Thursday, August 30, 2018

Mamat Khalid

Film director Mamat Khalid spoke to theSun about his movie Hantu Kak Limah which is huge box office hit. 

Headline: A Scary Great Success 
By Bissme S

FILM director Mamat Khalid’s latest film Hantu Kak Limah is already a smashing success, having collected more than RM30 million at the box office in just two weekends. This makes it the highest-grossing Malaysian film of all time.
Mamat, 55, first introduced Kak Limah in 2010, in Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah. In 2013, he brought the character back in his film, Husin, Mon dan Jin Pakai Toncit. Now, it looks like the third time is the charm for Mamat and Kak Limah.
The horror-comedy centres on Kak Limah (played by actress Delimawati) whose ghost is haunting the people of Kampung Pisang, including her husband, Khuda (T.J. Isa).
The film also stars Awie, returning as Khuda’s friend Husin, as well as Zul Ariffin and Uqasha Senrose.
In an exclusive interview with Mamat, the director revealed the scary secrets behind his successful film series.
*What do you think of the film’s success?

“Kak Limah has had a strong fanbase since I created the character eight years ago. I expected her die-hard fans to be eager to catch her in action again, but I never expected this overwhelming success.”

*Are we going to see Kak Limah again?

“Yes. However, it will not be soon. Maybe, I will take another two years – or even more – before bringing Kak Limah to the big screen again. Right now, I am busy working on Rock 4 (the fourth instalment of a musical comedy series based on a fictional rock group).”

*Some people have said you should immediately make another Kak Limah film to capitalise on its success.

“That is not how I work. It took me three years to direct the second instalment of Kak Limah after the first movie, and it took me another five years [after that] to direct the third instalment of Kak LimahIt takes time to write a good script. I do not want to rush and produce a sloppy production. Besides, you want to make the audience rindu (miss) Kak Limah. When you rindu someone, you will be eager to see that person again.”

*What can we expect in the fourth instalment of Kak Limah?

“Kampung Pisang will be more multiracial. You will see more non-Malay faces. Even in real life, the Malay villages have non-Malays.In the old days, you always find most kedai runcit (provision shops) in Malay kampungs run by the Chinese.”

*There is a theory going around that Kak Limah is your alter ego.

“She is not me. But all the characters I have created in my films are loosely based on people I know.”

*Who is Kak Limah based on?

“Kak Limah is based on three [stories] from my childhood.The first [story was about] my neighbour. Her name was Kak Ramah. She died very young, just after getting married. Then, I heard stories about an old woman who [apparently] rose from the grave and created a commotion in my village. The third person is a woman who had performed a black magic ritual (nasi kangkang) to make her husband stupid, and follow her orders blindly. When she died, her soul was not at peace. She returned as a ghost to beg her husband for forgiveness. But because she had used black magic, her husband was no longer of sound mind to hear her forgiveness.I took all these stories, and put a funny spin to them.”

*Where do you get your sense of humour from?

“From my family. They are funny people. There is a lot of laughter in my house. My brother (who is the legendary cartoonist Lat) is a serious film buff, and he introduced me to many films. Watching these films influenced me to become a filmmaker.”

*Do you want to direct a serious film?

“Yes. I have written the script for [a historical epic] that focuses on the murder of the first British resident in Malaysia, J.W.W. Birch. His death marked the beginning of the British empire in Malaysia. I will tell the story from the British and the Malay perspective, and will let the audience judge who they want to believe. Currently, I am trying to get funding for this project.”

*Who are the filmmakers who influenced your work?

“Mat Sentul and Federico Fellini. I would like to believe that when you combine them both, you have me (laughs). They are so creative, and can blend surrealistic elements into their works so effortlessly. I love how their minds work.”

*Merdeka is tomorrow. What are the changes you would like to see in the country?

“As we enter the era of a new Malaysia, I hope we can all live in harmony, put our differences aside and work together.I believe we were doing that, we are doing that, and we will continue to do that. But a few bad hats are making it difficult for us.”