Mumbai: Three young girls from Afghanistan have teamed up to show the fun side of the war-ravaged country through a 17-minute film "Kabul Cards". The trio wants to send a message to the world that their homeland is not just about war.
Sahar, 16, who currently attends high school, 19-year-old Sadaf, a music student, and Nargis, 18, who works in an information agency, have filmed their daily lives in Kabul for the movie.
Despite the ongoing war and widespread discrimination against women, the three girls took the challenge of filming themselves and showing the world how they have fun together and how actively they are working to change the society in "Kabul Cards", which was showcased at the ongoing 14th Mumbai Film Festival.
"We want to change people's mind and their thinking about Afghanistan with the video. All they know about us is wars and explosions, but we want the world to know about the civilians living there, the people and the activists who are living to reform things," Nargis told IANS.
"There is a lot more that is happening their like environmental campaigns and cultural programmes, but all the world knows and the international media writes about are the war," she added.
Talking about the attitude of people in their country, Sahar said: "We don't feel safe when we walk on the streets. They think if we are going out, so we are bad girls. And it is not just the men who think like this, there are some women who also have that kind of thinking. This is what we want to change."
The first seed of the idea to make the film was sown last year when two Norwegians - Christoffer Naess and Anders Smme Hammer - thought of making a movie about civilian life in Afgahnistan.
While Hamner has been working as a journalist in Afghanistan since June 2007, Naess works with Global Video Letters, an organization that focuses on international participatory media projects.
The two, who have produced the film, got in touch with these girls and organised a camera-handling workshop for them before they started shooting the film.
Hammer says he got tired of reporting about war.
"I got tired of doing the same stories of war and everything. I thought about working on something else that will show the normal life of people. So I got in touch with these young talented girls and then the other two and rest is history," he told IANS.
After the first experience, the girls are planning to continue filming in Kabul next year too and what motivates them is that their respective families are supporting their endeavour.
"It was fun working with small camera on the streets. People got scared the minute they saw cameras in our hands as if we had a big power in our hands. Filmmaking experience was great," Nargis said.
This is Sadaf and Nargis' first visit to India and they have been shopping around with Sahar, who came here earlier as part of a school trip.
The young activists also love Bollywood films. With "Lagaan", "Rockstar", "Taare Zameen Par" and "3 Idiots" on their most favourite list, they are waiting to watch "Barfi!".
"We have learned Hindi from Bollywood films only," said Nargis.