Kumar in a movie as a female minister? Sounds like a must-watch.
According to an article in The New Paper, the local comedian-entertainer joins fellow funnymen Gurmit Singh and Mark Lee, along with getai stars Liu Ling Ling and Wang Lei, in the new comedy Everybody's Business.
In the movie, Singapore's best-known drag queen plays the fictional Minister of Toilets Kumari Kuppusamy who, along with hygiene officer John Lu (Gurmit Singh) and Lu's big-talking boss Winston Li (Mark Lee), needs to get to the bottom of a toilet hygiene problem that has resulted in 50 Singaporeans getting food poisoning.
The movie opens here on Dec 5.
On Tuesday, the cast were at a coffee shop in North Bridge Road filming a scene in which Kumari pays a surprise visit to coffee shop owners (played by Liu and Wang) to suss out the toilet hygiene situation there.
As Kumari, Kumar was not quite the flamboyant drag queen we have seen him play at Boom Boom Room or his Esplanade shows.
Looking the part of a bureaucrat, he sported an A-line skirt, a light blue blazer and a blouse and wore his hair in long curls.
The role, said Kumar, was offered to him by local film-maker Jack Neo, who is Everybody's Business' executive producer.
nitially, Neo wanted him to play Gurmit's mother.
"He said, 'Maybe you should play the minister, it would be more challenging for you," said Kumar, who turned 45 last Saturday.
"He thought me playing a minister would get the audience interested.
"I've always wanted to be in politics, so at least I get to be one in a movie," he joked.
When asked about casting Kumar as a woman, director Lee Thean-jeen, who also helmed the 2011 flick Homecoming, said: "Why not?
"We were trying to think of someone who would bring something new to the project and Kumar is fresh because we haven't seen him in a lot of movies. You know him as a stage comedian. We thought it would be interesting, albeit a bit risky."
Might the risk factor have come from comparisons between Kumari and our own Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan?
That was one of the first questions Kumar was asked when he sat down for kopi and a chat with the media.
But he waved those comparisons away, saying that it was precisely such a possibility that made it important for his character to be a woman.
"If not, it would be too close to the real one," he said.