City of dreams

Kolumpo gives us a look at Kuala Lumpur through the colour­ful sto­ries of its peo­ple.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By AZHARIAH KAMIN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

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.

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