WITH STARDOM COMES RISK FOR AFGHAN ACTOR. WITH VOICEOVER
Independent Films, Documentaries, Politics
The star of Afghanistan's popular cop show, 'Eagle Four' tells how he and his fellow actors risk their lives to entertain film and TV fans.
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Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
A crack team of Afghan police hunt down a suicide bomber in the heart of Kabul just in time before he can detonate.
Yes, it may be TV, but the subject matter of Afghanistan's popular cop show, 'Eagle Four' is close to home for many Afghans.
And for the lead actor, Najebullah Sadiq, known as Afghanistan's Jack Bauer from the hit US TV series, “24”, a return to his home city of Jalalabad reminds him how difficult it can be for actors in Afghanistan.
“We have faced lots of problems. I've been given warnings hundreds of times. They say you shouldn't make films about the fight against narcotics anymore, or women’s rights. They ask, 'why did you play that role in this film or that serial. You're against suicide attacks.' So I've had warnings many times, received messages, even letters to my house.”
Film in Afghanistan has a long history, but is currently very underfunded and can also be dangerous for the actors involved.
“Before leaving my home, I walk and look around my house and when I drive out with my car, I park it and look around my house again or I tell someone else to see if there's anyone suspicious around my house.”
Jalalabad is the second-largest city in eastern Afghanistan, and one of the leading trading centres with neighbouring Pakistan exporting agricultural products like oranges, rice and sugarcane.
But it has also become known for its small, but dedicated, collection of film-makers and the abundance of DVD and CD shops in the city.
“In the past our films were being released and sold in the bazaar but unfortunately the shops were bombed by the enemies of our country and all music stores were closed. These incidents had a really bad impact on the artists and producers. All the films were stopped on the spot. But now these people are slowly, slowly starting their work on films again.”
A series of bombings against movie and music shops last year had harmed the careers of Afghan actors and singers, but with the announcement of the second stage of transition to include Jalalabad, security has improved enough for the sellers to re-open.
But problems continue, especially when it comes to finding actresses.
“We have 4000 Afghan actors, but from these 4000 we only have three to four female actresses who have starred in one or two movies. They were given warnings by their families as well as by other people who are from different organisations or call themselves Mullahs or holy scholars. They were given warnings and they left the film business.”
However, half the team of Eagle Four are women, one of them a computer expert.
The technology-laden world of Eagle Four may be a little way in the future for Afghanistan's still-developing police force, but Najebullah says he hopes his role in the series will inspire both Afghan security forces conduct and the people to trust them.
“Eagle four has acted as one way to develop our police department and I hope that one day our police will be equipped like they are in Eagle Four and be able to find terrorists from security cameras or using the internet.”
This is Ruth Owen, in Afghanistan, for the NATO Channel
Year of Production: 2011
Country: United States