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    “We got death threats from Taliban,” says Kabir Khan

    [Interview by Faridoon Shahryar]
    Friday, December 15, 2006
    Kabir Khan is a vitriolic documentary filmmaker who turns a feature film director with his first film ‘Kabul Express’ based on his experiences in the post Taliban Afghanistan. He has signed a three film contract with Yashraj Films and no his next feature film won’t be based in Afghanistan. Over to an exclusive interview with the director who has made a film that India can be proud of:

    What is Kabul Express all about?

    Kabul Express is a film which is set and shot in Afghanistan. It’s set in November 2001, it is loosely based on my experiences as a documentary filmmaker there during 2001 post 9/11. It’s a film which is realistic in portrayal in its character but yes it has a commercial mounting, backed by Yashraj banner. So, it’s in a unique position by itself.

    What is it in John Abraham that you decided to cast him in a role based on your own personality?

    John is not cast on myself. As I said it is loosely based on my experiences. So, yes there are elements of my personality and elements of Rajan’s personality in Arshad’s personality. For me John is a tough guy with a very sensitive soul. I didn’t want any of the sex symbol baggage that works in some other films. But I didn’t want that in my film. In my film I wanted an easy body language, his boyish charm and that’s what he is in ‘Kabul Express’.

    Did your past experiences as a documentary filmmaker help you?

    Yes definitely my past experience as a documentary filmmaker help me set up the whole film, I knew the locations, the people. But by far the biggest difficulty was the security concerns. We got death threats from Taliban which set back our schedule. But once we got security from the government of Afghanistan, then we just continued.

    What is the USP of Kabul Express?

    The USP of ‘Kabul Express’ is that it is a realistic film with a commercial mounting, it is the first film shot exclusively in Afghanistan post Taliban. The biggest USP is that every single actor has been cast according to the nationality of the countries that they are representing. That really brings magic to the film.

    Music is doing well….Are the songs part of the film?

    No, the songs are not part of the film. There are no songs sung by any of the characters. There’s a brilliant background score done by Julius Packiam that adds to the film.


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