AOPNEWS | February 11, 2016
On July 18, 2015, Afghan actor Abdul Hafiz Khan decided to audition for a role in a new Bollywood movie, starring super star actor Aamir Khan. After more than 50 auditions, the 21-year old finally landed a role in Aamir Khan’s new movie, Dangal, which is scheduled to be released on December 23rd of this year. The young Afghan actor will play the role of “Samar” in the movie, which is being directed by Nitesh Tiwari. The movie is a biographical sports drama about a professional Indian wrestler and Olympic coach, Mahavir Singh Phogat. Phogat is known in real life for training his daughters to be world champion wrestlers. One of his daughters, Geeta, became the first Indian female wrestler to win a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
This role for Hafiz Khan is a dream come true, especially if one considers his background. He was born in Kabul in 1995, which was a time of great instability in Afghanistan. In July 1996, he was only one and a half when Afghanistan’s Prime Minister at the time, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar closed down the movie theaters in Kabul, which often played Bollywood movies, labeling them immoral and un-islamic. To make things worse, later in September, the Taliban captured Kabul, and banned practically everything else. The future for any aspiring actor seemed hopeless, especially after the Taliban broke TV sets, and burned video tapes and books.
Luckily for Hafiz Khan, the Taliban were overthrown in late 2001 and a new more moderate government was put in place, thus allowing more freedom for the people of Afghanistan. However, even with a new government in place, the country still lacked a strong education infrastructure, especially for those wanting to pursue the arts. At only the age of 12, Khan’s father, who was a Colonel in the Afghan Army, sent his son to India for an education so that he could have a better life. In India, Hafiz Khan took an interest in the arts, especially acting. At school, his friends called him the “young Shah Rukh Khan”, a well known and loved Bollywood actor, especially among Afghans. Bollywood super star Shah Rukh Khan was actually the inspiration for Hafiz Khan to get into acting. In school, he took on both comical and dramatic roles, and eventually got a professional degree in acting. Hafiz Khan would like to continue his acting career, and one day become a super star, just like his favorite Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan.