John Abraham does not know how to act. Let us ignore him for the duration of this review.
Kabul Express is what one can call another innovation in Bollywood. It is perhaps for the first time that a film with an almost documentary kind of feel has been made in Bollywood and I must say that the director has been successful to quite some extent.
The film is also an example, how the Hindi movie genre can be decently blended with other genres to produce good movies. Kabul Express is a typical Hindi movie with its share of clichés but that does not mar the effect of what the movie is trying to say. For example, in a ‘realistic’ movie one would hardly expect the wisecracks that Arshad Warsi continuously keeps delivering throughout the movie. Comic relief, the quintessential cliché of Bollywood, has been done quite well in this movie which yearns to be realistic in its portrayal of Afganistan.
The movie is trying to show several sides of the story at once – the Afgan side, the Indian side, the Pakistani side and yes, the American side too. And it does that with finesse. It does not make judgments. It just shows.
And it raises many questions in the mind of the viewer. As I sat in the air conditioned multiplex watching this movie in confort, the dialogue that hit me most hard was – Aap khushnasib ho. Aapki dunia alag hai. (You’re lucky. Your world is different.)
This is spoken by a Talib to an Indian reporter in the film. Indeed our world is different. We wallow in relative prosperity while a country which is practically neighbors with us is torn with war. Why is that? Who is responsible? I was awestruck by the stunning beauty of the Afgan landscape. What drives humans to turn such a beautiful country into such a hellhole?
I left the theater with these questions in mind. And they bug me yet. Is there hope for people? Will these parts of the world, including my very own Kashmir, ever become better places to live?
And yes, there is that sad question of why John Abraham was chosen to do this movie.