and that he is a Pakistani. However, they do not listen and Imran is shot on the border by the troops.


  • John Abraham as Suhel Khan (TV journalist – director)
  • Arshad Warsi as Jai Kapoor (TV journalist – cinematographer)
  • Salman Shahid as Imran Khan Afridi (Pakistani and Taliban soldier)
  • Hanif Humghum as Khyber (Afghan driver and guide)
  • Linda Arsenio as Jessica Beckham (journalist from New York)

Critical reception[edit]

The film has received mixed to positive critical reviews.[1] It has been said by reviewers that the movie is far away from real war reportage.[1]

Box office[edit]

The film opened to a good response. According to Box Office India, Kabul Express grossed 12.25 crore (US$1.7 million) in India.[2] As of February 2007, the film grossed $4,523,110 at the Indian box office,$53,104 and $212,617 from Australian and British box offices respectively for a worldwide total of $5,091,289. On the whole it was moderately successful.[2]


54th National Film Awards:
* Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director for Kabir Khan as director and Aditya Chopra as producer


In early January 2007 the government of Afghanistan banned the movie, Kabul Express (although the movie was never officially released there). The official banning by the Afghan Ministry of Culture followed protests over the film's allegedly racist portrayal of the ethnic Hazara Shia minority of Afghanistan. The Hazara Shia people, one of the four largest nationalities in Afghanistan, who have suffered greatly under the Taliban's oppressive rule in Afghanistan, and have faced oppression and discrimination throughout modern history, are described in the film by an Afghan member of the crew and the "Pakistani Talib" as "worse than the Taliban", "bandits", "dangerous", and "savages".

On 5 January 2007, in a large gathering in Kabul, people of Kabul denounced the film as "an insult to all the people of Afghanistan". In the gathering one speaker said that after decades of internecine conflict when all ethnic groups of Afghanistan were working towards building a fraternal peace in the country, such provocations should not be allowed to derail those efforts. The gathering was reported to have been peaceful with the organizers determined to follow the legal course of action to seek redress through the governments of India and Afghanistan. Many people were adamant over Afghan Film's role in making the movie and expect that the Afghan organisation should not have let the remarks pass. The Afghan actor responsible for the allegedly racist remarks has reportedly apologised, as has the Indian director of the movie Kabir Khan.

On 14 January 2007, a demonstration was held in the city of Quetta, where a large number of Hazara Shia reside. They demanded an apology from the director and a complete ban on the movie because the (Hazara Shia) had been offended and hurt by the movie. [3]


Kabul Express
Soundtrack album by
Released17 November 2006
RecordedYRF Studios
Mumbai, India
GenreFeature Film Soundtrack
LabelYRF Music
ProducerAditya Chopra
Raghav Sachar chronology
Kabul Express

The album featuring 9 tracks including three remix and two instrumental. All tracks were composed by Raghav Sachar, one instrumental was composed by Julius Packiam. Lyrics were penned by Aditya Dhar, Swaratmika Mishra and Vijay Kumar.

The film score was composed by Julius Packiam.

Track listing
1."Kabul Fiza"Raghav Sachar4:00
2."Banjar"Shubha Mudgal4:15
3."Keh Raha Mera Dil"Raghav Sachar4:11
4."Yeh Main Aaya Kahaan Hoon"Raghav Sachar4:07
5."Kabul Fiza" (Remix)Raghav Sachar3:24
6."Banjar" (Lounge Mix)Sunidhi Chauhan4:08
7."Banjar" (Revisited)KK4:17
8."Kabul Express Theme" (Composed By: Julius Packiam)Instrumental4:29
9."Kabul Fiza Theme"Instrumental2:08
Total length:34:19

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kabul Express movie review : glamsham.com
  2. ^ "Box Office 2006". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2015.

External links[edit]