Shamyl Othman and the three main cast of "Rembat".
Local road-trip comedy "Rembat" directed by Shamyl Othman stars top local actor Shaheizy Sam and top local Chinese entertainer Ah Niu as the two leads alongside Zara Zya, Zizan Razak, Sherry Alhadad, Arja Lee, Zulin Aziz and more as the supporting cast.
The story follows Malik and Chin Chye who are two avid fans of the local football team, on a hilarious road-trip journey from KL to Kuantan and then to Johor, all because they want to catch the final match between Malaysia and Thailand. In a twist of events, the two are also being chased by loan-sharks at the same time.
During the press preview, Cinema Online had talked to the young director Shamyl Othman about the production of "Rembat" which is a collaborative effort between Grand Brilliance, Marna Films and Red Films.
Tell us about your experience in directing this film.
One of the major difference for me while working on this film, was working with actors and comedians of different backgrounds. It was an intention for me to cast talents who bring something of their own flavor of humour to the table especially in terms of improvising the scenes. So that was something that was distinctly different from how I worked on my first film, "Kami Histeria".
Apart from that, we had very few major challenges during the filming. It went pretty smoothly and that's why we could finish the film in 27 days.
(L-R) Red Films Managing Director Lina Tan, Grand Brilliance General Manager
Tengku Iesta Alaudin and COO of Marna Films Azrul Reza.
So you mean, there was no challenges whatsoever?
Not really, other than the weather. The haze was a bit of a killer. We had to delay filming for a couple of days because the haze got really bad.
Credits should also be given to the actors who were there on set. They helped me keep this relax and happy vibe going during the filming, and I think we all felt that it was important to keep the atmosphere light and fun.
Also, it was something that's quite rare because we have a very multicultural production team and multiracial cast, and somehow everybody wanted to be there and that sort of kept the mood really positive. Even Ah Niu and Sam, they were always trying to keep the mood happy. They bonded really well over the course of the rehearsals and the filming.
The cast of "Rembat".
Then, are you satisfied with the outcome of the film?
As satisfied as I can be.
After watching the whole film, do you feel like you wish to change certain parts of the film?
Not really, but I guess you'd always wish that you had more time to execute certain scenes. That's a given. Having more time and budget is something that you'd always hope to get.
But I am as happy as I can be because I think what we set out to do which is trying to make a film that would be sort of – especially in times like this – a symbol of bringing Malaysian people together.
I hope that it would just give the audience some sort of positive realisations like, we may be different, but that is something that we should celebrate.
"Rembat" after-movie press conference.
What inspired you to make this film?
If you watch the film, it actually has nothing to do with football. The football is just the backdrop of the film. The reason why we use football is because we feel that sport is always something that unites the people. With football you can see all sort of attitude from the people. So that is sort of what we're going into.
How did you pick the cast?
Farid Ramli was the casting director. The logic or the rationale behind it was I wanted to work with comedians who were quick-witted.
From the beginning of the project, Ah Niu and Sam were the first two names that Lina, me and Amir the writer wanted to have in the movie.
Even during the writing stage, we thought that it would be great to get these two guys. Lina said "Let's dream big, let's get the biggest star in the Chinese entertainment industry as well as the biggest star in the Malay entertainment industry and put them together in one movie. Let's aim for that!"
We're very fortunate that both of them came on-board.
With this, the Chinese movie-goer audience would want to see Ah Niu in the movie, while the Malay audience would want to see Sam. It is a rare opportunity to see two stars of their caliber in one film.
The two main cast Ah Niu and Shaheizy Sam with the director.
So, this brings me to another question. Since this movie is basically about racial harmony and unity, then why didn't you create a third main character which would be Indian.
Because when we first wrote the script, it didn't start out like that. We didn't write it with the intention to send racial harmony message to people. It was basically about two guys getting embroiled in this match-fixing thing, and was trying to get to this football game.
As it developed, I guess it sort of went into that direction. That's where I guess it went into that fine line of becoming preachy. The moment you start to think about the message that it should be about racial harmony, then you feel that it's a must to have an Indian character. Then you are in danger of crossing that fine line.
So that's why I think if we had an Indian character too, it would be too forced.
Shamyl Othman is the son of veteran director Othman Hafsham who is known for
directing popular local sitcom "Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu".
What is your next project?
I am working with Nadia Khan, one of the Fixi writers and novelist. We are adapting one of her novels into a TV series. I am having quite a close working relationship with her. We will also develop a script for a film that's been put on hold at the moment. The film's going to be another comedy. But the one that we're looking into right now is this TV series where we're adapting Nadia's novel, "Gantung".
Do you ever want to try venture into other genres other than comedy?
Well "Gantung" is a youth/supernatural genre and also semi-horror. It is set around high school kids. I guess this would be sort of a departure of the genre for me from "Kami Histeria" which is still somewhat a comedy and "Rembat" is a straight-out comedy. I haven't got anything else in the works in terms of films yet. But I wouldn't mind going into a different genre.
"Rembat" will be released nationwide on 8 October 2015.
Cinema Online, 05 October 2015