Neha Dhupia‘s No Filter Neha is back with another candid episode featuring the Ek Tha Tiger, Bajrangi Bhaijaan director Kabir Khan. Amid many of his interesting incidents, he narrated the story when Bollywood actually saved his life.
Kabir said, “That’s the day I realized the power of mainstream Bollywood cinema and I say that’s the day Bollywood saved my life because this was actually when we were trying to go into Afghanistan. This was post 9/11 and because I already had prior experience in Afghanistan, a lot of international channels got in touch with us saying would you go back and make a film about Afghanistan coming out of the shadows of the Taliban and the war was still on, I mean the bombings were still on, the Taliban regime was crumbling.”
He opened up about the way they took to reach there, “So we decided to go in. Now being Indians we go through the usual route which is Pakistan and then you go through Peshawar, Khyber Pass so we had to overfly so we went to Uzbekistan then Tajikistan and then we got stuck in Dushanbe, trying to go into Afghanistan and we were there for about fourteen days and everything we tried.”
Kabir Khan also added, “It was Murphey’s law, we wanted to drive across, there was like a landslide, an avalanche and we had to come back. There was a helicopter that they have said would take us to the Tagic airforce, two days before it got crashed and destroyed. Anything and everything that we tried to get into Afghanistan was just not happening, still, one day I think that was the last day, Rajan and I decided that we will make just one last push and if it doesn’t happen we will just go back to Delhi. That day there were these Russian helicopters going in with medical supplies into Afghanistan and at that point of time, the Russian economy was not as rich as it is now so it was very easy to use our Indian juggad and we took the Russian helicopter pilot aside and he agreed to hide Rajan and Me as contraband amongst the medical supplies and it’s a short 40-minute ride through the Hindu Kush mountains to Dushanbe to Kabul and it was a spectacular territory.”
It didn’t go as Kabir Khan expected, he also revealed, “But then suddenly before Kabul comes, the pilot brings the chopper down, just 20 feet above the ground and he says to jump out and I said what do you mean jump out dude, he said ya Kabul is just 10km away from here. You jump here because you are contraband, we can’t land at the Afgan airways with you guys in and that’s how it happened. We had to literally hang from the helicopter and jump down with our luggage and our cameras and this helicopter takes off and we’re in the middle of nowhere. Like 360 degrees there were these snow-clad mountains and we don’t know where Kabul is and in a distance, we see this one guy coming towards us very menacingly because he is a mujahideen and he has just seen two guys jump off a Russian helicopter and fly away and he doesn’t know who we are. We could’ve been special forces, we could have been spies, you know all like war zone.”
Kabir Khan opened up about what happened next, “He comes charging towards us and he is 6ft 4 inches. I thought that’s it, this is the way it’s been written for me, I am dying somewhere here in the mountains outside Kabul, nobody will know where our bodies are because it’s impossible and all we could do is, we kept saying Hindustan Hindustan because we knew that the northern alliance Mujahideen had a soft spot for Indians because we had helped them in their fight against Taliban, so they were warm towards Indians, so we kept saying and he was cocking his Kalashnikov and coming towards us and suddenly when he heard us saying Hindustan he just stopped, this guy and smiled and he started singing a song –‘Mere Sapno ki rani kab aayegi tu’ and that’s the day Bollywood saved my life and he called for a tank and that’s the way we rolled into Kabul.”
Kabir Khan says that some of the scenes from his film ‘Kabul Express’ was a replica of what he had experienced in real life.
He said, “It’s actually exactly the same where I made Arshad and John enter Kabul in ‘Kabul Express’. I promise you the chopper was bought down lower for them than it was for me. So loosely, Arshad and John are actually playing what Rajan and I did and what happened with us over there and some of the scenes are exact like word by word what happened with us in Afghanistan.”