Whilst most of the world has heard of Hollywood, and to a lesser extent Bollywood, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cinema industries around the world. Some are highly colourful, such as the Turkish copy-cat film industry, which had a small but devoted fanbase. The love of cinema is something shared by people from all over the globe and can sprout roots in the most unlikely places. Even Afghanistan.
In Sonia Kronlund’s new documentary The Prince of Nothingwood, she discovers an unlikely hero in one of the least likely places. Salim Shaheen is Afghanistan’s most prolific actor, director, producer, and writer. He’s made over 110 films in his illustrious career, become a household name in much of the country and realised a childhood dream. He’s managed all this whilst there’s often a war going on in the background.
The Prince of Nothingwood is an entertaining, amusing and fascinating glimpse into the world of an inimitable character. He’s not alone. There’s an entertaining, unusual and energetic supporting cast, including Saheen’s son and the irrepressible Qurban. It’s not all fun and games though as Kronlund mixes the serious in with the light-hearted. Afghanistan is a country with so many social and political issues. Whilst Shaheen supplies the escapism, danger and death are never too far away.
The Prince of Nothingwood is out in cinemas from Friday.