Finally, Kabul Express releases this Friday. When we catch up with debutant director, Kabir Khan, he is relaxed.
"The anxiety and anxiousness is taken away with the film winning appreciation from the international audience," he says. The film went to Toronto and won good reviews.
Kabir is confident that the film will appeal to the Indian audience too. "It has no pretentions of being a crossover film. We were very true to the Indian core," says the director, who made the film based on his own experiences in Afghanistan.
He had made a documentary, Taliban Years and Beyond, for which he had visited Afghanistan in 1996.
"I went back in 2001 after the Taliban regime was over," says the director, who adds that he always wanted to write the script of his first film based on his experiences, to give adequate strength to the script.
The film, set in 2001, is about two Indian journalists, played by John Abraham and Arshad Warsi, who go to Afghanistan to interview the Taliban.
For a serious subject, there seems to be a lot of humour in the film? "It is like everyday humour. Arshad and John play themselves in the film. The humour becomes the relief wall. My characters share a lot of light-hearted banter but it’s not a light-hearted look at terrorism. The backdrop is serious though the treatment might look light-hearted."
The film is one where the characters have been cast according to their nationalities. "We are just not looking at Taliban, but at the whole situation in Afghanistan in 2001. We are looking at the roles of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and what is happening there. That is the whole backdrop of the film in the eyes of two Indian journalists," says Kabir.
It wasn’t easy shooting in Afghanistan. John fell ill and there were also some security issues.
However that wasn’t strong enough to play spoilsport. About John, the director says, "He is perfect for the character of Suhel— tough looking guy with a sensitive soul."