Director: Eng. Latif Ahmadi
Duration: 00:02:32; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 134.004; Saturation: 0.014; Lightness: 0.622; Volume: 0.506; Cuts per Minute: 51.507
Summary: Date (Afghan Calendar): 1364
A 2 hour 39 minute historical epic that follows a two-generation feud between families, played out on the buzkashi field, and two young lovers who defy their families' expectations and pay a tragic price. Three clips uploaded, full film should be digitised later.
Footage Source: Afghan Films editing dept tape
Cinematography is by Waheed Ramak. He died two years ago.
Khuda Gawah (God as Witness), 1992 is a Bollywood film directed by Mukul Anand. Latif Ahmedi played host to Anand, Amitabh Bachchan, Danny Denzongpa and the crew when the came to film in Afghanistan. The Buzkashi scenes were also filmed in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Khuda Gawah opens with a 10 minute Buzkashi game between two neighbouring tribes, with Amitabh Bachchan falling in love with Benazir from the neighbouring tribe. An Afghani actress played Sridevi's double during the shoot in Afghanistan.
One cannot help compare the two scenes. The Khuda Gawah scene, shot close to a decade later on an epic scale does not even come close to this scene in capturing the viscerality and thrill of the sport. Also, Epic of love makes artful use of tabla solos in this film. Khuda Gawah, by contrast, offers us highly pitched melodramatic background scores, with heavy Arabic music overtones.
Epic of Love is a historical epic that follows a two-generation feud between families, played out on the buzkashi field, and two young lovers who defy their families' expectations and pay a tragic price. The screenplay is by Abdullah Shadaan (who now lives in London and works for the BBC) and the cinematography is by Waheed Raman, who also shot Akhtar Maskara. It was filmed on location in Mazar-e-Sharif. In this early scene, a girl named Mazari throws herself down in a field of poppies to press her ear to the ground and listen for the sound of approaching horses. Although the boy she loves, Sharif, is in fact riding over the plains, he is too far away for her to hear him, and she sits back up and tells her friend Pari that she was deceived; the sound she heard was her own heart beating. Because these flowers bloom for only a short time in the month of Sawr - for centuries, there has been a spring fair in Mazar named for the red flowers that bloom once a year - the unit waited a whole year to complete this scene.
According to the actor Raziq Zargar, who played the leader of the bandits who figure in later acts of the film, the filming of Epic of Love was an incredible time because Afghan cinema itself was in bloom. Everyone involved in the production was young and energetic; all the actors were so invested in the project that they even carried tripods. Farouq Kadir, who played Mazari's stern father, was at that time the head of Kabul Nandare, the state-run cinema and theater. Kadir spent a month in Mazar-e-Sharif, hanging out with the 'arbabs' and tribal lords, to imbibe some of their characteristics.
The film is remembered fondly by cast and crew, who believe it is a work of art; it is also beloved by the younger generation, who grew up watching it on Afghan TV.
Commentary by Raziq Zargar, actor: This is the actor who also features in Eng. Latif's later film Saboor Soldier. He plays Sharif's friend, who is a blacksmith. Faruq tells him to come shoe his horse, and then tells him 'Your anger is not bad, and you're also really big, but I hope you have the same anger that goes with your big body.'