British novelist Salman Rushdie has dismissed support of a 100-strong rally to protest against a proposed film set on their street as “philistine, sanctimonious, and disgraceful”.
The Bengali film protesters in east London, who oppose the big screen adaptation of Monica Ali’s novel Brick Lane, have received high-profile endorsement from feminist icon Germaine Greer, who slammed Ali for failing to realise some residents might have found her plot outlandish.
However, Rushdie is furious at Greer’s comments, retorting in British newspaper The Guardian, “At the height of the assault against my novel The Satanic Verses, Germaine Greer stated: ‘I refuse to sign petitions for that book of his, which was about his own troubles.’ She went on to describe me as ‘a megalomaniac, an Englishman with dark skin.’ Now it’s Monica Ali’s turn to be deracinated.” The protesters’ campaign has led to the cancellation of plans to shoot scenes for the movie in the neighbourhood. Angry locals feel that it mocks and stereotypes Sylhetis, who form 95 per cent of Brick Lane’s Bangladeshi community, and they have labelled it “ignorant and unsophisticated”.
A film is about a Bangladeshi girl Nazneen who comes to the UK in an arranged marriage and later cheats on her husband with a radical young Muslim. Indian actor director Satish Kaushik plays one of the lead roles in the film.