Kumar comes to Hollywood

SILICON VALLEY, AUG. 1. A new comedy about two young Asian-American men, including an Indian-American, that has opened nationwide is being heralded as a cultural breakthrough in the history of ethnic representations in mainstream Hollywood. The film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, marks the first time a major studio is releasing a movie with two Asian-American males, an Indian-American and a Korean-American, in the lead.

It is a story of two likeable underdogs with a late-night hamburger craving for White Castle hamburgers who wouldn't take ``no'' for an answer. They do not let lack of cash, racial stereotypes, Keystone cops, a bevy of beautiful women or the Asian-American Club at Princeton stop them.

The movie is directed by Danny Leiner, who also guided Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott 2000's Dude, Where's My Car? It has been released in some 2,100 theatres across North America.

Several Asian film and cultural groups held a special screening of the movie in San Francisco this week and are urging thousands of their members around the state to see the film this weekend to bolster box office numbers.

They say the film is the first mainstream Hollywood release to feature two Asian-Americans in leading roles that have nothing to do with their ethnicity or with martial arts or stereotypes that they say often mar Asian-American characters in mainstream movies.

The hype around the film is big, especially among the Asian Community. Last week, the film's two lead actors, Kal Penn and John Cho, sent out a widely distributed e-mail appealing to Asian-Americans to mobilise and see the film on its opening weekend.


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