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
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.