The White Tiger director Ramin Bahrani was subjected to racist comments from a bystander in Atlanta, US. The Oscar nominated director faced racist comments while conducting a Zoom interview with director Ava DuVernay and other BAFTA and Academy members, as he was asked to ‘go back to his own country’ by a bystander.
Speaking about the same to People magazine, Iranian-American director Bahrani said, “I was in Atlanta on location in a residential neighbourhood directing a TV pilot for Apple. We had worked late that day, so I had to do my Zoom interview with Ava on my phone while we were still in the street. During the interview, I noticed a car parked behind me. When the driver saw me and my colleague (who is South Asian) he said, ‘You all think you run the world. You all don’t run s—.’ His friend told him to calm down and leave it alone. As the driver pulled away, he shouted, ‘Go back to your own country!’ ”
While Ava, who was on call, couldn’t hear the person’s exact words, she insisted that Ramin should open up about his experience so that more people are made aware of the racism that minorities face everyday in the US.
“Ramin was very calm. Very matter of fact. Which saddened me. It was as if he was used to that type of treatment. Being the ultimate professional, he suggested we proceed with the interview. But I asked if we could take a moment to discuss it because normalizing that kind of hideous behavior is what people like the offender expects. And Ramin deserved a moment to be heard and to share and not have it glossed over,” DuVernay told People.
The White Tiger star and executive producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas also weighed in on the matter and said that Hollywood has a great responsibility in righting these wrongs. The global icon said, “Who belongs here, and who doesn’t? Isn’t America a melting pot of all people from all backgrounds? This country was built on the back of immigrants in search of the American dream, a life of freedom, opportunity, and a safe place not only for themselves but for their families.”
“Content by Hollywood is embraced by the world, but the world is not always embraced by Hollywood. Hollywood and pop culture, in general, have a massive responsibility in this fight for racial equality and representation in global entertainment,” Chopra Jonas concluded.
The White Tiger’s screenplay has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.