Akhtar-e Maskara (Akhtar, the Joker) clip 1
Director: Eng. Latif Ahmadi; Cinematographer: Waheed Ramaq
Duration: 00:43:00; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 240.697; Saturation: 0.004; Lightness: 0.502; Volume: 0.299; Cuts per Minute: 10.907; Words per Minute: 40.395
Summary: Date (Afghan Calendar): 1359
A 1.5 hr black and white film, based on a novel of the same name by Rahnaward Zariyab that exposes the differences between old and new Kabul at the end of the 1970s and follows the story of a young man who falls into the gap between the two.
Footage Source: Afghan Films editing dept tape
Translated by Rajni Prakash
Akhtar Maskara (1981) is based on the novel by Azam Rahnaward Zariab, the
well-known writer of contemporary Afghan fiction and was a co-production between the Radio Television Archive (RTA) and Afghan Film.
Joint production of Television and Afghan Film
Market in Kabul
One rupee... one rupee
In this self-portrait at the beginning of the 1981 film, the character Akhtar addresses the audience directly, while walking through Pul-e-Baghemomi
, the old second-hand clothing market of Kabul. There is a strange and literary quality to the monologue, perhaps stemming from the source material. (Zariab wrote the screenplay). Akthar is portrayed as sharp-tongued, with a dry, acerbic wit, and yet he says he’s the joker, present here just to make people laugh.
One rupee... one rupee
It is for one rupee... one rupee
calls me Akhtar, the joker!
Why Akhtar, the joker?
Because it is like that! Yes.
Hello, Akhtar jaan. Come up and have a cup of tea with us.
Enjoy your tea. Thank you. You have it, salaam boss.
Faqir Nabi (alumna of the FTII - Film and Television Institute of India) portrays Akthar, the joker. His batchmates were Jaya Prada, Shatrughan Sinha, Danny Denzongpa. This was also his first feature as an actor.
The divergence between how he wishes to see himself and his world, and how his world really sees him, expands through the narrative of the film, a stinging social critique of the gap between rich and poor, old and new Kabulis at the end of the 1970s.
There are even some people who are afraid of me.
It might cross your little mind: "what do you have to be afraid of?"
Now, I am going to tell you what they are afraid of.
Of my bitter tongue! May God not put someone's name on my tongue. Once his name is on my lips, then he has his work cut out for him!
Well, what did you do?
Uncle... bring your 35... okay...
I told you I do not have more money
Let me see if there is no hole in it. This is also okay!
Well, are you taking this?
Buy Chainaki (Soup in a kettle)
Don't buy, your wish.
This is good. Bring it down.
Sir, this is for ladies!
Take this one.
Take this out... take it out.
It is a good coat; I hope it is not big!
Try it on!
I am not buying it for myself! I am buying it for my servant!
Is your servant fat or thin?
Why do you have to ask if he is fat or thin? Just tell me how much it is!
Five hundred, sir, five hundred!
You are checking the price but he cannot buy!
Akhtar continues his monologue, this time infront of a cinema in Kabul, against the backdrop of a Bollywood film starring Dev Anand and Hema Malini. I am famous in my neighborhood...
Hello, sir, hello.
In my own lane, I am very famous! When I get out of my house, children form a circle around me. And when I talk, it is like as if I am tickling them, then - hehehehe, they start laughing.
And I also feel happy! Yes!
It has been years that I have been like this, the same way! But I was not like this in the beginning. Do you have any idea what I am talking about? I was a backward, shy kid; I would sit on the last bench in class. I spoke very little; as a matter of fact, I did not speak at all. Kids would bother me. They would pass comments on me. They were making fun of me! My heart collected their mockery like a hive. The fuller it became, more painful my heart would get. I wanted to find a way to empty my bee hive like heart! One day, yes ... one day, I found that way! I was getting late and I was trying to reach quickly!
Dear Akhtar, come and sit, come.
Dear Akhtar, welcome, come...come..
Oh God, it hurts
Move back, give me Akhtar's books. Come Akhtar, they will not tease you any more, sit, sit ... sit
I love you bald head!
Dear Akhtar, why did you come late, boss? Dear!
Kids, Akhtar jaan has a hangover from the party!
Akhtar jaan, whose guest were you last night, brother?
Your sister's guest, I was!
Oh boy, did you see Akhtar, see what he said!
That day I understood I had to make fun, to pass comments! Make fun! And I did that. One day I noticed that I was no more only Akhtar, I became Akhtar, the joker! At first I did not like it but later I started liking it!
The father is played by Azizullah Hadaf, a well-known actor. He now lives in the United States.
This scene is filmed infront of the mosque - Masjid-e-pul-e-khishti
You know, my father is a cobbler but I am ashamed of his profession! When someone asks me, "Akhtar, what does your father do?" I say, "My father passed away!" We have an old house, a very old house. And we have taken that house on rent. I do not go there, I go there rarely!
I have very prominent friends! Very prominent! And most of the time, I spend time in their houses, Jamil's house. They give me modern clothes. This vest, Jamil has given me. They give me money, money! And that is just because I make them laugh and make them have a good time.
You know, for each one of these, millions have been spent! I am telling you the truth! Millions!
Where have they got the money from? Even I do not know!
Earlier I told you about Jamil. Do you remember? Now, you are going to meet him in person! And that is his house!
Script: Rahnawad Zariab
Starring: Faqir Nabi, Nasir Aziz, Baseera Khatera and Ibrahim Toghian.
Ibrahim Toghian is in Germany now.
Nasir Aziz returned back to Afghanistan from the US and is an iterpretor in a US militarty base in Kandahar.
The background score is by Zahir Huwaida and Arif Kayhan, Arif passed away 3 weeks ago (mid-march 2012) in Germany.
Assad Sharifi, our translator adds that Arif Kayhan was a very good Jazz singer
Eng Latif: We did a similar titling treatment for Green Fields, but we used seeds there.
Akhtar, the joker!
Script: Rahnavard Zaryab
And, Ibrahim Toghyan
Hadaf, Hamida, Salam Sangi, Homa, Saboor, Baryalai, Maerefat, Saiba
Print and lab:
Sultan Estefali, Ahmad Shah Sediqui, Farooq Nekzad, Mostafa, Naser
Lights: Sayed Nazeem
Photography: Nader Vesal
Assistant song recording: Sayed Muzzafar Shah, Hasan
Assistant producer: Rahmatullah Qadiri
Continuity: Zia Mustamand
Song producer: Noorullah Multafet
Assistant: Bahram Barial
Editor: Qadeer Rashidi
Assistant: Afzal Baryalai
Theme music: Zaher Howeida
Assistant director: Raouf Rasey
Assistant Camera: Noor Hashem Abir
Production affairs: Wakil Wahedi
Camera man: Wahidullah Ramaq
Director: Engineer Latif
Jameel's house is actually an annexe of one of the presidential palaces.
Ooh, where have you got lost? Good, good, good, look at you! I haven't seen you for four days, you joker!
I swear to God, this joker had a lot to do, a lot!
You had something to do?
Your joker has nothing to do? Have I ever told you the story of that person, who tailored in the morning, no, who was a butcher in the morning and who was a tailor by night?
I was talking about you the other night with someone! Remembrance!
Remembering me? With whom?
May you be remembered by Azrael (the angel of death). I really love you!
Shahla and Mustafa were in America, they have just come back the day before yesterday. Shahla! Shahla! Come down!
They came back, poor me! I had no idea!
What are you saying Jamil?
Come down! Come!
Come fast as we have found the topic!
Two years she has spent in America and see how much she has changed!
Yes, America. Shahla jaan, come now, come.
So, what do you want to say?
Let me introduce someone to you! This is Akhtar! But we call him Akhtar, the Joker!
You kept it the opposite!
Oh, my stomach.
The other night I told you about him, one dies of laughter! My sister can dance! Cha cha cha, rock n roll.
Very good, well!
Watch the belly!
Akhtar, show your dance to Shahla! Let me go and put a cassette for you in the car!
He is right, you should dance!
Dance Akhtar jaan, throw this away!
Well, you are dancing alone! Without me, Stop, stop! Well, just a minute!
Stop, I am coming.
Mostafa, come here!
Who is this?
I have told you about him, when you see him you die of laughter!
He is Akhtar
You are Akhtar, the joker?
One, two. One, two, four
Jamil, why don't you dance?
Akhtar is dancing for you.
Akhtar, let's go in. We are coming back. I do not like them!
You know, I do not like them!
God, you also understand French!
Come down, it is not French!
Come, I will show you.
Come, Joker! Come,
So, so. One minute! You go and sit there. I will go to bring wine!
Mmmm, alcohol! So, alcohol! Well, Akhtar!
Hey girl, get two glasses... aha, and some ice too.
It is open now!
Well, give me the hat! What is this? One does not wear this.
I am your servant! May you be healthy!
Wait, now, we are going to listen to nice music. Well, music! Wait! What happened?
Now, that is it! Akhtar! First class music!
Master! You do not need anything else?
No, that is okay! Go! Go, go, go.
Well, okay, isn't it? That is fine!
Allow me to pour some for you.
I'll be the cupbearer!
Now, it is too much!
Now, that is okay! Let's drink! Cheers!
Cultureless man, what is this way of drinking?
What is this?
Look, one drinks a little at a time!
Aha, a little!
This is whiskey!
Look, how I drink!
What a nice man you are Mustafa!
Akhtar! You still do not know me! I ... am a very good person! But they do not understand my value! It is not important! I do not like them either!
I do not like them!
Now we drink
eh, you drank your peg. Why do you ....
Now put an ice cube
Now see what you have done!
Clean this place, look, with this!
Hands off, hold it with this, hold it here.
Let's hit our pegs!
What? What's hit? Not like this.
Do you drink every day?
Yes, I picked up the habit in Europe!
There... We... drank... Every day! With whom?
With my girlfriends! Every night we used to drink! Till midnight! Till early morning, we used to drink! I did not have anything else to do!
What nights we had!
The nights of Paris! London! New York! Lovely nights!
Aha, I got something else also. It is really beautiful and nice. I brought it from there, from Europe! Now I go to get it, wait!
Akhtar! I got it, look at it! See this! This is Akhtar, the joker! Look mousy! Look! This is Akhtar the joker! Akhtar the joker, look!
From Europe?...You brought a mouse?
Well, Akhtar! It is a polite mouse! It is polite! You should learn the politeness of the mouse from the mouse! Laugh, dance! Excuse me for a minute!
What happened to my lighter?
Come take a puff, eeh, you spoiled it!
Akhtar! Do not do that again!
He is a joker, okay? Akhtar, ... . Akhtar is a joker!
Mustafa, now we drink to your polite mouse's health!
Excellent Akhtar, long live, Akhtar! Cheers!
Akhtar's house is located in Kocha-e-Bala.
Faredun-jaan, a cameraman for Tolo TV, reveals that this was filmed in his grandfathers house.
Akhtars mother is played by Hameeda Abdullah, who now lives in the Netherlands
Akhtar jaan! Dance for a while.
This is Akhtar! We call him Akhtar, the joker!
Come my son, you got the bread! Keep the bread in the room! Sweetheart, get the tea pot to prepare tea.
Mother, my elder brother is angry again!
Dance for a while.
Oh, God! What has been happening to me since yesterday!
Well, let me introduce him to you. He is Akhtar but we call him Akhtar, the joker!
What should I do? What should I do?
I don't know what lies inside the pool; how many times shall I tell him to clean this!
Don't do this, hey girl!
Oh boy, gardener!
To hell with 'yes master', come here!
How dirty this pool is!
Clean the pool, the girls are going to swim after lunch!
Look at the way he is eating!
Take some, you are sitting quietly.
Look at the way he is eating!
Look, my monkey has come! My monkey has come!
Good, Akhtar! You came at the right time! This is our own monkey!
Now you will have a good time, he has come.
Take off your shirt! Good, take it off. Take it off!
Mustafa, bring your monkey into the field.
Wear your vest!
Untie the leash of the monkey! It will hold its pen.
Good, Akhtar! Go, Akhtar! We are making the monkey dance.
The monkey is dancing! Good!
Monkey is dancing.
Good, Akhtar! Eat it! Good, Akhtar!
Stand up Akhtar! Dear Akhtar come, Stand up Akhtar! Move yourself!
Look at the way it moves itself!
Do you want to drink milk?
Monkey is dancing. Look at its laughter.
Look, he is eating banana in a better way than your monkey.
Well done, dear Akhtar.
Give him the bowl!
Stay here till I get your clothes!
Come, let's go and drink!
We are going to drink!