Abdul Salam Maftoon said the resemblance to Justin Trudeau has boosted his chances of winning the music contest Afghan Star. Photograph: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty
Wedding singer Abdul Salam Maftoon was called the Canadian prime minister’s ‘lost twin’ after appearing on Afghan Star
An Afghan talent show contestant’s striking resemblance to Justin Trudeau has turned him into an unlikely celebrity in the war-torn country.
Abdul Salam Maftoon, a wedding singer from a village in the remote and impoverished northeastern province of Badakhshan, had never even heard of his more famous doppelganger until a judge on the popular television music contest Afghan Star pointed out the uncanny likeness.
Slightly built with a long face and dark brown hair and eyes, Maftoon, 29, hopes the flattering comparison to the politician widely rated as one of the sexiest leaders in the world will bring him more votes on Afghanistan’s version of American Idol.
“People have forgotten my name and now they just call me ‘Justin Trudeau’,” Maftoon told AFP. “I didn’t know anything about Justin Trudeau until I saw the photos on social media.
“The resemblance has boosted my chances of winning the competition by 50%.”
A video of an Afghan Star panel discussion about their physical similarities has been viewed tens of thousands of times. Maftoon has been called “Trudeau’s lost twin” by the Facebook user Neila Abdulzadah and another one likened the story to a Bollywood film, where lost twin bothers find each other after being separated at birth.
The performer is among eight contestants to make it through to the next elimination round of Afghan Star on Thursday.
Until now Maftoon has relied on singing and playing instruments at wedding and birthday parties to support his wife and four children. But he is confident that his newfound fame will boost demand for his entertainment services.
While Maftoon has little chance of going to Canada anytime soon, he holds hopes of one day meeting his Canadian double.
“I want to meet him if he wants to because he is a global personality and I am a poor man from a remote part of Afghanistan,” he said.