Bollywood in Afghanistan – The Good Old Days

Bollywood Movies Shot in Afghanistan
Though home to some stunning locations, Afghanistan has not really been on the radar of filmmakers (and even tourists) due to its internal political instability.

Few Bollywood movies that have been shot in Afghanistan include Dharmatma, Kabul Express & Agent Vinod


Made in 1975, this was the first Bollywood film to be shot in Afghanistan, much before the major upheaval started. Made by Feroz Khan (whose films seemed to be way ahead of the times & way too stylish), Dharmatama shows us an unspoilt & beautiful Afghanistan.

Here’s the song ‘Kya Khub Lagti Ho’ from the movie, Music by Kalyanji Anandji, Watch out for Hema Malini, who looks stunning in the movie.

This song was shot at the site of the ‘Bamiyan Buddhas’ in Afghanistan; the Buddha statues were later destroyed by the Taliban during their conflict with the US, to ‘teach’ the US a lesson.

‘Bamiyan Buddhas’ in Afghanistan
feroz khan with son fardeen khan

The seventies was a great decade for tourism in Afghanistan, and filmmakers just loved the dramatic terrain of Afghanistan. Omar Sharif filmed ‘The Horsemen’ here in 1970 and then Bollywood heart-throb Feroz Khan shot Dharmatma here. Dharmatma (Godfather) was a remake of ‘Godfather’ where Feroz Khan replaced Italy with the stunning locales of Afghanistan.

Feroz Khan with son Fardeen Khan
feroz khan with son fardeen khan

Agent Vinod

The beginning scenes in the movie were shot at DASHT-E-MARGO desert, Afghanistan.

Kabul Express

This was the first feature film to be shot extensively in Kabul, Afghanistan, after the end of the Taliban’s reign. The movies has several scenes showing the Green Palace (KABUL), Bala Hissar fort (Kabul), Darul Aman palace (KABUL) & Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan

For Kabul Express, the Afghan government had provided tight security. On some days, you could see more armed soldiers, than the cast and crew, for a shoot.

Making of Kabul Express; For authenticity, real mujahedin were used in the film.

Kabir Khan (director of Kabul Express) was keen to shoot this movie in Kabul, Afghanistan, because he has been a former war correspondent, had visited Afghanistan several times before, and had several Afghan friends who had helped him during his earlier trips to their country.

Bala Hissar fort, kabul, Afghanistan

Darul Aman Palace, kabul, Afghanistan

There are several restaurants around the world (serving Middle Eastern & Indian Food) that are named ‘Kabul Express’

Afghanistan Tourism

Although parts of Kabul and the north are calmer, the situation in the country can change very quickly. If you must go, you should keep abreast of the latest security situation throughout your stay.

Capital: Kabul
Dialing code: 93
Currency: Afghan afghani
Official languages: Pashto language, Farsi, Eastern Language