Tuesday, July 3, 2018
The epic Malaysian movie, Pulang, based on three generation in a family will be hitting the cinema in July 26. theSun had carried two interviews on the film. The first one was with the director Kabri Bhatia in 2017 and recently, with the CEO of Primeworks Studios Ahmad Izham Omar and the lead actor Remy Ishak
THE FIRST INTERVIEW : \
Oct 9, 2017 ( with Kabir Bhatia)
Headline: Love Across The Seas
By Bissme S
DURING my interview with director Kabir Bhatia, he eagerly shows me scenes from his upcoming film Pulang that he has on his smartphone – and I must admit, they are impressive.
One can easily see that Pulang, an RM6 million epic love story that spans three generations from the 1940s to 2010, has a special place in his heart.
"Pulang is based on factual events," explains Kabir, who has previously produced films such as Cinta (2006) and Sepi (2008).
In the 1940s, British merchant ships would stop by Singapore along the trade route, and the captains would hire locals to work onboard the ships, even offering them a chance to work in England.
Many Malay men would leave their families to work on these ships. Unfortunately, some never returned, instead choosing to stay overseas, and start new families.
Blending elements of history and fiction, Kabir tells a story of Othman, an ambitious fisherman who is eager to see the world and provide a better life for his wife, Thom, and their son, Omar.
Othman decides to become a seaman on a British merchant ship, but Thom does not want him to go and begs him to abandon his dream.
Othman promises to return home after making his fortune. Unfortunately, he never did, and a heartbroken Thom continues to pine for him.
The story then shifts to the 1960s, with an older Thom begging a now grown-up Omar to search for his father but it is in vain.The final part takes place in 2010, and the task of finding out what happened to Othman now falls upon their grandson, Ahmad.This time, Ahmad's search for his grandfather leads to a surprising revelation.
"I am not telling the story only [through] Othman's eye," says Kabir."I am also telling the story [through] his son's and his grandson's eyes."
Actor Remy Ishak and newcomer Puteri Aishah Sulaiman star as Othman and Thom in Pulang, which opens early next year.
Others in the cast include Azrel Ismail, Erwin Dawson, Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan, Juliana Evans, and Sherry Al-Jeffri. Most of the scenes were shot in Terengganu. Sets were built in a studio for the dock scenes for Liverpool, Singapore and Hong Kong.
"When you are in a studio, you have better control [over] your environment," says Kabir, adding that he also used CGI for the historical scenes to capture the authentic atmosphere and scenery.
A lot of research was done for the film. One of the books used as a basis for the story was Tim Bunnell's From World City to the World in One City: Liverpool through Malay Lives.
"I was very interested in getting the details right," Kabir says.
Bunnell, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore, traced the migration of Malay sailors from Singapore and Malaya who settled in England during the 1950s and 1960s in this book.
For Kabir's next project, he will be directing an English language animated film titled Zak: The Last Orangutan, with plans to distribute the film worldwide.
Set in the exotic jungles of Borneo, Zak is described as a cross between Kung Fu Panda and Indiana Jones.The story revolves around Zak, who is now the world's last living orangutan. Rescued by a family of primatologists as a baby, Zak grows up and becomes best friends with their son, Tom.
When his human family is forced to leave Zak behind, he finds himself on the greatest adventure of his life!
"The best thing about animation is that you can easily go back and correct your mistakes," says Kabir.
"This is my first time directing an animation, and I have always wanted a new challenge."
July 4, 2018 ( Interview Ahmad Izham Omar, Kabir Bhatia & Remy Ishak)
Headline :Coming Home atlast
by Bissme S
A recent private screening of Primeworks Studios’ latest film Pulang has its chief executive officer, Ahmad Izham Omar, and his father, Omar Othman, in tears. The story is something very close to their hearts.
“Pulang is inspired by my grandfather’s life,” explains the 49-year-old Ahmad, who says his grandfather, Othman Alias, was a
poor fisherman from Malacca.
Determined to give a better life to his wife and son, he took up a job as a sailor on a British merchant ship and sailed around
the world. Though Othman promised to return home, he never did.
“My father was only 11 years old when his father left,” recalls Ahmad, who co-wrote the screenplay with screenwriter
Mira Mustaffa (Nur kasih: The Movie, Anak Merdeka).
“But my father never stopped loving my grandfather. He never stopped telling me stories about my grandfather.”
Ahmad says his father managed to track down his grandfather in England, in the city of Liverpool, in the 1960s.
Unfortunately, he failed to bring Othman back to Malaysia. In 2008, the then 39-year-old Ahmad decided to track down
his grandfather, as he wanted to know why Othman never returned home.
Also, as Ahmad says, “when you get older, you want to get close to your roots, your heritage and your family”.
So did he meet his grandfather? Did he find the answers he was looking for?
With a laugh, Ahmad says: “You have to watch the film to get the answers.”
Actor Remy Ishak plays Ahmad’s grandfather Othman, while popular TV actor Azrel Ismail makes his film debut as
Ahmad’s father, Omar. Playing Ahmad himself is Singapore-born actor Erwin Dawson.
Directed by Kabir Bhatia and made with a budget of RM6 million, Pulang will hit cinemas nationwide on July 26. The film is set in various locations including Malacca, Hong Kong, Okinawa, Jeju Island and Liverpool.
When asked what was his biggest challenge bringing the story to the big screen, Kabir says: “The film spans from
the 1940s to 2010, and I have to make sure I am historically correct, especially with the setting.”
Kabir and his team looked at pictures from 1940s, and used CGI (computer generated imagery) to recreate the settings.
Some quarters have labelled
Pulang as Ahmad’s ‘syok sendiri’ (vanity) project, and accused him of abusing his power to get the film made.
But Ahmad dismissed the notion. “This is not just my story,” he says.
“This is a story about our country, too. I am telling a part of our history that has been forgotten.”
While researching the past for this story, he learned that in the 40s, many Malay men left their families behind to work as
seamen on merchant ships plying the oceans.
“The captains of these merchant ships liked hiring Malays because they made better seamen,” Ahmad says.
“I wanted to show that our ancestors had travelled and seen the world ... and it is about time for us to be proud of them.”
His research included reading Tim Bunnell’s book, From World City to the World in One City: Liverpool
through Malay Lives. Bunnell, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore, traced the migration of Malay sailors from Singapore and Malaya who settled in England during the 1950s and 60s.
On the message of the film, Ahmad says: “Life may give you interesting adventures. But your adventures means nothing
if you have no family to come home to.”
Lead actor Remy (above) also believes the film highlights the importance ofm family. The actor confessed that he
initially had a hostile relationship with his own father.
“I came from a broken family,” he says.
“My parents divorced when I was 13. My father was an army man, and he was very strict with me. I
did not like him. I was distant from him.”
Remy was totally captivated by the script and the depictions of the relationship between a father and his son, and the relationship between a grandfather and grandson, touched his heart. It eventually pushed Remy to reconcile with his own estranged father, and now both father and son share a warm relationship.
“Sometimes, a good script can make you a better man,” Remy says.