‘6 Underground’, Ryan Reynolds’ latest action movie, was made available for streaming on Netflix recently. The film is directed by Michael Bay, known for helming the ‘Transformers’ franchise and ‘Pearl Harbour’, and has explosive action and an adrenaline-fueled plot. It follows six individuals who fake their own death and form a vigilante squad to utilize their unique skills and take down prominent criminals. Netflix is expecting to turn the movie into a bankable series and the premise certainly has tons of potential for that.
A country named Turgistan (also referred to as Turkestan or Turkmenistan) forms an integral part of the movie’s story and the place depicted is absolutely gorgeous. It is located amidst a sprawling desert but also boasts of pristine waters. There are shabby localities of short and shanty buildings. But, Turgistan also has some of the most magnificent modern architecture- large statues, circular glass buildings and futuristic looking bridges which ooze modernism. One might wonder where this place is. Or if it actually exists…
Where is Turgistan Located (in the Film)?
Turgistan is depicted to be a sovereign country in Central Asia, somewhere near Pakistan. Ryan Reynolds plays the lead character in the movie and is referred to, as “One.” The movie’s plot kicks off when he sees Turgistan’s dictator use fighter jets to drop sarin gas (a toxic nerve agent) on his own population.
Upon witnessing the atrocity, One gets triggered intensely and immediately starts to think of ways that he can change the situation. “Some of us have lost our ability to pretend (that nothing wrong is happening in the world),” One says. He assembles a team of vigilantes with unique skills to take down the country’s strongman, Rovach. One wants to replace him with his non-violent brother, Murat.
Does Turgistan Actually Exist?
The short answer is no. Turgistan is a completely fictional country that does NOT exist in the current world. It is supposed to be located in, or somewhere close to Pakistan in the movie. While the exact location is not revealed, the fictional region is accorded a sovereign status in ‘6 Underground’ and depicted to be an authoritarian nation-state.
So…Did the Movie Make it Up Entirely?
Well, the writers of ‘6 Underground’ did not randomly invent a name for a fictional region in Central Asia ending with -stan (that would have been too cliched even for Hollywood). Instead, they just borrowed (adapted, rather) a province that actually existed several centuries ago.
Turgistan was indeed located in present-day Pakistan between the years 224 and 651 AD. It was a province that was ruled by the Sasanian Empire, also called the Neo-Persian Empire or more simply, the Empire of Iranians. It was one of the most powerful kingdoms at the time, located next to the Roman Empire.
In the Sasanian Empire’s massive domain, Turgistan (referred to as Turkemistan) was a province that was surrounded by present-day India in the East, Balochistan in the South and the West and Afghanistan in the North. The choice of the writers was a rather witty one, given the current geo-political climate in the region since significant parts of Turgistan (if it existed) would have been located in present-day Balochistan which is a politically unstable region in Pakistan.
Where was Turgistan Filmed?
The visually appealing place that is passed off as Turgistan in the movie is actually Abu Dhabi. In fact, it is not too tough to figure out that the movie is filmed in the capital city of United Arab Emirates (apart from a few other regions of the country) for those who have visited it. The Liwa Desert is shot picturesquely while the circular glass building shown is the HQ building in Abu Dhabi. The Jebel Hafeet mountains are shown too.
On the other hand, the modernist bridge portrayed is actually the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. Moreover, a gigantic dome-shaped building is also a visual spectacle that appears in the movie. This structure is actually the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum. Turgistan might not exist, but viewers will certainly consider visiting Abu Dhabi after watching the movie’s dazzling locations.
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