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Afghan kid heads for Oscars

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MUMBAI: A 14-year old Afghan street kid Fawad Mohammadi is on his way to Hollywood to get the red-carpet treatment at the Oscars.

Fawad used to sell maps to passing foreigners on Kabul‘s famed Chicken Street to help feed his family when he met American director Sam French who cast him as one of the main characters in Buzkashi Boys, a film shot entirely in Afghanistan. It has been nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at this year‘s Academy Awards.

The film is about two youngsters growing up in Kabul who dream of becoming Buzkashi horseback riders in Afghanistan‘s dramatic national sport, which uses a headless goat in place of a ball in a wild version of polo. Both are forced to spend long hours in his father‘s dark workshop sharpening axe heads.

Fawad, whose ambition is to become a pilot, said he hoped to be able to visit the cockpit of the airplane during his flight to Los Angeles. He is the youngest of seven siblings. Their father died several years ago, and his five brothers also work. He started selling chewing gum on the streets and expanded his trade to selling maps and dictionaries to foreigners.

He learned English as he worked on Chicken Street, a popular destination for expats shopping for Afghan carpets, jewellery and craftwork.

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