The Kabuliwallahs

Nations get trapped in stereotypes,in unfortunate shadows of the past...

Written by Dipanita Nath | Published: February 7, 2009 12:54 am

Nations get trapped in stereotypes,in unfortunate shadows of the past. Afghanistan still hasn’t wriggled out of the veil thrown over it by the Taliban or the bombs detonated by the US,but that is not all there is to it. The YP Foundation’s two-day festival of Afghan films “Bridge the Gap” will project the other images,the other realities. “The story of Afghanistan isn’t only about wars and oppression. There is hope and normality there. We wanted to show the other picture,” says Aryaman Bhatnagar,project coordinator of the YP Foundation.

The festival,which has several Afghan students of Jamia Millia Islamia as foot soldiers,features films such as Beauty Academy of Kabul,which is about a group of American hairdressers who opens the country’s first post-Taliban beauty school. “It tackles gender empowerment from a different perspective,” says Bhatnagar.

It will also premiere Afghan Star,before the official release in India. It shows how participating in a music reality show on TV can be dangerous in a society that is emerging from 30 years of war. The storyline revolves around the hugely popular Afghan Pop Idol. Participants,however,have to watch their back — in Afghanistan,you could lose your life if you sing.

The other important film is Afghan Chronicles about an organisation called Killid that owns a magazine brought out entirely by women. “The documentary reveals several contradictions in modern society,especially regarding the freedom of the press,” says Bhatnagar. Mansoor Jalal,a final-year political science student from Jamia Millia Islamia and one of the organisers,adds,“It is time we broke the stereotypes about Afghanistan.”

The festival will be held on February 7 and 8 at the India Habitat Centre. Contact: 9818054335

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