Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Producer eyes better TV, film roles for Muslims

Producer eyes better TV, film roles for Muslims
By Omar Sacirbey, Globe Correspondent | June 26, 2007

When Labid Aziz of Natick thinks about "Never Mind Nirvana," he sees a
missed opportunity. A 2004 pilot for an NBC sitcom, it was centered on
the travails of an Indian-American doctor, his pregnant white
girlfriend, and his traditional parents, who move in. It was written
by Indian-American novelist Ajay Sahgal, directed by "Friends" star
David Schwimmer, and starred Kal Penn of "Harold and Kumar go to White
Castle." But the show didn't make NBC's final cut, losing out that
year to "The Office" and "Joey."

South Asians like Aziz, 32, a Bangladeshi-American Muslim and aspiring
producer, saw in "Nirvana" a wellspring of roles that didn't involve
playing a terrorist or convenience store clerk while portraying the
South Asian community, or a slice of it, in a way that might inspire
empathy rather than incite resentment. On this fall's schedule, Aziz
has a second opportunity: The CW network is unveiling a new sitcom
called "Aliens in America" about a Muslim exchange student from


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