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The American senate, in order to improve it's fast declining global image, asks comedian Albert Brooks to write a 500 page document about what makes Muslims laugh in India and Pakistan. Bidding adieu to his wife and young daughter,and accompanied by two government bureaucrats, Albert opens up an office in New Delhi, hires a pretty Secretary, Maya, and goes around asking people at random as to what makes them laugh. He finds that people generally look at him suspiciously and refuse to answer any questions. He then decides to go public and stage a comedy show, the suggested place for the publicity is old Delhi. Accordingly the four re-locate, book a school auditorium to seat about 400 people, go around the city distributing leaflets, inviting the general public to attend the show. They get a houseful response, however, Albert's comedy act fails to impress. He then decides to try his hand in Pakistan, only to be told that he cannot get a visa for another 14 days. He decides to enter ... Written by
Sony Pictures Classics was originally going to distribute the film in the USA but chose not to, citing controversy over the film's title, which they wanted to change. Warner Independent Pictures then picked up the film for US distribution. See more »
The Indian flag shown in the Indian government office is upside down. The correct order of the flag is saffron at the top and green at the bottom. See more »
I liked the movie quite a lot. Being from India, and living in a US for a little while, I deal with cultural differences very often in my own life. While differences in food, garments, language and architecture are easy to feel, they are the tip of a cultural iceberg. And that is what this movie conveys very well. We cannot hope to understand other cultures unless we recognize their deeper aspects and humour is one such. In the movie, Brooks steals into Pakistan to meet the aspiring comedians. But the funny question is, did they laugh with him, or his Pakistani translator?
A couple of things could have been better treated. An Iranian boyfriend for an Indian girl is not as normal as shown. Nor, is the country devoid of comedy shows. Indian TV and films have a special place of honour for comedians. Some of the best on-the-face humour is in Pakistani plays on TV. But I grant that as a literary license to Brooks. After all, the story is not about India or Pakistan, or even its comedians. The story is about American and how much (little) its people understand other cultures. And, its is a very understand story, do not mistake it to be funny or a laugh riot.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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