“The Kite Runner” is a novel written by Khaled Hosseini and a film directed by Marc Forster. The book is claimed to be the first Afghan novel written in English and was published in 40 countries. Personally, I have both read the novel and seen the movie. Naturally, I noticed some contrasts between the two. One of the first differences I noticed between the film and the book is that Hassan, the main character’s best friend, doesn’t have a cleft lip in the film. In the book, the cleft lip is mentioned several times. In fact, the first time Hassan is introduced, he is called “the harelipped kite runner”. On the other hand, the harelip in the book may have been to emphasize the ethnic difference between Hassan, who is Hazara, and the other ethnicity, which was Pashtun.
The scene when Assef rapes Hassan is also particularly different. In the novel, the rape scene is described in detail. We are told “Assef knelt behind Hassan, put his hands on Hassan’s hips and lifted his bare buttocks” etc. In the movie, we only see Hassan getting shoved down and his pants pulled down. Thence, the scene cuts away. Anyhow, the limitations of this scene are understandable since it would be too graphic to show much else.
Picture of Amir and Hassan, retrieved from therunkiter.wordpress.com
At the end of the book, as Baba and Amir flee from Kabul, Amir is said to be 18 years old, whereas in the movie, he is still depicted by a much younger actor. When they finally arrive in Peshawar, they are kept in the basement of a house in destitute conditions, full of people, rats and feces. Only a week later, Amir and Baba enter a gasoline truck to move on. In the movie however, the director completely omits the week they spend waiting, and they move from storage truck to gasoline truck and continue their way.
Overall, the movie displays the main entities of The Kite Runner book. However, some significant details were left out which may alter the views of the characters by one who has not read the book. Honestly, I recommend reading the book before watching the film.