Thursday, October 04, 2007

Of strange reality and the Nobel

From the NYT, news that The Kite Runner is being delayed to protect the child actors in the movie version of Khaled Hosseini’s book.

The studio distributing “The Kite Runner” a tale of childhood betrayal, sexual predation and ethnic tension in Afghanistan, is delaying the film’s release to get its three schoolboy stars out of Kabul — perhaps permanently — in response to fears that they could be attacked for their enactment of a culturally inflammatory rape scene.

This is so strange…I really don’t know what to make of it. (Is there anything to make of it?) I read about this a few days back but it really seems to have blown up since. I think more than anything it just offers more proof of how unstable Afghanistan has become.

What struck me most reading the article was this:
Mr. Forster emphasized that casting Afghan boys did not seem risky at the time; local filmmakers even encouraged him, he said: “You really felt it was safe there, a democratic process was happening, and stability, and a new beginning.”

A couple of years back my father had visited Kabul. I still have (for some reason) the pictures from his trip I had downloaded onto my computer. I remember him saying something about the bootlegged Bollywood movies that were available everywhere, about how they wanted to rebuild the country, to start promoting tourism…
This last trip to Delhi, while browsing the bookshelves I came across a book he had gotten back from Kabul. A travel guide to Afghanistan, circa 1971. It almost broke my heart just going through the faded pages of that book. No country deserves this.

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In other news, the Nobel prizes will start being announced next week. As usual, confusion reigns over the question of who might win for literature. Odds are here. I will be terribly happy if Adonis wins, but I would think the odds might be slightly slim… (perhaps the fact that Pamuk won last year, makes them worse?). Not surprisingly, however, he is one of the strong contenders amongst those in some know. I’ve wanted to read Amos Oz for a while now - actually, I haven’t read many Israeli authors and Oz, Grossman (who, by the way, delivered this years PEN Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture) and Yehoshua are all on the immediate reading list.
Oh, and I am reading Llosa right now and dear lord, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is one of the funniest books I have read in just the longest, longest while. Truly excellent.

8 comments:

Cheshire Cat said...

Thanks for the link to the odds. A couple of writers there who are new to me and seem interesting - Jean Marie Gustav le Clezio, Wily Kyrklund. I hope either Les Murray or Tomas Transtromer wins - visionary poets both.

Gooner days here again said...

an overhyped book is being made into an academy award baiting film by greedy film producers looking to cash in on the book's success - what's not to make of it - all the while they squeal about wanting to understand Afghan culture and they get the basics wrong - two boys' lives are on the line while Marc Forster cosies up to uncle Oscar. Go and read Kim Masters take on the whole thing on Slate. I could provide the link but am feeling too lazy to give it. Yea and do read Oz - especially To Know a Woman.

Szerelem said...

cat: Sigh, I honestly wish I read more poetry. I don't always find it easy going. Btw, the prize will be announced on the 11th.

gooner: Read the Slate piece and I do agree. I wish they'd approached the whole thing with a bit more sense....( shouldn't Hosseini have known better?). Though I agree with you about it being a terribly overhyped and overrated book.

gooner days here again said...

hey szerlem, seeing you are a cinephile and a bibliophile, did you see The Blue Umbrella? Did you like it? I want to tell Bhardwaj to make RK Narayan's The Financial Advisor into a movie - he's the only Bollywood filmmaker out there who knows the meaning of the word subtle and has the talent to successfully translate literary source material into good cinema. More power to him!

Szerelem said...

Gooner: Sigh, unfortunately I haven't. I really wanted to as it was on in Delhi while I was there but I just didn't get the time. I have really enjoyed all of his other movies though and have heard only wonderful things about Blue Umbrella. So hopefully shall get to see it soon....

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Revealed said...

I dunno why I haven't been dropping by of late. Stupid, stupid. Blame it on work. Sigh. I so need a new set of books to read and these are perrrrfect.

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