Kabul Express deserves ovation just for the choice of subject and the courage to actually make a simple non-dramatic movie out of it. The literally breathtaking cinematography and the casually witty dialogues come only next. But, the target is very obviously the multiplex audience since a good part of the movie is in English.
A serious political topic has been very craftily treated with humor. And it is not making fun of something or laughing at anyone, it is very situational. But, since all the messages are very subtle, the overall product ends up needing a certain punch. In fact, only the people who have seen the previews will understand the tongue-in-cheek humor of the last joke in the movie. The aim is to give a human face to the journalists, the Taliban, the Afghanis, and the Pakistanis. Now, how much of it is true, only people living in Afghanistan and Pakistan can tell, but the whole set-up looks very plausible.
A good-humored cameraman (Arshad Warsi) and a somber journalist (John Abraham) get together to find the story of their life in Afghanistan. They are accompanies by a frustrated Afghani (Hanif Hum Ghum), who drives them around. The threesome find a dutiful member of the Taliban (Salman Shahid) and a bonus – a beautiful American journalist (Jessica Beckham). There is no boy-meets-girl routine. It is about how these characters spend a few hours of their life together. Watch out for yet another hilarious performance by Arshad Warsi.
Kabir Khan actually makes all the characters look like they are from a slice of life. Their make-up, the lines they are given, the way they deliver them, the dialect, everything contribute to making the audience believe that they are for real. Only a talented director can neatly outline characters in the first few minutes of screen-time and keep them within those boundaries for the rest of the movie.
This, of course, results in profanity and a documentary-type feel to the movie. But, remember this is a documentary with the backing of Yash Raj Films, so good money has been spent on the technical aspects.
There is something about expanses of sand that is very pleasing to the eye. It is amazing how the dusty brown needs no other color to make it look prettier. Add to it, now and then, the backdrop of snow-topped mountains and we begin to agree with one dialogue that is in the trailers and translates to, “What did these people achieve by destroying such a beautiful country?”
- meeta, a part of the audience
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