Top 10 Movies Based on the Taliban

With all the news around the Taliban constantly in the headlines, Hollywood and Bollywood have made films revolving around the terrorist group. Some films focus on the ongoing hardships that are a result of the Taliban rule, while others show people fleeing from the terrorists. Still others show people living under the oppressive regime, with no way to escape. Take a look at this list of movies to either revisit memory lane or find new ones to watch with friends and family!

  1. Zolykha’s Secret

This film is directed by Horace Shansab and is one of the first to be produced in post- Taliban Afghanistan. It was released in the year 2006 and it shows the last year of the tyrannical Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The movie’s plot follows an Afghan family living in a village that is still trying to cope with new tensions created by another war of terror. The youngest daughter of the family, Zolykha possesses psychic powers and looks to the past and becomes aware of the ghosts haunting her home. She has two older siblings and her eldest sister is betrothed to a man who is now a ruthless militant. The movie’s main focus is on family bond, love, and humanitarian spirit. It is the tale of how a father fights to save his daughter from the injustice she is to be married into.

  1. The Black Tulip

This movie was also set in Afghanistan and was released in 2010, directed by Sonia Nassery Cole. The plot revolves around a family that sets up a café in Kabul named The Poets Corner. It is run by a woman named Farishta. There are poem readings and wine that is served in teapots. The readings are done by locals as well as people of the US military. These activities infuriate the Taliban, and the terrorist group begins to attack, kidnap, and murder the family and friends of all those who go to the café or are associated with it in anyway.

  1. Kabul Express

Directed by Kabir Khan, this movie is based on post-Taliban Afghanistan after the American invasion in 2001. The plot follows two Indian journalists, Jai Kapoor and Suhel Khan reporting on life in the country. During their travels, they are appalled by the condition of the state after the Taliban’s rule.  They meet an American Muslim Journalist called Jessica along with whom they try to evade the dormant Taliban that is trying to capture them.

  1. Zero Dark Thirty

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and released in the year 2012, the movie Zero Dark Thirty is based on an almost ten-year long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al- Qaeda. The hunt for this leader began right after the 9/11 attacks. The movie starts with an introduction to Maya, a young CIA agent who is gathering intelligence about Osama Bin Laden and has been doing so since the start of her career. She then gets reassigned to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan in order to work with an officer, Dan. This movie provides extensive information on the Osama-hunt and goes all the way until his death.

  1. The Kite Runner

Based on the novel of the same name by Khaled Hosseini, “The Kite Runner” was directed by Marc Forster and released in the year 2007. The plot of the movie follows that of the book and shows pre-war Afghanistan and the friendship of two young boys, Amir and Hassan. Their friendship is one that is based on kite flying despite the differences between them because of wealth. The movie follows the changes that occur in the country after Amir moves out of his hometown. The terror and turbulence as a result of the Afghan war is portrayed in the film along with its effects on the people living there.

  1. Rethink Afghanistan

Rethink Afghanistan is directed by Robert Greenfield and was a documentary released in 2009. It offers a peek into an alternative view of the American policy on Afghanistan. The documentary has six parts and include interviews of experts from around the world on issues such as the treatment of Afghani women, the civil and economic casualties from war, the problems arising on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and the security of the entire world.

This documentary especially looks at the roles of the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda in the issues. The main idea of the documentary was to send the message that “Sending more troops will not make the US safer; it will only build more opposition against us. I urge you on behalf of truth and patriotism to consider carefully and Rethink Afghanistan.” This was a statement made by a Corporal Rick Reyes before the Senate of Foreign Relations and it sent a very powerful message. This documentary is very informative and interesting.

  1. Kandahar

This movie was originally released in Malayalam in 2010, and was directed by Major Ravi. It was later dubbed and released in Hindi and Tamil. The storyline revolves around the highjack of Indian Airlines Flight 814 in 1999. The film showcases the Indian perspective of the incident. It is quite a thriller and emotionally connects with the audience who feel the fear of the hijacked passengers.

  1. Osama

Released in 2003, Osama is the tale of a 12-year old girl and her mother who find themselves on the brink of starvation after being banned from work by the Taliban. Unable to leave the house without a male present and left with no alternative, the daughter is disguised as a boy and renames herself Osama. The young girl begins a terrifying and confusing journey of trials, tribulations, and discovery as she tries to keep the Taliban from discovering her true identity.

  1. Escape from Taliban

This movie is based on a real-life account by Sushmita Banerjee titled “The Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife”. The film was released in 2003 and directed by Ujjal Chattopadhyaya. The story is about a girl Sushmita who follows her Muslim husband to Afghanistan after her parents oppose their marriage because of religion. On their journey, Sushmita witnesses several traumatic incidents such as the armed people, bomb explosions and horrible mutilations of bodies. She is unable to escape from the country to go back home and a death sentence is put on her by the Taliban. This movie is heart wrenching and is definitely a must watch.

  1. A Mighty Heart

This film is based on a memoir of Marianne Pearl with the same name. It was released in 2007 and directed by Michael Winterbottom. The movie’s plot revolves around Marriane’s turmoil as her husband David Pearl, an American reporter is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan. The US Army try to locate the kidnappers but continuously fail. The Al-Qaeda is believed to be involved and the movie draws the audience in all the way to the end. It speaks of anger and sorrow and is definitely another must-watch movie!

This list hopefully piqued your interest in movies made on the Taliban. While these may not be movies to watch for light-hearted fun, they are certainly very informative and quite touching. Most of these movies are based on real life incidents and provide an insider’s perspective on events that have occurred.

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Ashvita Anand

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