People all over the world extended their prayers for Afghanistan after the nation was recently taken over by the Taliban. Meanwhile, it is also to be noted that Bollywood has a strong bond with Afghanistan as several popular films have been shot there.
Bollywood is the world’s largest feature film industry and has given us the most amazing, sincere, and dedicated actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan who have received worldwide fame and love.
With popularity, the constantly overwhelming PRs and media have perfectly managed to cover every story of these celebrities be it somebody’s personal or professional life. Not many know that Amitabh Bachchan was given security by Afghanistan’s Air-Force.
While shooting for Khuda Gawah in Afghanistan, Amitabh Bachchan was given protection by Afghanistan’s half air force under the command of the president. Khuda Gawah is the most-watched film in that country to date.
Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi starrer, ‘Khuda Gawah’ was received well by the audience. Meanwhile, a sequence of Buzkashi (a sport played while riding horses) was shot in and around Mazar-e-Sharif in the most difficult period.
Former Afghanistan President, Najibullah Ahmadzai was reportedly a massive fan of Big B. As a result, Amitabh Bachchan was apparently offered half of the country’s Air Force for his security while he was shooting in the nation.
In 2013, Big B recalled the entire experience in a Facebook post. He wrote, ‘The Soviets had just left the country and power was handed over to Najibullah Ahmadzai who was a die-hard fan of popular Hindi cinema. He wanted to meet me and we were given the right royal treatment.
We were treated as VVIP state guests at Mazare-e-Sharif and taken through the length and breadth of the incredibly beautiful country in airplanes with armed escorts. We received the traditional warmth of the locals who have a passion for hospitality. We weren’t allowed to stay in hotel… a family just vacated its home for us and moved to a smaller house.’
Further, he added, “There were security problems, of course, with tanks and armed soldiers all over the streets. Still, it’s been the most memorable trip of my lifetime. The unit was invited by a group of warlords, Danny Dengzongpa, Biloo, Mukul and I boarded a chopper gunship, flanked by five other helicopters.
It was an unforgettable ride. The aerial view offered us the vista of purple mountains turning pink and red because of poppies growing there. Time seemed to have stood absolutely still in the valley where the chopper landed.”
He further added: “We could see a medieval castle-like structure in the distance. We were bodily lifted by the warlords and carried there because traditionally, the feet of guest aren’t supposed to touch the ground. From the castle we went to grounds where the Buzkashi tournament had been organized for us.
Colourful tents had been set up, I thought I was in Ivanhoe land. The warlords insisted that the four of us spend the night there, the palace was emptied and the four of us kept eating and drinking and looking as if we’d wandered into an unbelievable fairy tale.”
Last but not least, he shared: “We were smothered with gifts. In Kabul, the night before we flew back to India, Najab called us to president’s residence and decorated all of us with the ‘order of Afghanistan’. That evening his uncle sang an Indian raga for us with impeccable ease. I don’t know where our hosts are, I often wonder where they are today.”