Afghanistan’s fragile film industry faces an uncertain future in the midst of a crisis; learn about its history

New Delhi: Afghanistan is in deep crisis as the Taliban seizes control of Kabul, the country’s capital, and US troops leave the country after two decades. Former President Ashraf Ghani, like the country’s terrified citizens, fled the country. The situation is dire, and many world leaders and prominent figures are warning of a massive humanitarian crisis.

Despite the fact that the country is at a crossroads, it has always been plagued by political issues. Because of these recurring issues, Afghans were unable to flourish, express themselves, and grow as artists, filmmakers, and actors in the state.

The Afghan film industry, on the other hand, does exist in some form. There is even an Afghan Film Organization (AFO), which is the country’s state-run film company. The organisation was founded in 1968, and Sahraa Karimi, the company’s first female CEO, currently leads it.

There aren’t enough film institutes for students.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Soviet aid attempted to fuel Afghan filmmakers by providing cultural training and student scholarships. Aside from these scholarships, there were no official academic film institutes where students could enrol. Furthermore, during the 1990s, when the Taliban took over after the Soviets left, most filmmakers fled to neighbouring countries in search of work.

Faraar, Hamaasa-e-Ishq, Saboor Sarbaaz, Khakestar, Akharin Arzoo, and Paranda Mohajer were among the most popular films in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1990s, the Taliban took control.

The film industry was in shambles in 1996, when the Taliban conquered and claimed power over the country. Taliban rulers were opposed to watching movies and television and imposed this restriction on civilians. Habibullah Ali, an employee at the Afghan Film Institute, saved a significant portion of the country’s cultural history by burying thousands of films so that they would not be destroyed by the Taliban.

The film ‘Teardrops,’ about a young man’s battle with drug addiction, was the first to be released in the post-Taliban era. Bakhtar cinema was the first to open in the post-Taliban era in 2001.

Afghan cinema’s gender diversity

Women have been at a significant disadvantage in terms of personal freedom and mobility under Taliban rule. According to Anneta Papathanassiou’s film With Fire: Women Actors of Afghanistan, women who act are frequently viewed as prostitutes and are harshly judged. They are told to give up their careers, and if they do, they may be beaten or threatened with death by their family and friends.

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