Wait­ing for Aung San

The long awaited movie changes direc­tor, adding de­lays.

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Weekend | Cinema - BY ZON PANN PWINT

WILL the lat­est movie about Aung San film be­come a clas­sic like Richard At­ten­bor­ough’s 1982 Gandhi, or Steven Spiel­berg Lin­coln ? There has been great ex­pec­ta­tion and cu­rios­ity sur­round­ing the film ini­tially given to di­rect to Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi’s, but which changed hands.

Re­plac­ing the well-known direc­tor, Ac­tor Lu Min who has been en­trusted on Oc­to­ber 7 to write the script of Aung San’s bi­og­ra­phy, which re­lease has been long-de­layed since it was pitched in 2012

The well-known direc­tor Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi was pre­vi­ously as­signed to film­ing and rewrit­ing the script. As he failed to com­plete the script within the time al­lot­ted by the com­mit­tee, the lat­ter had as­signed ac­tor Lu Min to the task. Peo­ple raised con­cerns over Lu Min’s ap­ti­tudes as a screen­writer due to his lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence in writ­ing and di­rect­ing films. Lu Min made a name for him­self as a two-time Acad­emy award win­ner and for his per­for­mance in the 2005 Mys­tery of Snow and for di­rect­ing the his­tor­i­cal drama about King Kyan Sit the same year.

“My close friends and fam­i­lies en­join me not to take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause it was too heavy. In Myan­mar, crit­i­cism comes be­fore the work start. The crit­i­cisms are more destructive than con­struc­tive. I think I have to tol­er­ate that bur­den,” direc­tor Lu Min told The Myan­mar Times, a day af­ter ac­cept­ing the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on Oc­to­ber 8.

Ef­forts to film the Aung San movie be­gan in 2012 soon af­ter Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, daugh­ter of gen­eral Aung San ex­pressed her wish to make a biopic about her fa­ther’s life.

It has been six years into the process. The film­ing has been de­layed due to shortage of funds, lack of ex­pe­ri­ence in cre­at­ing such a biopic, di­ver­gence over the hir­ing of for­eign ex­perts, and the script.

Ac­tor Lu Min will freshen the orig­i­nal script writ­ten by direc­tor Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi and Wyne. The orig­i­nal script had been checked for his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy. The script in­cludes the pe­riod be­tween Aung San’s birth in 1915 and his as­sas­si­na­tion in 1947, cover­ing his early life, life as a sol­dier, po­lit­i­cal life, fam­ily life and his as­sas­si­na­tion.

“Bo­gyoke died young but he suc­cess­fully car­ried out many du­ties dur­ing short pe­riod of life. As mother Su (Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) said, film­ing Bo­gyoke’s life is doc­u­ment­ing the his­tory of in­de­pen­dence. The young gen­er­a­tion do not know about Bo­gyoke, fa­ther of the in­de­pen­dence,” Lu Min said.

Kyaw Kyaw Myo, for­mer foot­baller at KBZ foot­ball club gave up the ball for the screen to play Aung San in the biopic in 2012. He has been train­ing for six years for the role. The ac­tor is able to tell Bo­gyoke’s speeches in English and in Ja­panese and he is re­ceiv­ing horse rid­ing train­ing.

“For his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments such as the orig­i­nal Pan­long Agree­ment, re­lated min­istries will help us with them such. We have the cos­tumes Bo­gyoke wore,” he said.

For the car, U Zaw Htoo, an an­tique car col­lec­tor in Yan­gon has a sim­i­lar model, RC2874 (Woe­sely), sim­i­lar to Bo­gyoke’s ve­hi­cle and pro­duced the same year.

If re­quired, Buses used at Bo­gyoke Aung San’s time will be bor­rowed from a tour com­pany in Ba­gan which still uses them.

“Peo­ple’s ex­pec­ta­tions are too high. It’s my big­gest chal­lenge. They worry for the qual­ity of the film be­cause they love and re­spect Bo­gyoke. I want to ask the peo­ple not to worry. We have the bud­get and re­lated min­istries will pro­vide ma­te­ri­als if needed,” Lu Min added.

The film will be shot in 2019 and screened in 2020.

For­mer Bo­gyoke Aung San Film Ex­ec­u­tive Board au­di­tions ac­tors in 2012.

Photo: Zarni Phyo.

Ac­tor Lu Min speaks on Oc­to­ber 8.

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