A city with soul

Home­grown movie Kolumpo has steadily found a spe­cial place in the hearts of malaysians.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - By azhariah Kamin en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

IT’S al­ways a good sign when a lo­cal movie per­forms be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions and as a bonus, at­tracts a crossover au­di­ence to the cine­mas. That’s the story of lo­cal in­de­pen­dent movie Kolumpo, which has been en­joy­ing a solid street buzz since its gen­eral re­lease ear­lier this month.

Kolumpo, an an­thol­ogy ef­fort made by three young film di­rec­tors – Sheikh Mu­nasar, Rozi Izma and ac­tor Bront Palarae – is a re­fresh­ing look at the dif­fer­ent sides of Kuala Lumpur that we may have for­got­ten to see, or maybe even never cared to look at be­fore.

The movie’s multi-racial cast in­cludes Shar­i­fah Amani, Azad Jas­min, Nell Ng, Mano Ma­niam, Soffi Jikan, Sabri Yunus, Sherry Al­hadad, Along Eyzandy, Radhi Khalid and Emely Poon.

In many ways, Kolumpo is a beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing col­lage of the hu­man con­nec­tions that give life to the city and is told in three multi-lin­gual short sto­ries.

The pos­i­tive re­views – in the main­stream cir­cles as well as so­cial me­dia – have def­i­nitely upped the pro­file of this movie in this busy fes­tive sea­son.

“The word-of-mouth from those who have watched the movie has helped a lot. Peo­ple are talk­ing about Kolumpo,” said Bront.

Most im­por­tantly, the film has won over the fickle movie-go­ing pub­lic here.

“Hon­estly, I hardly watch any lo­cal movies be­cause in­ter­na­tional movies – es­pe­cially block­busters – are more in­ter­est­ing. But Kolumpo is very re­lat­able to me be­cause it is re­al­is­tic. Kolumpo made me feel that it is safe to have a good night stroll in the city. That too is sign of hope!” said Ed­mund Loo, 25, a chemist.

Post grad­u­ate stu­dent Cor­rinne Lee, 29, was also pleas­antly sur­prised by Kolumpo’s re­al­ism, con­tem­po­rary edge and hu­man warmth.

“I don’t re­ally watch Malay movies ex­cept for some of Yas­min Ah­mad’s. I went in for Kolumpo with­out any ex­pec­ta­tion. All three sto­ries made me feel at home.” said the Ke­lan­tan-born stu­dent, who has lived in Kuala Lumpur for 10 years.

The per­sonal touch by the cast and crew in pro­mot­ing Kolumpo has also made a dif­fer­ence.

“We (di­rec­tors and ac­tors) have made a point of vis­it­ing the cine­mas on a daily ba­sis. As for my­self, I would greet the au­di­ence be­fore the screen­ing and thank them (af­ter­wards) for giv­ing our movie a chance. Yes I did that!” added Bront.

Apart from Bront, di­rec­tor Sheikh Mu­nasar and ac­tress Shar­i­fah Amani have been tire­lessly han­dling the meet-and-greet shifts at cine­mas in the Klang Val­ley.

Nell Ng is also do­ing her own style of pro­mot­ing the film. She has been mak­ing trips to see the movie with dif­fer­ent groups of friends.

“To date, I have made nine dif­fer­ent trips to the movie! I’m still or­gan­is­ing my own rom­bon­gan (group) of friends and rel­a­tives to watch it,” said Ng, who wants to get more of her English-speak­ing friends to watch the movie and give it a chance.

For vet­eran ac­tor Mano Ma­niam, he doesn’t look at the movie as a multi-racial ef­fort filled with cliches. For him, it is a Malaysian movie. Pe­riod.

“Per­son­ally, we shouldn’t look at it as a multi-racial movie. It is a movie which tries to give an hon­est look about Kuala Lumpur, it’s peo­ple and di­men­sions – the good and the bad,” he said.

The sen­ti­ment at the cine­mas in­di­cates that Kolumpo is one of those rare movies that is ca­pa­ble of cap­tur­ing the shared Malaysian ex­pe­ri­ence – with its heart­felt sto­ries and lo­cal an­gles.

“I don’t re­ally look at Kolumpo as a Malay movie but a Malaysian movie. The movie helps me to see the city dif­fer­ently now. I will even slow down my steps to ad­mire the beauty of the city,” said Sarawakian Teng Kiu Wee, 26, an engi­neer.

Fel­low film­maker Lina Tan ( Gol & Gincu and Kami fame) says that Kolumpo is high on her list be­cause of two main rea­sons.

“Firstly, it is pro­duced in­de­pen­dently by three new di­rec­tors. Se­condly, the theme – all fea­tur­ing (short film) sto­ries in Kuala Lumpur which are multi-racial and con­tem­po­rary. Ev­ery­one can re­late to the sto­ries in the movie,” said Tan.

Di­rec­tor Bernard Chauly ( Pisau Cukur, Good­bye Boys and Is­tan­bul Aku Datang) hopes that Kolumpo will cre­ate a new phe­nom­e­non of di­verse lo­cal movie pro­duc­tions.

“Kolumpo is for all Malaysians whether you are an ur­ban per­son or oth­er­wise. I re­ally like the fact that it com­bined two dif­fer­ent ac­tors that nor­mally wouldn’t be paired on-screen to­gether such as Nell Ng and Ru­mi­nah Sidek. It was magic!” said Chauly.

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