Without getting too political, the brutality of what has taken place there does come across. And kudos to Zekiria Ebrahami and Khalid Abdolla, who shine as the old and young (respectively) Amir Jan, the son of a wealthy Afganistan businessman.
Much of the film is told from the perspective of the late 70s, before any major conflicts. The Afghanistan capital Kabul is the setting, and childhood friends Amir and Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada) spend much of their time flying kites. When a jealous neighborhood bully named Asset attacks Hassan, that drastically changes the relationship between the childhood friends.
Eventually, Amir’s father decides to emigrate to the States. Amir Jan finishes college, marries and publishes a book. Then one day, a phone call leads him back to his hometown to rectify the friendship that he had betrayed many years back.
It might be too late to restore what is gone, but like his uncle says, ‘There is a way to be good again.’ To say anymore about the plot would be saying too much. But frankly, the film is a joy to watch.
The cast of “The Kite Runner” talk to THINK.
THINK: How big was your involvement in the filming of your novel. Did you have much input?
KHALED HOSSEINI: I promised Marc that I’d be as unobtrusive as possible. That I would yield to him, because I was already emotionally into the writing of my second novel by the time they began making the film. But Marc and I developed a good relationship. He would consult with me on various issues like minute details about clothing, or language issues.
He and I looked at lots of pictures from around the world and decided that western China would be a good location because there is such a resemblance to Kabul. So as a sideline advisor, I gave suggestions about the script, but ultimately the script is David Benioff’s creation. So I was happy to yield, but Marc involved me in the filmmaking and it kind of became a collaborative process.
THINK: What happened to the boys and the rumour of them being in danger?
MARC FORSTER: Just to clarify there was never a threat against the boys. It was a precaution from the studio, which we applaud them for. They basically sent an expert to Afghanistan as the situation deteriorated to see what the situation really was. He said it’s much safer if we take the boys out during the release of the movie.
They pushed the release for six weeks to let them finish school and they left the country and are in Dubai now. At the time when we cast the movie, Afghanistan was a different place. It felt very safe. There was the spirit that there might be hope for steady democracy, stability and a future. Basically, the situation in the last six months deteriorated and they did get concerned.
THINK: Was learning Dari for the film difficult?
KHALID ABDALIA: It was not easy! I was having four, five hours of Dari lessons every day and I did not expect to learn Dari in such a short time as I managed to. It was easier than it sounds if only because Dari has a very simple grammar like English. You don’t have genders and such, which can be very confusing and also inhibiting.
And then it’s a little bit like going from Spanish to Italian, which obviously are very different, but if one of these languages had a simple grammar you’d come with pretty much 50% of the vocabulary. So once you are in with the grammar you can blossom, if you totally banish your English and force yourself to speak.