The vam­pire is also a heroic mom

Award-win­ning ac­tress Maya Karin tells Den­nis Chua about her role as a coura­geous young mother in Mu­nafik 2

New Straits Times - - Groove | Spotlight - Dchua@nst.com.my

HER best-known screen ap­pear­ances have been venge­ful vam­pires and fu­ri­ous ex-lovers who un­leash hell af­ter be­ing tor­mented. These cin­e­matic im­ages, es­pe­cially the vam­pires, have de­fined the 16-year ca­reer of pop­u­lar ac­tress Maya Karin who was born in Bayreuth, Ger­many.

Her best-known films are Pon­tianak Harum Sun­dal Malam movies (2004 and 2005) and Jwanita (2015) re­spec­tively.

Maya, 37, is “okay” with hor­rors and thrillers, but va­ri­ety in these gen­res make her day.

Soon, she is set to play the main ac­tress in Mu­nafik 2, which marks her first col­lab­o­ra­tion with Syam­sul Yu­sof and his com­pany Skop Pro­duc­tions.

In this much-awaited se­quel to last year’s Mu­nafik — the hor­ror which went on to win Best Film in the Na­tional Lan­guage at the 28th Malaysian Film Fes­ti­val (FFM28) that same year — Maya gets her wish for “va­ri­ety” as she plays nei­ther ghost nor vic­tim.

The Best Ac­tress for Nota (FFM28) and Om­bak Rindu (FFM25) plays young mother Sak­i­nah who is spir­i­tual and com­pas­sion­ate.

Her pre-teen son falls vic­tim to dis­tur­bances by the su­per­nat­u­ral and con­se­quently de­vel­ops a mys­te­ri­ous ill­ness which only young spir­i­tual healer Us­taz Adam (Syam­sul) can cure.

“While Syam­sul’s Us­taz Adam is the hero, as he was in the first movie, Sak­i­nah helps him find the source of her son’s af­flic­tion.

“The duo learn that he is the vic­tim of a de­viant teacher, known as Abuya, who is brain­wash­ing the boy and mak­ing him sick,” ex­plains Maya.

While Sak­i­nah and Us­taz Adam are con­cerned about the well-be­ing of Abuya’s stu­dents and qui­etly res­cue them from his de­viant ways, their ef­fort is dis­cov­ered and Abuya vows to teach Us­taz Adam a painful les­son.

“I like Sak­i­nah be­cause she is a kind­hearted mother whose son is made sick by a twisted teacher in her home vil­lage. She seeks the help of Us­taz Adam as the rep­utable teacher is an ex­or­cist who has healed dozens of pos­sessed peo­ple.”

When asked about ru­mours that Na­bila Huda Suhaimi was slot­ted for the role of Sak­i­nah, Maya says they are not true.

“Syam­su­landSkopap­proached­me­with the role of Sak­i­nah in mind. Na­bila won’t be back since her char­ac­ter Maria died in the first movie. How­ever, she will be shown in flash­backs,” she says.

Maya hopes to work with Syam­sul in more films. “He is a ca­pa­ble di­rec­tor who knows how to bring out the best in his team of ac­tors,” she says.

“I’ve been fol­low­ing Syam­sul’s work, and he’s im­proved by leaps and bounds. I like his style of di­rect­ing be­cause he al­lows his team of ac­tors to have their say in the devel­op­ment of their char­ac­ters as well as the story’s plot,” she adds.

As for her singing ca­reer, Maya is cur­rently busy pro­mot­ing her re­cent duet with hip-hop star Juz­zthin ti­tled Serik Den­gan Cinta. It is writ­ten and com­posed by DJ Fuzz.

“I’ve got three more sin­gles in the pipe­line, but for now, their de­tails are un­der wraps,” she says.

Mean­while, Syam­sul says Mu­nafik 2 is “deeper” in terms of its sto­ry­line com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor. “The topic has been in the news of late — de­viant re­li­gious teachers,” he said.

He has roped in Nasir Bi­lal Khan who ap­peared in Skop’s ear­lier movie Bohsia: Jan­gan Pilih Jalan Hi­tam, to play Abuya.

“When I was a child at­tend­ing re­li­gious classes, I learnt that the most wicked men are teachers who de­vi­ate from the true teach­ings and make their stu­dents spite­ful or sick,” he says.

“Mu­nafik 2 is my telling of this cau­tion­ary tale which my fa­ther told me dur­ing my child­hood.”

Syam­sul has rec­ti­fied the “weak­nesses” from the first movie, par­tic­u­larly the scene where he ex­humes the body of his wife.

“I’ve de­cided not to cre­ate any con­tro­ver­sial scenes, and I’ve also had talks with the Cen­sor­ship Board on the dos and don’ts of hor­ror movies.”

Syam­sul has re­vised the film script three times so far, and ideas pop into his head even when he is asleep.

Film­ing will take about 50 days, be­gin­ning March 20, and most of it will be in na­ture spots in Pa­hang, Perak and Se­lan­gor. The movie is set for a Jan­uary re­lease.

Mu­nafik won Best Di­rec­tor (Syam­sul) and Best Ac­tress (Na­bila Huda) amongst five awards in FFM28.

Mu­nafik 2 marks Syam­sul’s 10th movie and Skop’s 40th movie. The RM2.5 mil­lion film also stars Datuk Rahim Razali, Fauzi Nawawi and Fizz Fairuz. Syam­sul plans to rope in In­done­sian ac­tress Luna Maya for a sup­port­ing role.

I’ve been fol­low­ing Syam­sul’s work, and he’s im­proved by leaps and bounds.

Maya Karin

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