Sanjay Dutt’s character Naseer Khan is inaugurating a children’s shelter in Afghanistan. There is a banner above that reads, ‘The world will not find rest by just saying peace’. Khan, in his pursuit of not finding rest, haunted by the ghosts of his past- a dead wife and son- trains the children from the refugee camp to play competitive cricket. While people see these camps as pipelines into terrorism, and these kids as potential suicide bombers, Khan sees the “magic of the bat”, and its power of transformation.
This Afghanisan, like most Afghanistans in Hindi cinema is torn between the sharp binaries of maghreb and Islam- the West and the East- a clash of civilization. The beautiful snowscapes and dusty, isolated mountains become a space for this war to explode. This binary is also ripe for evil and saviours.