I can’t believe it. I’m fuming right now. How could they? How frickin’ could they? They’ve squandered their legacy for an eternity now. They made MIDDLE EASTERN, ARABIC ALADDIN into some INDIAN BASTARD.
Okay so lemme just calm down a little and explain what got me so upset.
I was so excited when I stepped into the cinema. Finally I was going to get to see my Middle Eastern hero, Alladin, return to the big screen. Oh how I had been waiting, ever since I was a little, Aladdin has been a big part of my identity – my identity as a Middle Eastern, Arab and Muslim girl living in the xenophobic, racist, islamophobic West. I probably watched Aladdin a thousand times during my childhood and every time I watched it, I felt reaffirmed in my identity as a strong Jasmine-like kween, ready to kick the butts of bratty white kids left right and centre. So yeah, as you can imagine I was pretty freakin’ excited to be going to see the live action remake. In fact, it made me more excited than my grandmother’s hummus – and that’s saying something.
But what I was met with was frankly horrific. The film didn’t feel like it was set in the Middle East at all, in fact, it felt like it was set somewhere far far away from the beautiful, peaceful region that’s always in my heart – the film seemed to be set in the sh*thole called India. I swear to you, if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re gonna be shocked. You’re gonna be outraged. All the scenes seem to be doused in some terrible Bollywood (you know those silly indian dance movies) liquid and I almost had to hold my nose because I could swear I could feel a whiff of curry everytime Jasmine spoke. Because YES, the girl who plays Jasmine ISN’T EVEN ARAB – SHE’S LIKE INDIAN. And the guy who plays Alladin looks like an Italian or something. Where. Is. My. Representation? Where is the beautiful ARAB Jasmine we saw in the animated version. Where are the scenes without Bollywood-esque dancing and flower petals falling everywhere. I want to see camel shit, I want to see the real grittiness of the Middle East. To take the beautiful Aladdin story and set it in the dunghill country of India, where girls are raped every time they dare step outside and where men harass women asking for “bobs n vagene”. It’s a disgrace and something must be done.
I’ve had enough of Hollywood #currywashing movies. If you agree with me, tweet your concerns under the hashtag #currywashing and you can be a part of creating the change that us Middle Easterners DESERVE!