The lights turn out; the screen starts to gleam and for the very 1st time in so many years the members of typical Afgan household see themselves having popcorn and cold drinks coolly as they sit together watching Hollywood and Bollywood stars appear on the silver screen.
First family cinema in Kabul
A new movie theatre which is affable to families opened in Kabul, offering a scarce place for women to spend some quality time with their families, which has not been possible in the war-destructed country for years. Women mostly are restricted inside the house. The typical cinemas which were pre-existing in Kabul are famous for strident male gatherings, amid the smoke of cigarettes and cannabis, men applauding and whistling while watching the movie; and according to the traditions prevalent, movie theatres are not a place for women and children. But in 2016, a new movie theater, Galaxy became the first and the only movie theatre not allowing single men for a certain period of time, the time for family shows, protecting women and children from unnecessary aggravation and annoyance.
But in 2016, a new movie theater, Galaxy became the first and the only movie theatre not allowing single men for a certain period of time, the time for family shows, protecting women and children from unnecessary aggravation and annoyance.
The opening of Galaxy in Kabul signified the possibility of women watching movies in public place on the silver screen, something that hasn’t happened in Kabul for more than 20 years; and the cinema is not just about movies, it’s about freedom, even if just ‘few hours’ of freedom.
The history oppression
After taking Kabul under its reign in 1996, Taliban banned movies, music, and television. The cinemas were closed or wrecked. However, the seizure by the United States of America in 2001 re-introduced the tradition of films, and many cinemas opened in the city. But the effect of Taliban’s control on Afganistan could have been witnessed by any person with just a peek inside the movie theatres, the shows may have been houseful but the audience was only men. Though there is no legal obligation to restrain women from going to the cinemas but the Afgan community does not approve of people of opposite sex mingling together, hence culturally and traditionally it isn’t acceptable for women to watch movies in public places, it is still a taboo.
Finally, a hint of light!
The ‘Galaxy Family Cinema’ is the brainchild of Abubakar Gharzai who along with his 5 friends took the initiative to bring family friendly entertainment to Kabul. The cinema is strictly booked for families from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm and single men aren’t allowed in that time slot, single men can only watch the shows in after 7:30 in the evening.