Upstage Borat? You must be joking after Kazakh star gets lost

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The Independent Online

The idea was simple. Jantik, a Kazakh TV presenter, would arrive to upstage Sacha Baron Cohen at the London premiere of the film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan by pretending to be his brother.

But as Baron Cohen sashayed down the red carpet in character yesterday evening, singing the Kazakh national anthem, Jantik was lost somewhere in London.

The Kazakh, dressed in traditional costume, had flown over for the premiere intending to present horsemeat sausages to the Borat star in an attempt to put him on the spot over exploiting the Kazakh cultural identity. He finally arrived after Baron Cohen had spent half an hour chatting to the crowd but was hustled away from the red carpet. He insisted he would wait for Baron Cohen all night if he had to, to tell him he "loves him and invites him like a brother back to Kazakhstan because his mother was missing him". Along with Jantik were two other flamboyantly dressed Kazakhs purporting to be his mother and his younger brother.

The stunt was the culmination of a long debate in Kazakhstan over Baron Cohen's depiction of Borat as a bigoted, anti-Semitic, sexist homophobe.

Baron Cohen, who appeared in a yellow, fake-leather jacket, addressed the large crowds with a microphone with the greeting: "Good evening, gentlemans and prostitutes. I like you and I like sex. It's nice. After this I stay in a hotel in King's Cross, you must come and join me. We will all drink, wrestle with no clothes on and shoot dogs from the window."

He was surrounded by a bevy of women and Kazakh "peasants" carrying fruit in baskets.

Over the past year, Baron Cohen's act has offended Kazakh government ministers and apparently drawn criticism from the president.

But Erlan Idrissov, the Kazakhstan ambassador to Britain, admitted to finding some humour in the film.

When asked about Jantik, Baron Cohen looked glassy-eyed. "I have not met him," he said.

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