Prince Charles dodges ‘Brick Lane’

Film pulled from royal gala screening

Sarah Gavron’s “Brick Lane” has been pulled as the Royal Film Performance, to be attended Oct. 29 by Prince Charles, due to what officials are calling a scheduling conflict.

However, insiders say there were fears that the Royal Film Performance would be the target for vocal Bangladeshi groups who demonstrated when the film was shooting in the Tower Hamlets area of London last summer.

Pic is based on Monica Ali’s novel about an Asian woman’s struggles after she arrives in London for an arranged marriage.

Brick Lane community groups attacked the book on its publication in 2003, claiming that it portrayed Bangladeshis living in the area as backward, uneducated and unsophisticated.

“‘Brick Lane’ is not going ahead because the dates don’t fit,” said David Murrell, president of the Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund, which helps organize the charity screening. “Clarence House (Prince Charles’ office) is committed to a Royal Film Performance in the first quarter of next year, and there should be another gala attended by the queen in November, making it two in 2008.”

“The cancellation of the Royal Film Performance is a real shame. The cast and crew of the film were excited at the recognition for their work and are now understandably disappointed,” said Gavron. “The clear message from audiences once they have seen the film is that it is absolutely not disrespectful or controversial in any way. None of those elements cited by the minority of protestors during the production period appear in the film.”

“Brick Lane” is now set to preem Oct. 26 as a late addition to the London Film Festival, it was announced Monday.

Distributor Optimum Releasing will release “Brick Lane” Nov. 17 in the U.K.

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