Vantage point

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kabul Express Review

When formulaic Bollywood film-makers like Yashraj Films try something off the track, I guess they expect that just by the virtue of trying something off the track, they are creating cinematic gold. In case of Kabul Express, nothing could be farther from the truth. Other than stunning visuals of the Afghan landscape, there is nothing remotely acceptable about the movie. It is boring, defies logic, and worst of all, is ignorantly insensitive. The kind of ignorance that only formulaic Bollywood folks are capable of.

When the part about the Hazaras came on, I could not believe the way that group was being described. If Bollywood folks had expanded their reading beyond Paulo Coelho and Dan Brown, they might have come across a book called The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini. Anyone who has read the book will realise the stupidity of characters in the film calling Hazaras bandits, dogs and worse than Taliban. The Hazaras have been persecuted for years, and they were given special mistreatment under Taliban. Portraying Hazaras like Kabul Express has done, especially in these times, is like casting a modern day version of Shylock in a film set in post-war Germany. Yashraj Films would be well advised to stick to peddling cleavage shots through trash like Dhoom 2, than to make something pseudo-intellectual.

Needless to say, the film was banned by the Afghan government and a lot of protests and demonstrations were held against it.