The Leonardo DiCaprio Haircut That Had the Taliban in a Rage

Today I found out about the Leonardo DiCaprio haircut that had the Taliban in a rage.

Titanic was released in December of 1997.  Many Hollywood insiders and naysayers predicted doom for the film.  After all, it had cost a record $200 million to produce;  the story had been told on film more than once; everyone already knew the ending; and the film really had no “big stars” to draw in the crowds. (Originally the lead role was to go to Mathew McConaughey to provide the “star power”, but director James Cameron and Kate Winslet both pushed for DiCaprio to get the role.)

After making a good, but not incredible, $28 million in its opening weekend, momentum (and great word of mouth) quickly set in. Titanic soon set a “never to be broken” highest grossing film record (that was in fact soon to be broken by Avatar).  It was the number one film at the box office an unbelievable 15 weeks in a row.  Titanic eventually grossed a record $600 million in the United States alone in its first run.  It became the first movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide and after the recent 3D release is up to $2.185 billion, making it just the second film over $2 billion with Avatar (though, when adjusting for inflation and ticket prices of the day films were released, Titanic is only considered the 5th highest grossing film of all time).

It wasn’t just a hit in the Western world though, something about Titanic tugged at the heartstrings of Afghan boys in a way no other American love story ever had.  Previous to this, most Hollywood movies that made it big in Afghanistan were almost exclusively action movies, with Rambo III probably holding the title for most popular American movie in Afghanistan, being “dedicated to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan”.

Despite the Taliban’s strict ban on American cinema, VHS copies of Titanic flooded Kabul’s black markets.

Titanic-mania swept the country and had a resurgence after the Taliban were removed.  Before the crackdown (and after the government was overthrown), posters of the film could be seen hanging on countless Afghan walls.  Even extra-large vegetables, from tomatoes to cucumbers, started to be referred to as “Titanic Vegetables”.  There was also “Titanic Mosquito Killer”, “Titanic Body Spray”, “Titanic Toothpaste”, “Titanic Sandals”, “Titanic Wedding Cakes”… you get the idea.

One fabric seller in Kabul, Ali Ahmad, states, “Still everyone plays Titanic.  Because the story is good. It’s a real story. That’s why people still like it. And the love parts — that’s what we like.”

But alarm bells didn’t start going off for the country’s fundamentalist government until teenage boys started emerging from downtown barbershops sporting DiCaprio-style “Titanic haircuts”.  This incited the rage of the Taliban and soon the police started cracking down.

Numerous teens and at least 30 barbers were arrested because of the DiCaprio cut, others were simply beaten and forced to shave their heads.  Because of this, many Afghan boys sporting the new cut took to wearing hats, caps, or turbans to hide their manes when they were in public.  Older young men (yep, I just wrote that) actually grew beards to try to blend in better while sporting their “Titanic” cuts.

Brave barber Aminullah Nazif, who never actually saw the film, was not to be dissuaded though and started giving the Titanic cut in secret, with the first customer he had who requested it showing him a Leo DiCaprio postcard and asking to be given the “Titanic” cut.  Nazif became a popular “underground barber” among Titanic-loving male teenage customers, with many of his customers arranging to meet at his shop late at night to get their Titanic cuts.

As one 16 year old, Nawid Mirkhail, who got the Titanic cut, but then was forced to have it shaved off said,  “I like the hairstyle of the film star… He was a handsome boy. And he looked very handsome with that haircut.”

While every movie star is probably at some point flattered by imitations of himself (or herself), DiCaprio may well be the only movie star in history whose followers risked a physical beating and potential arrest for imitating his hair style.

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  • Well, you know what they say; don’t put jelly beans up your nose…

  • “dedicated to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan”.

    Wasn’t this the closing text in the James Bond movie starring Timothy Dalton?

  • “Numerous teens and at least 30 barbers were arrested because of the DiCaprio cut, others were simply beaten and forced to shave their heads”
    Well let mooslem justice prevail…there must be a left wing Jew out there who defends this.

    • First of, jack ass, if you knew anything about jews, you would know they have never been a supporter of the taliban, or any muslim fundamentalist government. If you were intelligent enough to pay attention in school, you would know that muslims and jews happen to be natural enemies. Leave your racism at the door sir, there is no room for it in the world. And before you comment, the reason I call this racist is because you carelessly through the word “jew” around. If you had left it as “left wing” and kept it a strictly political statement, your comment would have been left unmolested, but your ignorance has, unfortunately, pervaded us all, and I am now forced to respond in an attempt to educate your ass.

      • *off, to correct my own spelling and grammar, ignorance has a tendency to anger me rather quickly, especially when that ignorance is racism, which society really needs to get rid of, and I just pressed post before proof reading.

        • Jew is spelled with a capital “J.” as a Christian I understood exactly what he said and if you left wing JEWINESS wasn’t so pathetic you would too. You see, the RIGHT believes in saving and protecting Israel from the damn Jihadists. My God is their God. BUt the dumbass left-wing Jews in this country vote for dumbasses like YOUR president, you did vote for the Kenyan didn’t you? The KENYAN hates Israel, was raised a Muslim and LOVES ISLAM. w go and vote us in more dumbass libtards who want to destroy the US – PUTZ. (And I could give a good fat sh*t if you call me racist or a *phobe because you LIBTARDS have watered down the words til they are meaningless)

  • This actually reminds me of kids getting kicked out of school, guys not being hired for (or fired from) jobs ,or being beat up by greasers and law enforcement officers and other upstanding citizens for daring to have long hair ala the Beatles in the 60’s. Don’t forget that upstanding citizen, Mitt Romney, instigated a forced haircut of a fellow student by a band of fraternity thugs because the kids hair length was too long for his liking.

  • This story is a fabrication – If you don’t allow this comment you are a slave to israel

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Ben Stone: Care to provide evidence to back up your claim? A simple Google search can be used to backup the article to your heart’s content, no need to be a “slave to Israel”. 😉

    • I bet Ben Stone isn’t even his real name.

  • Daven Hiskey Provide evidence that this story is true. You put a link up here with valid sources.

  • Did they say why the Taliban supposedly hated this hair cut? What was their reasoning?

  • HAHA… This is so bloody random. To be honest, anything we can do to get under their skin is good by me 🙂

  • They always do that, blame it to israel, american, jews, and pigs,.all moslem i knew has that mindsets. so try to live whit that.

  • Some sarcastic fellow

    “Titanic soon set a “never to be broken” highest grossing film record (that was in fact soon to be broken by Avatar).”

    Yeah I guess 12 years is pretty soon lol…

  • Clearly speaking, I have been to Afghanistan and I haven’t watched any boy with such a hair cut. the issue is shown here in such a way that like the whole country is at massacre by this hair cut.

    And BTW, if you get time, well you please like to write about how the NATO forces cruely kills and consider suspects every man with a bear? If you don’t then it would be a hypocrisy

  • The Taliban would lose their shit if the kids started rocking mohawks!

  • OMG ! This story is soooo funny…the line —
    “Nazif became a popular “underground barber” among Titanic-loving male teenage customers, with many of his customers arranging to meet at his shop late at night to get their Titanic cuts.”– literally had me laughing rolling on the floor..
    but for the life of me i couldn’t imagine – what possibly could the talibans have against this haircut??

  • The “Titanic” was a serious offense in the eyes of the Taliban, who were staunchly anti-Western Islamic militants who ruled this nation and they severely punished for any act that went against their control or beliefs.

  • PSA to American women: want a man who likes chick flicks? Try Afghanistan. (I personally would never have thought it.)