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A very short Critique of the film “The Kite Runner”


The Old Spirit:
A very short Critique of the film “The Kite Runner” (Bollywoodian Archetypes in action)

A typical Bollywood masala film by the German director Marc Forster:

It is a charming film which progressively looses its spell after the departure of Hassan (one of the most interesting characters to have appeared in any of the modern novel)
On the other hand, it has lovely haunting music by Alberto Iglesias which is a treat to anyone’s ears. Also one must not forget that Persian music itself has a haunting character to it and since the film is also based in the same belt the music does justice to it.
But what was disappointing about the film was its extensive use of the masala element. Was there any need to make Hassan Amir ‘s illegitimate half brother as a motivation for him to go to Afghanistan and bring back Hassan’s son? And then, to turn Amir into a hero who fights the Taliban with an over the wall escape to Pakistan.
Imagine; All he had to do was get over the wall and lo! He is on his way to Pakistan.

What's good about the film is the internationalization of our Bollywood archetypical film formulas: Two brothers (like lost in Kumbh mela archetype) discovering their identity and then going to rescue his nephew from the jaws of the villains has always worked in our films; It is a happy feeling to know that the international audience is also enjoying what we have savored for all these years.
And then the nauch of Basanti in Sholay where the villain Gabbar aka Aseef in this case makes Sohrab the son of Hassan dance to the infectious tunes of classical music to the point where the ghungroo breaks and shatters. And as the scene unfolds we see Sohrab who magically materializes a Made in America slingshot to blind Aseef by the very same broken ghungroo (the scattering not shown directly on the screen but without this convoluted contraption the plot would not have moved forward).
Another Bollywood angle is the Muqadder Ka Sikander angle where the villain turns out to be his childhood nemesis Aseef who abducts Sohrab so that he could vent his revenge on Amir. This is followed by a Rustom Sohrab fight.
We also encounter the Insaaf ka Tarazu formula where the protagonist and her sister are raped by the same villain. In the case of the kite runner the father and the son are sexually assaulted by the same bad man.

Coming to the essence, apart from the Bollywood angle we never come to know what it means to be an Afghan either from Amir’s father whose ideological conundrum are never spilled out, the probable reason being that the author himself does not know what being an Afghan means. Nevertheless, what comes out of the novel and the subsequent film is a bastardized version of projected American self interest. Contrary to facts, the cinema theatres of Kabul are shown screening not Persian or Hindi films but typical American hits (The Magnificent Seven) to houseful audience. What we see is a complete rewriting of Afghan history from the point of view of the American imperial interest.

To conclude:
The film avoids the melodramatic effects the book sought to archive and in some sense improves upon by avoiding the typical TV-Soap Opera style of pathos which has become Khaled's trade mark.
In the book, the element of Pathos sinks into the pathetic and almost lingers on the pathological thus hinting at the authorial surplus, where Khaled seems to almost enjoy and indulge in a Freudian sense, his forbidden ‘it‘. So there is a perverse side to his writing which the Director avoids for example: The explicit rape of Hassan, an esp. Where Khaled forces Soharab to almost commit suicide by Amir's rhetorical excess; the film avoids and improves over Khaled thereof.
There are many scenes where the director differs from Khaled, but still sticks to the essentials.
Overall, It is one of those typical films you often end up enjoying.

The Old Spirit:
Hi Everybody
You must have noticed that I have added an conclusion which hints at the problematic inherent in the novel and the author itself. The "Archetypes" are to be understood in purely Jungian terms, as well as atomic clusters of "Rasa"
A comparison  with Iranian Art house cinema to follow next.

A lot of information heard about this film. Responses the best. I think, I will find time to watch film.


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