While leaders in Kazakhstan were initially upset at the spoof movie, 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan', it seems the exposure has helped the tourism industry in the country.
In 2006 when the satirical film was released, there was an uproar. While the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not ban the movie outright, they did request the film's distributors not to release it in their country.
British comedian of Jewish origin Sacha Baron Cohen released the "mockumentary" and also plays the lead.
The story revolves around a fictitious Kazakh television star, Borat Sagdiyev, who travels to the U.S. in an attempt to improve the image of his home country abroad. He tells people that he is making a documentary on behalf of the imaginary Kazakh Ministry of Information. Many people interviewed in the movie believed he was the real deal.
And now reports are stating that despite the initial furore, Kazakhstan has finally admitted that the Borat spoof has done good for their country.
Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister, Erzhan Kazykhanov was quoted as saying: “With the release of the film, the number of visas issued by Kazakhstan has grown tenfold.”
He added: “I’m grateful to Borat for his help to attract tourists to Kazakhstan.”
Kazykhanov recalled the recent unintentional gaffe during the shooting championship in Kuwait. Digital Journal reported on the incident, where organisers in Kuwait had accidentally downloaded Borat's version of the Kazakhstan national anthem and played it in the medal ceremony.
The words “Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region” instead of the Kazakh anthem's original “sky of golden sun” were heard with some consternation by the medal winners.
The organisers later apologised and reran the ceremony, with the correct national anthem.
"Borat" will be pleased to hear that his mockumentary has finally found the "proper respect" in his eccentric hero's country.