City of dreams
Kolumpo gives us a look at Kuala Lumpur through the colourful stories of its people.
THERE is something about Kolumpo that will strike a bittersweet chord with those of us who came to the city years ago in pursuit of our hopes and dreams.
The city of Kuala Lumpur, or KL or even “Kolumpo” as some of us know it, has been immortalised on screen in hundreds of different ways before.
But Kolumpo gives audiences a fresh and diverse look at the city – it is a beautiful and interesting collage of human connections which give life to the city, told in three multilingual short stories.
Kolumpo, told entirely through the eyes of three young filmmakers (Sheikh Munasar, Rozi Izma and Bront Palarae), boasts a cast list packed with talented stars like Sharifah Amani, Ruminah Sidek, Mano Maniam, Nell Ng, Soffi Jikan, Sabri Yunus and more.
In the film, we first meet Rahul (played by Azad Jasmin), an Indian immigrant who arrives in the city with high hopes of making money, only to discover that the company that offered him a job has gone out of business. He is then helped by a local restaurant owner and begins his life in KL as an illegal immigrant worker.
There’s also Gienna (Ng), a Chinese woman in her 30s who is constantly avoiding phone calls from her mother. One day, she finds herself spending an afternoon help- ing a stranger, Nek Wok (Ruminah), a senile woman who can’t remember where she lives.
Meanwhile, Hafidd (Amirul Ariff) has a chance meeting with a stranger named Hayy (Amani) at the LRT station and is taken by her beauty.
From Central Market to KLCC to Setapak, Kolumpo’s entertaining story weaves a tale of hope and dreams as diverse as the people of the city itself.
According to Bront, 35, the idea of Kolumpo had been tossed around in conversations between him, Sheikh Munasar and Rozi Izma Abdul Karim for a long time.
“The story just developed over time. Whenever we were free we would work on it individually. Originally, the idea was to make three little short films set in Kuala Lumpur. In the course of writing the script, we realised that we were writing stories of hopes and dreams, all set in different demographics.
“Some of the issues are heavy but we tried to do it in whimsical ways,” said Bront, who directed the first story about Rahul.
He added that the hardest thing about making the film was the deadline – each of them was only given a week to shoot their individual stories.
The film was produced under Otto Films, which Bront co-founded with three other friends (Sheikh Munasar, Rozi and James Wong) in 2010. The actor and filmmaker admitted that it was a tough challenge collaborating with two other directors on a single movie, even though they had their own part.
“But it had been both fun and challenging. Kolumpo pays homage to KL, how different people interpret and see the city in different light.
“The best part is I managed to arm-twist all my good friends to appear in the movie, with Yuna performing a song, too!” said Bront cheekily.
For Sheikh Munasar who wrote and directed the story of Hafidd, the ideas came from his own experiences of living in the city when he arrived 10 years ago from Johor Baru.
“But I wouldn’t say it is all based on my own experience as I did mix it with my friends’ experiences as well,” said Sheikh Munasar, 30, better known as Moon.
For him, working with Bront and Rozi wasn’t a problem.
“We all have known each other for a very long time. This movie started off as just a small project but as we got into it, we realised that it actually had the potential to be a big feature. We don’t really have any problems as directors sharing one film, because we respect each other and share our ideas,” said Moon whose producing credits include the award-winning TV commerical projects like Tan Hong Ming, Murai and MCYS Singapore.
He added that after the three of them realised the connection of their stories, they sat down with Wong and worked on how to improve them, as well as to look for funds to produce the film.
They first approached Finas for a short film grant. However, since they are active players in the industry, the officer advised them to apply for a creative industry loan
Funnymen Harith Iskander, Douglas Lim and Kuah Jenhan are tasked to dish out the laughs in English during the show. “Harith is an established comedian, Douglas is known for his fresh content and Jenhan, an up-andcoming comedian, will pump new blood to the show,” Hans said about the acts. “They will each perform a 30 to 40-minute set before ending the night with a (three-way) collaboration.”
Harith and Lim will also perform alongside hilarious duo, Jambu – Zamatul Amri and Yussry Edo – and Nabil of Raja Lawak fame in the rest of the shows in Bahasa Malaysia. instead. Thus, the production company Otto Films is formed.
“So here we are now. The movie was produced for RM1.1mil and I really hope the audiences will come to the cinemas with an open mind and enjoy the movie,” said Moon.
Kolumpo opens in cinemas nationwide today.
To the city we go: ruminah Sidek (left) and Nell Ng in a scene from Kolumpo.
Kolumpo directors Sheikh munasar (left) and bront Palarae.