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Afghan Star

  • Film

Time Out says

We’ve seen the effect ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ had on one Indian slumdog, but elsewhere in the world it’s ‘Pop Idol’ that gives a voice to the marginalised. The final of ‘Afghan Star’ was watched by a third of the population and many of those who voted had never encountered democracy before. This formulaic but fascinating documentary follows four competitors from the comical audition stage through to the nerve-racking finale.

And while its style and structure conform to the well-worn template established by docs like ‘Spellbound’, its success lies in creating an accessible, fun way into serious issues. Music was outlawed by the Taliban for more than five years, so the mere existence of such a programme is revolutionary. Talent shows may be frivolous in the West, but to watch singers risking their lives to appear on the show and viewers trading their belongings for sim cards so they can text their votes, is a sobering reminder of how much we take for granted.
Written by Sarah Cohen

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 27 March 2009
  • Duration:87 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Havana Marking
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