Theater actors take to the big screen with independent film “Mentega Terbang”

Have you ever wondered what happens after death?

These are the reflections of Aishah, 15, the protagonist of the first feature film by the theater company Anomalist Production titled Mentega Terbang. Shot during the pandemic in July of last year (when lockdown restrictions were relaxed), the film grapples with hard-hitting themes such as death, religion, the afterlife… all explored through the film. goal of a young girl.

In Mentega Terbang, the character Aishah, played by newcomer theater actor Syumaila Salihin, is fascinated by the idea of ​​reincarnation.

“I myself was intrigued by the idea of ​​religion. I was sent to a school that required me to know the basics of other religions, practices, and cultures, and I have a lot of questions to ask, but these questions can be very sensitive for other people. So, in making this film, my intention is not to give answers, but rather to ask questions and share them with my audience, ”offers director Khairi Anwar.

Mentega Terbang, produced in association with Meng Kheng Entertainmet, also features theater actors such as Arjun Thanaraju, Firdaus Karim, Nik Waheeda, Shyamala Kandapper, Khairunazwan Rodzy (founder of the theater company Revolution Stage) and Jesebel Lee.

Presented in English and Bahasa Malay, the movie will be screened – to a limited audience – at the GMBB Mall in Kuala Lumpur on October 23-24.

Anomalist had a series of private screenings last year and in April of this year.

“The feedback has been very good and we are more than happy to receive such responses. We were a little worried if the theme and story would elicit negative feedback, but we didn’t receive such a thing, ”Khairi adds.

Syumaila (right) and Arjun play school friends Aishah and Suresh in the film. Photo: Anomalist Production

Mentega Terbang, shot in six days in a district of KL, took shape at the start of the pandemic when Anomalist’s 2020 season was cut short.

For Anomalist, the plan ahead is to stage the remainder of its disrupted theatrical season, which includes original plays like Amma Chelam, Bangsa: Anak Kecil main API and Save Ismat, early next year, March being a tentative date.

Blurry theater and cinema lines

Mentega Terbang became one of the top five finalists for the Kuman Pictures Feature Challenge 2020 in August of last year.

Given the themes of the film, Khairi was aware that different voices had to be heard and consciously formed a multiracial team of writers, including Arjun (who plays Suresh in the film), Visshnu Varman, and Ti Teng-Hui.

“If I had to write the script on my own, it wouldn’t be as thorough as the current script since we were exploring the theme of religion and reincarnation.

“The good thing about a diverse editorial team is that each of them has put their own religious beliefs and practices on the table. So in the writing room we had to be open to listen to every story that was shared.

“Ultimately, we focused on the common religions that exist in Malaysia, as the purpose of the story was to make the final product accessible to the public,” says Khairi, who adds that the film includes poems by the film. writer / poet Jamal Raslan. .

Khairi (right), artistic director of Anomalist Production, says Khairi (right), artistic director of Anomalist Production, says “Mentega Terbang” is a personal project for him. Spoken artist Jamal (left) contributed poems to the film. Photo: Filepic / The Star

Similar to a theatrical production, the cast and crew had nearly four weeks of rehearsals before filming and Khairi admits working with skilled theater actors made the process a lot easier.

Ultimately, Khairi hopes to see a diverse Malaysian crowd at private screenings this weekend.

“The idea of ​​questioning religion is a taboo subject in this country, and filmmakers have been off the subject for as long as we know.

“We want to open the way for people to have an intellectual discourse on religion after seeing our film and tell them that there is nothing wrong with questioning. We hope it can be a catalyst in creating a world where we can freely express our thoughts on this issue, ”Khairi concludes.

More information here.

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