|Wednesday, 15 August 2012 17:17|
KUALA LUMPUR: There are no scenes depicting DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang urinating on a flagpole in the Selangor Menteri Besar’s residence in the upcoming film, Tanda Putera.
In fact, there isn’t a single scene depicting the DAP leader at all in the entire film.
Its director Shuhaimi Baba said claims that such a scene existed in the film were nothing short of lies.
“Look, we received lots of pictures of historical events that were put up on our Facebook page. It doesn’t mean that if a picture is shared, the scene makes it into the movie.
“Lim Kit Siang isn’t in this movie at all,” the award-winning director told a Press conference today. Also present were actors Rusdi Ramli and Zizan Nin.
Pro-opposition blogs had recently claimed that the movie, which aims to portray the relationship between then-Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussain and his deputy Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, was nothing but a propaganda tool for Barisan Nasional ahead of the coming general election.
Criticism had come in fast and furious on the movie, with detractors claiming that the movie had portrayed Lim as the one who had engineered the racial riots of May 13, 1969 via his ‘urination’ act.
Lim himself on his blog had lambasted the filmmakers for attempting to sway public sentiment ahead of the elections.
Shuhaimi, however, rubbished the allegations and said it made a mockery of what the filmmaking team was trying to accomplish.
“I’m making a movie about history. It has absolutely nothing to do with current figures,” she said.
Asked on if the producers would apologize to Lim if asked to, Shuhaimi became livid.
“What do we need to say sorry for? The picture has nothing to do with the movie.”
“This film is based on months of detailed, painstaking research. Our consultants are from families of the two prominent leaders. All we wanted to do was make a movie about Malaysian history, about subjects which we felt the public was mature enough to accept,” she said.
She said they also haven’t received any objections so far on their May 13 riots footage, and the National Censorship Board has not issued any instructions to them to remove the scene.
Shuhaimi stressed that they were filmmakers, not politicians.
“We’re not in it for the politics. We are also open to criticism. But in the end what did we get? Abuse, scorn and ‘go to hell’ statements, all because of Tanda Putera.”
She said she doesn’t mind criticism, but it has to be fair.
“Some bloggers who viewed our earlier screening had said they didn’t like the film. However, the criticism was based on the movie itself, not anything else. That’s fair. But it doesn’t have to go beyond that.”
An emotional Shuhaimi said even her actors were not spared abuse.
“Zizan Nin was even abused on Twitter. They called him ‘anjing kerajaan’ (government dog). What kind of behaviour is this?”
“This film has become a victim of politics.”
On claims that the movie was engineered by BN to sway public sentiment ahead of the elections, Shuhaimi said it was untrue.
“Even I don’t know when the elections are. This is a coincidence and nothing more.
“I simply cannot accept it if people label this movie a propaganda tool for the election. Some have even said that they’ll boycott this film.
“Well, I hereby state that I won’t back down from those who want to boycott the film. They should watch it first, then make up their minds.”
Shuhaimi revealed that they had invited various quarters to view the film as part of a focus group, including members of the Opposition.
“We even invited members of the Opposition to form part of our focus group. They viewed the film, and opined that there was nothing wrong with it,” she said.
She however declined to disclose the identities of the Opposition members.
Meanwhile, Pesona Pictures Sdn Bhd executive director Aida Fitri Buyong said they were willing to conduct a screening for Pakatan Rakyat members to assuage their fears over the film, provided that they pay for it.
The cost of a movie screening, she said, was about RM15,000.
Shuhaimi meanwhile admitted that she was extremely disappointed with the controversy generated over the movie by those who haven’t even viewed it.
“It is frustrating. I sincerely believed that the Malaysian public has matured. But it seems that some of us still behave like children.”