Saturday, October 01, 2005

Muslim Comedy Sparks Controversy

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World’ is the title of a film by Albert Brooks which no big studio wants to touch.
The studios are scared of the reprisals in the Muslim world, although Mr Brooks says the film does not poke fun at the Muslim world. Instead, it pokes fun at American ignorance of the Muslim world. Mr Brooks told an American magazine that Sony Studios, for which he made the film, got so worried at the comedy’s title that it decided not to release the movie. That forced Mr Brooks to look for a new distributor. In the movie, Brooks plays a comedian sent by the State Department to India and Pakistan with a couple of minders to find out what makes Muslims laugh so that everyone can get along better in the post-9/11 world. He says he got the idea before President George W. Bush appointed Karen Hughes to be undersecretary of state for public diplomacy charged with countering the negative US image among Muslims. Sony said doubts about the title were only part of much larger problems. Sources close to the company said executives did not find the movie funny and passed on it. Sony said in a statement, “To those looking for truth in this manufactured controversy, here it is: We made our decision to pass on Brooks’ movie the same way we did to accept Fahrenheit 9/ll — on the merits, with neither fear nor favour.” Brooks says most of the jokes in the movie are aimed at Americans, and there are no religious references at all. The film will now be distributed by Warner Independent in January.