Lima Sahar, aged 19, has proven that there is a new mood emerging within Afghanistan. Lima made history yesterday evening as she secured the third place in the extraordinarily popular Afghan Star talent contest.
Lima, from the town of Kandahar, normally associated with the repressive Taliban, takes home a cash prize of 100,000 Afghanis (US$2,000) plus a recording contract in a country where the average monthly wage is less than 5,000 Afghanis (US$100).
"This is a dream come true", said Lima, "my music is about my heart, my family and my country. I would not have been able to go through all of these weeks of competing without knowing they are there supporting me all of the way".
Afghan Star is one of Afghanistan's most popular programs, and Lima's rise in to the top 3 has been by popular vote. "Lima's win is significant in many ways. It reflects both her talent, as well as the groundswell of change that is often masked by more negative events in Afghanistan," said Saad Mohseni, Director of TOLO TV.
"She has proven her courage to enter. She has proven her talent to reach this stage. And the people of Afghanistan have supported her all the way through to the top three. "Our ratio of female contestants has been increasing every year, and we trust that more and more of our talented young people will be inspired by her."
The winner of the final two contestants, Hamid Sakhizada and Rafi Nabizada, is set to be announced next Friday in a spectacular concert edition of Afghan Star which will be screened at 9pm on TOLO TV.
Afghan Star final 3 in song
Lima Sahar takes on 3rd place in Afghan Star and becomes the first ever female to reach the top 3
Afghan Star blazed a trail for wannabe pop stars back in September 2005 when the country’s greatest ever talent show was launched – and Shekaib Hamdard was crowned winner. The 21 year old went on to record two Number One singles and a career he could never have dreamed of.
Afghan Star also revealed beyond doubt that the country possessed an untapped hunger for local music and entertainment provided by home-grown talent. In September 2007, TOLO TV launched the third season of the hugely popular show, produced by Aria Production and sponsored by Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications company.
“The first and second season of Afghan Star did phenomenally well; but we have seen a surge of interest in its third season. The show’s success is a reflection of Afghans’ desire for change and progress,” said TOLO TV Director Saad Mohseni.
The response was overwhelming with thousands of Afghans tuning in to TOLO TV every Friday to watch 12 young hopefuls from every walk of Afghan life. “At the end of the day, what most people want is entertainment. Afghan Star is one of the few shows which appeals to Afghans from all walks of life.
It also offers talented Afghan youth a chance to really make something of themselves,” added Mohseni. Afghan Star was the first of its kind to enable SMS voting, allowing Afghans to choose their own stars. It has given up-and-coming singers the chance to shine, and after the final on March 21st 2008, one of them will find a glittering future ahead of them.
The program’s official sponsor is ROSHAN, who have sponsored all three seasons of the show. “This is a natural tie-up between the two partners - the leading and most awarded mobile company in Afghanistan, along with the country’s most watched and popular television show. We are extremely excited to partner with TOLO TV to bring this fun, music-filled program that showcases the Afghan musical culture and in the same time reveals talented young Afghans,” commented Karim Khoja, Chief Executive Officer of Roshan.
“The Afghan Star is watched by thousands of households in a family setting and the winners are voted by the people. Roshan is not only committed to bring to market the best quality network, technology innovations, but equally pivotal, to support and develop Afghan Culture and Art,” concluded Karim Khoja. For all media enquiries please contact Sekander Saleh on +93(0) 798 13 69 80 or
TV TOLO is taken from the Dari / Pashto words for “dawn” and has been on air from October 2004. TOLO is a fully private Afghan owned entity which provides a market driven programming, featuring apolitical local and international news, current affairs, lifestyle and entertainment.
It is the most popular station across all time slots, and has 65% of all television viewing households, light years ahead of its nearest competitor at 7.3%. It is available free to air nationally and regionally via satellite.
Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan’s leading cellular telephone service provider, with a countrywide network of 160 cities and towns. Roshan directly employs more than 800 people and provides indirect employment to more than 15,000 people.
By end of 2006, Roshan has invested US$ 250 million in Afghanistan and is the country’s single largest investor and tax payer contributing approximately 6% of the Afghan Government’s overall revenue. Roshan is deeply committed to Afghanistan’s reconstruction and socio-economic development.
About ARIA PRODUCTION
Afghanistan’s leading private video-audio and print production house is responsible for almost the entire local content broadcast on TOLO TV and ARMAN FM, the nation’s most popular television and radio stations. Producing over 4 hours of content daily, including news, investigative programs, lifestyle shows, commercials, film clips, documentaries and adaptation of foreign language content to Dari and Pashto.
It also provides a range of animation, print and web design services.