"No, you're the executive producer!", "No, you are!" – Sangeeta and Khairul
showing off their great teamwork.
If there's one thing that "Adiwira Ku" taught us, it's that teachers deserve all our respects. The success that the movie achieved following its release in 2017 is paving the way for more local movies on teacher appreciation to be made, and there is one coming to the big screen in the near future.
It is none other than its sequel, "Adiwiraku 2". Sangeeta Krishnasamy, who starred in the first movie, this time around gets to try her hand at producing. (While she claims she doesn't do much, she still must have done enough for head executive producer Khairul Anuar Latip to insist that she goes by the title executive producer instead).
Sangeeta posing with the cast before filming resumed.
"Adiwiraku 2" is based on a true story of how a group of unruly school children grow up to become cricket players that the nation can be proud of, all under the guidance of one Cikgu Azman (Pekin Ibrahim).
Sangeeta revealed that she postponed her course (to August this year) at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) just so she could work on the sequel. She also admitted that she had to change her course from Scriptwriting and Film Production to Acting for Film, as the latter was the only course that came under the one-month range (aside from Filmmaking, which she decided not to pick as it might be too general).
"I was very interested in doing screenwriting but they only have it for 8 weeks. the scholarship that I'm on is only manageable for a 4-week course," said the actress to Cinema Online during our visit to the set of "Adiwiraku 2".
To find out more on Sangeeta's producing role in "Adiwiraku 2", read on below!
Filming for "Adiwiraku 2" was done for 3 days at Victoria Institution, and 23 days
prior to that at Felda Bukit Rokan, Gemencheh.
Cinema Online: Can you tell us a little bit of how "Adiwiraku 2" came about?
Sangeeta: I think that there are a lot of unsung heroes in Malaysia and a lot of untold stories that actually need to be told. Basically, because it will uplift the spirit of the children in this country, it will help with the education system. I think in a lot of ways we've come to realise that a lot of teachers are not being appreciated the way we should. We are hoping to continue the legacy of "Adiwira Ku".
But then again because "Adiwira Ku" was a good story, it captured the hearts of the people who watched it, i think people are ready for "Adiwiraku 2". it's just that it's not a sequel of the first movie. it is an entirely different story, but it is an inspiring true story that happened in this country. A lot of people don't know that Malaysia actually won gold medal at the SEA Games in 2017 for cricket. So we want people to be curious as to how that happened and why? They were not kids that came from elite school, they were kids that came from a kampung. Because cricket was introduced to this Felda in Gemencheh 20 years ago, today if you go to Gemencheh, they play cricket in the streets.
And for this sequel, you are involved as a producer?
I wouldn't give myself such an important role but I've been asked to. The thing is, it's not very difficult, if you want to make films that matter. It's just a choice of whether you want to do it or not.
To be honest, I'm not doing any heavy stuff, all of that is being done by Abang Khairul, our head EP, our directors, all of the heavy work is being done by them. I'm just plugging in whatever I can to just help make the environment better.
How's it like working with directors Jason Chong and Eric Ong as a producer instead of an actor?
They're very close, their relationship is like a happy married life, but I don't interact much with them. I don't intend to get involved in the creative process of the production of the film, that's their department. I have been handling the behind-the-scenes team, I've been directing the interview and doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work. I don't have direct interaction with [the directors] so to speak, because I don't want to disturb that department.
The cast and crew milling about on set as they prepare to film their next scene.
How's your experience been handling behind-the-scenes, as it's your first time doing so?
I have always been a person who's always curious about a lot of things so even when I was acting, I was always curious about the things that happened behind-the-scenes. So I am really enjoying being behind-the-scenes, I have been interviewing our head executive producer, the real characters because this is based on a true story, Cikgu Azman, Shafiq Sharif, our national players.
Maybe my first experience of directing, bits and pieces of it, has come from doing the behind-the-scenes, asking people questions and directing a scene, frames, and composing shots and all that. It's very interesting to be on this side of the state of affairs, I think. This is where you get to see how people on the other side feel when they're doing things with us [actors]. Because we're very difficult people to be honest, when you're on set and media people wanna interview, we'll be "Can we do it later? I don't know what to talk about" because your entire focus is – like your mind is empty of everything else. Now I get a taste of the medicine and I understand how important it is to be involved with the behind-the-scenes team.
Behind-the-scenes for me, it's not about showing a footage of how people are shooting. It will bore you to death, I won't wanna sit watching a whole day shoot, not doing anything. So this time around, we put a little twist to it, we went and interviewed all the people in the kampung, spoke to them. Why?
Because we want people to know before they watch the movie, where we shot it, who are the people, what is this kampung about? We want people to have that experience.
Now that you've experience acting, producing and directing, what else would you like to try next?
Screenwriting is definitely something that I want to do. I'm actually trying to, by being involved behind-the-scenes in "Adiwiraku 2", I'm trying to conceptualise how we can take marketing further for a movie. That is one department that the industry hasn't grown yet. In terms of marketing a film, the big companies have a budget for it but smaller companies don't. I'm trying to find a way as to how we can effectively market a small budget film that has a strong storyline.
The producing team busily discussing something in the break room
(the cast could be seen taking a rest while waiting for filming to resume).
Will you be diving back into acting again soon and if yes, what movies do you have lined up?
A local political movie. Since we're told that we have freedom of speech today, so it's written in a way where it's inspiring. Because I did "Rise Ini Kalilah" and "Jibril", where I played a lawyer, so i think the producers and director and scriptwriter saw my performances in those and they thought that I would be appropriate to do this role – a strong role, all the protagonists are female.
I have gotten offer to work on a Sri Lankan movie, which is also based on a true story. The reason why the director was interested in casting me is because I speak Tamil. I'm really excited because i know that it's a very strong role as well. it's very female-oriented. I'm very glad that I get all these roles in films that are [all about] female-empowerment.
Sangeeta Krishnasamy might not be making even just a cameo role in "Adiwiraku 2", but the sequel will definitely be worth a watch when it opens in cinemas next year.
Cinema Online, 02 September 2019