‘Playing my war-hero dad in film was challenging’
KUCHING: When Corporal Langgi Kanang was approached to play the lead role in the patriotic movie, Kanang Anak Langkau: The Iban Warrior two years ago, he turned down the offer.
Langgi, who is attached to the Royal Artillery Regiment, doubted whether he could play the role of his father, the nation’s most decorated hero, the late Datuk Temenggong Kanang Langkau.
“It all began when I delivered salted ikan terubok to a member of the film’s production crew at Kuching International Airport.
“He later introduced me to film director Bade Azmi. At that time, they were looking for an actor to play the adult role of my father.
“They wanted the actor to be from the Iban community and to know Iban rituals, including the miring ceremony.
“Bade offered me the role, which I turned down. I don’t know how to act and I don’t know if I am qualified enough for the role,” the 35-year-old soldier told the New Straits Times yesterday.
After much persuasion and with permission from the armed forces, Langgi accepted the offer and enrolled in an acting class for two weeks before filming his scenes for a month.
Most of his scenes were filmed in Santubong, Sarawak, as well as Kuala Kangsar and Taiping in Perak.
“There were some scenes in the jungle. During the filming of such scenes, I kept in mind my father’s do’s and don’ts in the jungle. One of his advices was that to outdo our enemies, we must ensure that animals can’t sense our presence.”
Although Langgi had been exposed to physical training in the army, he had to go through challenges during filming.
“It (acting) was emotionally and mentally challenging.
“We even had to spend an entire day to shoot a scene just to get it right.
“I am indebted to the production crew and fellow actors, who had supported and coached me.”
The movie stars Adi Putra, Johan As’ari, Ruzana Ibrahim, Jerrica Lai and Jimmy Leong. It opened in cinemas yesterday.
“I hope people, especially Sarawakians, will learn many things after watching the movie. I hope we can continue to appreciate the sacrifices made by our ancestors to protect our land.”
Kanang was born in Julau, Sarawak, on Mar 2, 1945.
In 1962, he joined Sarawak Rangers as an Iban tracker. At that time, the para-military force was part of the British army. He was absorbed into Malaysian Rangers in 1963.
Kanang had been conferred many awards, including Panglima Gemilang Bintang Kenyalang, Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa and Pingat Gagah Berani, a medal for bravery.
The nation mourned when Kanang died of a heart attack at Sarawak General Hospital here on Jan 3, 2013.
He was 68.
Corporal Langgi Kanang hopes people will learn many things from watching the film.