Brick Lane 'Fury' Over East End Film Plans
People living and working in the Brick Lane area of east London are unhappy at plans to film an adaptation of Monica Ali's book, set in the area. They claim the book, called "Brick Lane," is "insulting" towards the predominately Bangladeshi community of Brick Lane in London's Shoreditch.
The book is the story of a Bangladeshi woman sent to London for an arranged marriage. It is being adapted for the screen by Ruby Films. Brick Lane was author Monica Ali's debut novel. It was shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize.
Chairman of the Brick Lane Business Association, Mahmoud Roug, said the community hoped to prevent filming. He said public meetings had been held and any action that might be taken would depend on what the community wanted.
Mahmoud Roug went on to say: "The book is a good work of literature, but is insulting to the community," said Mr Roug. "Monica Ali does not belong to the community. She has written a book that is just guesswork. People are disgusted about the film, and while the authorities have given permission for it to be filmed here, it does not mean they have permission from the community."
"We will do what the community wants us to do. We are not going to leave it as it is.
They have no right to do it in Brick Lane."
Ruby Films said in a statement,: "Throughout the production process of Brick Lane we have maintained constant contact with members of the local community, some of whom are involved in the film as both consultants and crew. When there is a finished product to watch, we will be happy to open a dialogue with anybody who has concerns regarding the film that they have seen."
Tower Hamlets, the local council, said it would be happy to listen to people's concerns about the film, but added that it had little control over filming on non-council property.
"Generally speaking, we try to encourage filming as its both generates income and helps to put the borough on the map," the council said.
In 2003, the year Brick Lane was nominated for the prestigious Booker prize, Bangladeshi community leaders from The Greater Sylhet Development and Welfare Council - which represents Bangladeshis in the UK - called the book a "despicable insult".
Monica Ali's publisher Random House, said at the time the company did not believe the book's views were offensive.