Afghan TV series pokes fun at government with "The Ministry"

Fri Aug 5, 2011 8:06am EDT
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By Michellle Nichols

KABUL (Reuters) - Britain and the United States poke fun at incompetent, arrogant middle managers in the television comedy "The Office," but in Afghanistan the target is a fictional minister of garbage in a new series called "The Ministry."

Instead of a series mocking drab office life in impoverished Afghanistan, where there is widespread unemployment, "The Ministry" mockumentary puts a satirical spin on some serious issues such as corruption, drug trafficking and nepotism.

"We'll see how open (Afghans) are to this style of comedy," said Abazar Khayami, a senior producer involved with the show.

"If you look at the United States and Europe, they are always poking fun at the government but to do that here we really don't know what to expect," he said. "No one thinks there is anything to be concerned about."

Dawlat is the arrogant minister for garbage in Hechland, which translated from Dari means "Nothing Land," and the first eight-episode season following daily life in the ministry premiered on Afghanistan's TOLO TV on Thursday.

In a trailer posted on Youtube, which has already been viewed more than 56,000 times in a week (here),

the minister says that the story of his rise to power was too long to explain.

"Let's just say that no one's talent and ability goes unnoticed for too long," says Dawlat, sitting at his large desk in front of a colored map of Hechland that resembles a cracked car windshield and the country's green flag with a yellow star.   Continued...

<p>Afghan actor Abdul Qadr Farokh (C), 65, playing the role of a minister, acts during the filming of a scene for the comedy "The Ministry", in Kabul August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood</p>