Once Upon A Time In Afghanistan shows us Afghanistan from a strikingly different point of view. You will observe the stark differences of a country we know so little about. Nazila draws attention to her birthplace as a place where tourists from all over the world would flock to experience adventure in entertainment, food, and fashion. In fact, fashionistas and tradespeople alike would import Afghan fur jackets and vests to the UK and the United States. The hippie look became a fashion must have when the Beatles, Ringo Starr and John Lennon wore the Afghan coat in 1967 at the launch of their The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Album. The coats became a craze. In 1969, Vogue Italy featured Afghan fashion on the cover of Vogue Italy in its December issue- "The Afghan Adventure."
But, soon everything changes. In the summer of 1983, it's around 3 am when Nazila and her family realized that it's time to say goodbye. Quietly, they pack a few belongings; a change of clothes, water, and fresh naan bread that her grandmother packed to take along for the journey. She holds back her tears, her throat choking painfully as she says goodbye to her family. That day, decades later, is still vivid in her memories. Years later as a fashion designer she utilizes her platform to share the beauty of her country amongst the ruins. To most people she is immersed in a world of glamor, living in an imaginary world, but she shows us how she finds happiness and fulfillment in an unexpected place.
Nazila's story outlines the fall of Afghanistan and her personal struggles during the war.
Starting all over in a foreign country, she and her family face challenges, isolation, and fear as they start a new life. She sees her parents in a new light, much different than what she was used to. She remembers her dad in his slim fit suit, polished leather shoes, and her mom in a silk midi dress, both looking elegant, as they go off to work. It's been two years since her parents have been living in India as refugees.
Flashbacks of her younger days become a blueprint of the lessons learned. We learn that we all want happiness, but more often we look for happiness in the wrong places, mistaking pleasure for happiness. Reminiscing her childhood she takes us on a journey as a young Afghan girl in a place that was once majestic, adventurous, and fashion forward. Afghanistan, a country that is now labeled as one of the worst places on earth. Her story is heartwarming, thrilling and inspirational.