The first Borat film (2006) was banned in Kazakhstan. Now, they're changing their tune. One of the Borat catchphrases is being embraced by its tourism board following the release of the sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. In a series of ads, Kazakh Tourism has adopted the slogan "very nice!"
According to The New York Times, the idea to embrace the slogan came from Dennis Keen, a former Los Angeles resident who now lives in Kazakhstan with a travel show airing on a state TV channel, and Yermek Utemissov, who helps foreign film companies shoot projects in the country.
Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of the Kazakhstan tourism board, told the Times, "In COVID times, when tourism spending is on hold, it was good to see the country mentioned in the media. Not in the nicest way, but it's good to be out there. We would love to work with Cohen, or maybe even have him film here."
In light of this new development, Cohen said in a statement, "This is a comedy, and the Kazakhstan in the film has nothing to do with the real country. I chose Kazakhstan because it was a place that almost nobody in the U.S. knew anything about, which allowed us to create a wild, comedic, fake world. The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat's version."
Kazakhstan? Very nice!
It's a place you may have heard of, that's nicer than you ever imagined. Where you can find endless steppe, sand, and epic mountain peaks just a short drive from a modern metropolis. Where garlicky Kazakh horse sausage meets spicy Uighur noodles. Where shopping malls have sandy beaches and glass spheres dot the horizon. Where people are so friendly, you might just end up at a Kazakh toi (a traditional wedding) after a few salams (hello!). How can you describe a place this surprising in just two words? As a wise man one said, "Very nice!"
screengrab via Kazakh Tourism/YouTube