Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Afghan Star - Afghan's American Idol take a nation by storm

 The "Afghan Star" is Afghan's favorite TV show and a 2009 documentary on the phenomenon. It is a show that has brought together a disparity of the majority of the country, and far beyond that. It is an "American Idol" type show.

From the show's web site:

Afghan Star

"After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, pop Idol has come to Afghanistan. Millions are watching the TV series ‘Afghan Star’ and voting for their favorite singers by mobile phone. For many this is their first encounter with democracy. This timely film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk all to become the nation's favorite singer. But will they attain the freedom they hope for in this vulnerable and traditional nation?"

Check out what the media has to say about it:

Afghan Star in the Press

LA Times

"If you believe that bringing the questionable virtues of “American Idol” to Afghanistan would do that beleaguered nation no favors, the remarkable documentary “Afghan Star” will change your mind in an instant."

The Observer

"Afghans unite to cheer their brave new stars as The X-Factor comes to Kabul. A TV talent show that challenges gender, tribal and religious boundaries is transfixing the nation's people - and antagonising religious scholars, reports Vanessa Thorpe."

"Entertaining "Afghan Star" looks at the titular "American Idol"-like TV show, hugely popular yet also a magnet for criticism -- including death threats -- from those who think its Western-style pop frivolity an affront to Islamic law."

Huffington Post blog
"It was the first time an Afghan film had made it to Sundance, let alone won both the World Cinema Documentary Audience and Directors award. The people of Afghanistan were over the moon."

After all that, there is little more for me to say, other than, I see changes coming in the world that the Taliban is no going to be able to curb. People, want to be free. That is what I'm seeing. And, that is what is going to happen.

This is an uplifting and hopeful documentary. But if you watch this, you have to watch the follow up documentary ("Silencing the Song: An Afghan Fallen Star" - see my noon blog article on this later today) catching up with one of the late voted off contestants and how this has affected her life, as it is a much more telling story.

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