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.
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.