In a real case of life imitating art, two of India's best known actors headed to Afghanistan to film a movie about war correspondents living on the edge only to find themselves facing threats from the Taliban.
"Kabul Express," starring John Abraham and Arshad Warsi, tells the story of two Indian journalists chasing stories across dangerous swaths of Afghanistan in the days after the Taliban was ousted following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
A resurgent Taliban has left many parts of Afghanistan no safer these days than they were five years ago, and the stars and crew found themselves in the kind of danger they were trying to document while shooting in and around Kabul last year.
The film's director, Kabir Khan, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that Taliban threats to kidnap Abraham, Warsi or members of the crew prompted Afghan officials to provide heavy security for the filming.
"They had our names," said Khan. "We knew something like this may happen. But the ferocity with which it came was a little unnerving."
"You're bound to attract the attention of the Taliban shooting a feature film, which is banned by them, especially a Hindi feature film," he said.
The hardline Taliban deemed movies un-Islamic when they were in power, and included films in broad laws that banned nearly all forms of entertainment.
The cast and crew of "Kabul Express" had reason to be afraid. As they were shooting, an Indian worker on a road-building project in southern Afghanistan was abducted and later killed one of many abductions and killings in the country, reports AP.
India was also a supporter of the Northern Alliance, which fought against the Taliban, and has close ties with the current Afghan government.
Abraham, a model turned actor best known for the 2004 hit "Dhoom," and Warsi, known for his role as a lovable gangster in the hit movie "Munnabhai MBBS" and its sequel "Lage Raho Munnabhai," or "Keep At It, Munnabhai," insisted the filming in Afghanistan be completed.
"It was not out of any foolish sense of adventure. John is a very well read person and once we were clear that things could be made secure, we went ahead," Khan said.
"Kabul Express" is set to be released on Dec. 15.
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