Posted by Oxy

‘We want work’, ‘We are widows’, and ‘We are not political’. Few burqa clad women chant this and display it on placard while taking out a rebellion on the Taliban ruled streets of Afghanistan one day. A young boy Espandi (Arif Herati) is shown smoldering away the curses and asking for a dollar from the firang journalist who is filming this procession. A woman, name not known (Khwaja Nader) accompanied by her daughter, name not known (Marina Golbahari) are on their way to hospital where the mother works as nurse. Suddenly Taliban strikes and procession goes violent. Woman, her daughter and Espandi take protection in a house. The girl unhurriedly peeps through the door ajar. Her misty eyes see the brutalities of Taliban and tears roll down her cheek.

Soon the mother-daughter duo get to know that they are rendered penniless as the Taliban has closed down the hospital. At home in night whilst cooking the meal mother breaks down and longs for a man in family who could support them as her husband and brother had died in Russian war. She then blights looking at her daughter, ’wish I had boy’. The third female in the family, the grandmother is arranging the young girl’s hair into neat braid and narrates a bed time story to her as how passing under ‘Rainbow’ can make boy a girl and girl a boy. Granny suggests the mother to cut the girl’s hair, make her don her father’s clothes so that she can be passed as a boy and can earn a living outside. The girl objects but this is the last resort left to the destitute family.

Upon being disposed to work in a tea shop, the ordeal starts for the girl. She is continually terrified at the thought that her secret will be out any moment and walks to work and back home in constant fear. The words spoken are less but those scenes are well shot as the fear shown on the face of girl is to feel sorry for. She emotes marvelously through her eyes. Espandi, the boy who had seen her before recognizes her in an instant but settles to keep it a secret in exchange of few dimes.

The tribulation for her is never ending, what with few doubting eyes following her once till her home and furthermore when the owner of tea shop takes her to a mosque full of men to pray. But the vital one is when she along with all the boys is taken confined by Taliban to religious school so that young boys can be trained for the war. There amidst all boys she tries hard to behave like a boy but in vain and is soon being called a nymph by all including the Mullah who teaches them the ablutions to be performed by male to conquer the wet dreams apart from Koran. Her feminine looks and behavior could not be hidden and all boys start teasing her. Espandi comes to her rescue when few ask her to drop her Pyajama so that they can be sure she indeed is a boy. Espandi chases the other boys away and when few ask for her name christens her ‘Osama’.

Espandi comes to her rescue other times too but even he could not do much when her true identity is revealed in one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever seen. Espandi sees her and cries helplessly whilst she is chased by all in the confined walls of school. She is taken captive and is sent for a trial.

Without disclosing what happens next, the film definitely doesn’t end on a happy note. It is a dark cinema where each frame of it can melt any heart. The protagonist Osama (Marina) and all other characters are real and picked from the streets of Kabul. Marina herself was a beggar when director spotted her and took her in his film (Source Wikipedia).

When I chanced upon this movie by sheer luck (no one had recommended me; my DVDs rental-wala told me to take it as many were hiring this from him), I had no idea that this movie was hugely acclaimed and had won many awards. I also had no clue that the actors were picked from real life. After watching the movie and doing some random search on web I saw it again and felt the same heaviness in the heart which I had experienced before. We all know how a particular scene or a sequence can bring a lump in the throat but what would you call a movie where you have bulge and the lump throughout. I would call it a masterpiece.

Director Siddiq Barmark can be without doubt termed a genius as it takes humongous guts and effort to make immature or call it amateur actors enact the psyche of people from a war-trodden places. The editing is top class and could not get better. The poor and tattered neighborhood is captured in a basic way and as the film is shot in real locations gives it an intact look. Screenplay at times looks cut to short as per expectation but you soon realize it is intentional.

The film not for once looks off track or displays any irrational angle to it in its 80-odd minutes of running. Few scenes that need special mention here are:

When the girl after her hair being chopped off plants one of the braids in the mud-pot and waters it in the night in hope it never ceases to grow.

Women are singing and dancing as there is a marriage in the neighborhood but soon Taliban barges in upon hearing the clatter. Women speedily assemble and start crying pretending there is mourning and not a celebration. Pheew. What a pity.

The first time when the girl steps out of her house as boy and walks the street, she is scared stiff and alarmed at every step. You can experience her misfortune.

Famous musician, philosopher and physician Albert Schweitzer said this, “Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, harm, or to hinder life is evil.”

However people of Afghanistan and of other war-torn countries do not have any such fundamental principle or in my opinion are not even aware that ‘to-live’ is their fundamental right. These countries in Middle East face varied problems of either terrorism or of dominion or both but when it comes to women, they all stand alike. Women in these countries are nothing but an object of lust, fruit-bearer and not even that if they do not have a man in their lives.

How a woman supposed to earn a living if she cannot step out without a male companion related by blood and she doesn’t have any male left in family after losing them to war or terrorism?

P.S. And you probably thought this might have got to do with Osama Bin Laden. Sigh!!!

This entry was posted on Saturday, September 06, 2008 and is filed under . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .

25 Pointless but Viscous Comments.

i can see the images that you have depicted...

tch...it is sickening isnt it.

i mean here we women crib for everything not realizing there are our counterparts who are not able to enjoy basic human rights.

very well written...the reality is biting and unfortunately it has very sharp teeth...

i only wish i hadnt read it the first thing in the morning... :(

It illuminate yet another wretched dark corner of the world.

Touching and U have written it well. When we raise a hue and cry about India, I guess we should count our blessings.

P.S. U have changed "comments" to the term u coined. Good one! :)

Preeti: U should stop reading blogs in mornings and especially on saturday morning. hehe.

u guys are better off than ur counterparts in some part of the world...:)

V: Yes, it indeed. Have you seen?

Reema: I said exactly the same to Preeti. U bet girl!!!!

P.S. Oh yes, I did.. Isn't it cool?


I have never heard of the movie. Thanks a lot for this post. :)

Good to refresh this .. i wd love to see the movie.


Hmmmm... I don't like such movies as a rule... Too much suffering, too much violence... :)

V: not many are aware of it. Glad to know u have seen.

Amit: u welcome.

Avdi: Damn me.. now this reminds I had to burn couple of DVDs and courier it. Damn Damn Damn Me...

Nikhil: Each to his own.:)

:) You not my kind of movie...

But a lovely review indeed :)

Smita: Yes, I am aware of that. Thanks indeed.

Wow, I did know about this movie, but not to this extent. Thanks for the review bro, lemme check if its available at the DVD store...or atleast in torrents.


AMAZING review dude! I haven't seen the movie yet. But I am definitely going to watch it. And yes. The lives of women in these countries is something more than those of the dogs. The story you portrayed is heart-wrenching.

Vimmuuu: Do check it out.

Pavan: Thanks. Do catch it.

nice read, this sounds fun.. I'm gonna check it out.

Do more reviews!

I used to do once.. and then I stopped. I wonder if I will be doing more.. However, keep an eye on my other blog. I might!!!


I loved this post. The topic itself is so strong.
I do feel that they have NOT stepped up to the plate because they lack the will to fight their own evils and refrain from commiting evils themselves. They retreat after a few terrorist bullets fly, hesitate to take up arms in self-defense and in defense of their community (law enforcement/military), and they take revenge when it is convenient, and not when it is justified for great gains in harmony with nature (not for the spoils of war).

The problem is in the mind itself.

When they want freedom, they will claim it by gladly paying whatever price it is worth to them. They will achieve freedom and democracy when they see the value and will see death itself as a small price for it. When they desire inner peace and freedom,the dismissal of fantasies and blindness/ignorance is worth the power and rationality.

I am talking about the strongest form of peace, when there NO longer exist any circumstances/times when we feel compelled, or in your words, "have no choice." There exists a powerful sphere where fear no longer exists and compulsion no longer has any affect regardless of the circumstance.

Again, I'm really glad you put up this topic. :)

hey ozy u have pointed one of the big problem goin on in today's world... well written


I watched the movie after seeing your review. You were right, it was a great movie.

I really felt bad for those oppressed women. I almost feel ashamed of how I take all my freedoms for granted. It is amazing to me that there are still places in the world where those kinds of human rights violations happen.

I hate religion.

Hmmm , looks like you are reviving the movie which you saw a long time ago.The movie for sure depicts the pity and pain the ppl in Afghan are going thru and i bet ppl who see the movie without having an idea that these things exist, will find hard to believe this .One of the most dreadfull scenes is that when the girl is kept hanging inside the well and when they lifther she has blood drippin in between her thighs...

God knows when the morons will realise that they are taking away ppl's freedom while they believe they are fighting for one!

Ayushi: And I am glad to know your take on it.

Rakesh: Thnx dude.

Handmaiden: Oh u did. Great. It's a good watch.

Zcorpi: U bet man.. and u forgot to say thnx to me for recommending it to u then..hehe... never mind.

I swear.. my mom was kinda unaware of plight of Afghan women and after seeing this she was shocked to realize that in this world, in some other corner such things still happen.

The scene you mentioned was horrifying for sure.

Haha, that's why they are morons na!!!

Brilliant! Will check out the movie babe...sounds interesting

yups angel it's a brilliant movie too, do check out

Oxy boy, you have been tagged :



You have been tagged!
see here : http://indiapavan.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/tag-gle-switches/

Aww... man!!! you have already been tagged. But it's ok. Write one it's enough.

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