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Afghan Olympic medalist ‘Nikpa’ to be featured in Hollywood movie

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KABUL: The life story of Rohullah Nikpa, the first and only winner of Olympic medal for Afghanistan, would be featured in the Hollywood film industry—a first such big podium for an Afghan athlete.

Eddie Arya, a Sydney-based renowned filmmaker told Afghanistan Times that this is his desire to produce a film on Nikpa which would be his fourth movie. “I heard Rohullah’s story and after doing some more research on him, I was quite inspired.”

“Rohullah and I met over skype, I thought he was a sweet and a humble guy. He seemed educated and very smart. Rohullah seemed proud and passionate about Taekwondo and his country,” he added.

He furthered, “His bravery and courage makes him a true Afghan hero. Rohullah stayed focus on his true passion Taekwondo. He finally broke a curse and changed history. While the country was in war, Rohullah was fighting a different battle to win his country the first ever Olympic medal. As a storyteller, I feel that I have a responsibility now to share Rohullah’s story with the rest of the world.”

The movie will be shot here in my hometown Sydney and some parts will be shot in Los Angeles, Mumbai India and Kabul Afghanistan, Mr. Arya said.

“We’ll have Bollywood and Hollywood cast along with some brilliant actors here from Sydney that I’ve worked with in the past.”

“The film will be titled “Nikpa”. Nikpa will be shot with Panavision cameras and lenses and will get a worldwide distribution. I’m also planning a trip to Afghanistan prior to the shoot in order to spend some more time with Rohullah, his trainers and some of the people who have supported him. I also need a basic understanding of the actual sport Taekwondo,” he added.

As an Afghan Australian, Nikpa will be a little too close to my heart, he said, adding, “When it came to Afghanistan, I’ve always heard of war and destruction but Rohullah definitely made history and achieved something positive. He was destined to win that first medal, and I feel that I was destined to share another Afghan brother’s story.”

Due to safety and security reasons, we’re not allowed to disclose the exact locations at this stage, however, we will reveal the locations after the shooting is completed, he noted.

“Making Nikpa will be a major challenge for me but I know for a fact that I will not just have the support of my cast and crew on this project, but I’ll also have the blessings and the support of 40 million Afghan brothers and sisters out there as they’d like to see this story coming to life as much as I do,” he furthered.

Nikpa will be no less than any Hollywood Oscar winning biopic that’s been made. “There have been a million articles and other media on Rohullah Nikpa and his achievements but for the first time, we’re going to give the audience a truly cinematic experience.”

I’m looking forward to visiting my motherland. I also have other future plans on improving the Afghan film industry. I truly believe that there’s a lot of talent in Afghanistan but they just need a little guidance. Nikpa will be my 4th movie, he concluded.

The Afghan athlete Rohullah Nikpa won a bronze medal in the Summer Olympics held in 2012, turning him a national hero.

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