Namewee's new film Hantu Gangster puts future at stake

11 October 2012 / 4 years 1 week ago

Source: The Daily ChilliThere's no such thing as bad publicity - or is there?When Namewee's directorial debut, Nasi Lemak 2.0, premiered last year, he was greeted by protesters from Pertubuhan Gagasan Rakyat Didahulukan outside movie theatres, and the movie itself was pulled off by Golden Screen Cinemas two weeks into its release after Astro secured the TV rights for it.With all that drama and other rumours swirling around the movie, it was enough to raise its box-office gross to RM7 million (S$2.8 million), seven times more than what it cost to make. But at the recent launch of his second effort, Hantu Gangster, the 29-year-old filmmaker said he had other things on his mind besides money."If [what happened to Nasi Lemak 2.0] happens again [with Hantu Gangster], I won't be able to make another movie," he said. "No one would want to do a movie with me. I will be suppressed in the long run and everyone will be against me-and I have no backing.""I don't even think about the box-office," he added. "My biggest concern is whether it'll be shown in the cinemas without being taken down halfway through."He's got reason to worry. He's been a magnet for controversy ever since his parody of the national anthem made headlines in 2007. His defence of southern (Muar) Mandarin and his tirade against TNB haven't won him many fans among the conservative majority nor endeared him to the authorities.So to lessen his chances of getting thrown to the wolves again, Namewee-real name Wee Meng Chee-decided to shift the plot of Hantu Gangster to 1997."It would be far too sensitive if the movie was set in today [but] because it's 1997, I can say whatever I want," he explained, and then added in his usual hyperbole, "I daresay this is the most controversial film in Malaysian history."Hantu Gangster, which stars Farid Kamil, Diana Danielle, Jalaluddin Hassan, Mizz Nina, Amber Chia and Dennis Lau, centres on three gangs from different races who turn on each other after their decades-old alliance falls apart.The movie made it past the Film Censorship Board with only 19 cuts, and is slated to open on Thursday, 9th August 2012.Critics will no doubt crow: Not another feel-good 1Malaysia comedy from the rebel artiste? But Namewee denies he's heading on purpose."I put three races in there because that's life in Malaysia. A Malaysian movie is not just pure-Chinese or pure-Malay. ‘¦ People ask me, are you doing a Chinese movie or a Malay movie? I tell them it's a Malaysian movie. What matters is not the language but the Malaysian culture portrayed in the movie."He's not glamorising street thugs either. "Gangsters are usually portrayed as violent and uncivilised. We just want to portray another side of these people, like how they lead their lives with their families. Some of them are not evil. They're in the business for survival," he said.Hantu Gangster also sees him removing his trademark beanie for the first time. "I took it off for this movie [because] people thought I had something on my scalp. I also dyed my hair blonde because that was the hot trend in 1997."

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