Fawad Mohammadi (in pic) has spent half his life peddling maps and dictionaries to foreigners on a street of trinket shops in Kabul. Now the 14-year-old Afghan boy with bright green eyes is getting ready for a trip down the red carpet at the Oscars.
Mohammadi’s walk down the red carpet is owing to a worldwide campaign to raise money to pay for his trip. Fawad (14), stars in the Oscar-nominated live-action short film Buzkashi Boys but had no hopes of getting to the ceremony in Los Angeles on February 24 until the Afghan Film Project launched a fund-raising effort.
So far more than $10,000 (Rs 5.4 lakh) has been raised, which will not only pay for Fawad and his co-star Jawa Paiz’s trip, but will also go towards Fawad’s college education.
Fawad, who will be fitted with a tuxedo for the walk up the Oscar red carpet, has never previously been far from the corner of Kabul’s Chicken Street, so the visit, which will involve a full schedule of interviews and parties, will be a major cultural change for him.
To help them make the transition, he and Jawa, who has been acting since he was five-years-old, will be staying at the home of an Afghan couple in Los Angeles and will be accompanied by a chaperone from Kabul.
Buzkashi Boys is set against the background of contemporary Afghanistan and the national sport of Buzkashi — a brutal game of horse polo played with a dead goat.
The film follows two best friends, a defiant blacksmith’s son (Fawad) and a charismatic street urchin (Jawa) as they struggle to survive in one of the most war-torn countries on Earth.