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Zizan Razak’s popular character Mael Lambong comes to the big screen, writes Dennis Chua
TERENGGANU’S celebrated funnyman Zizan Razak created the character Mael Lambong during his days in Raja Lawak.
Mael is a professional, incorruptible car repossessor who works round the clock. No one is able to bribe him, and even tow truck operators and drift kings become his “victims”.
One day, a woman named Maria hops into Mael’s car and tells him to drive her to the East Coast. Hot on their heels is a lone gunman.
Maria reveals herself as a government agent who is out to bust a cyber-crime ring. As an upright citizen, Mael vows to help her.
Mael Lambong marks Zizan’s second film with director Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri of Excellent Pictures. They last worked together in Hantu Bonceng last year.
Joining them is Juliana Evans, who played the antagonist in Hantu Bonceng, and Taiyuddin Abu Bakar who played Zizan’s sidekick in that movie.
Ahmad Idham says: “Zizan, Taiyuddin and Juliana are brilliant actors and work great as a team. I decided to rope them in for another adventure.”
Juliana, who plays Maria, finds her ballet and taekwondo lessons handy for the movie.
“I learnt martial arts and dance during my schooldays and they have equipped me for the role of Maria, a kick-butt agent,” says Juliana who is studying film in Western Michigan University, the United States, and will graduate in 2014.
She often stars in serious roles and Mael Lambong is her second comedy after Hantu Bonceng.
“I love working with Zizan because he is funny, and a great teacher. The story is set in his home state and it’s a great opportunity for me to know the East Coast better,” says the actress who comes from Perak.
Zizan is impressed with Juliana’s martial arts skills.
“In one scene, she introduces herself with a few kicks and punches and they hurt!,” he says. “Nevertheless, we still had the stuntmen do most of the combat scenes.”
While Zizan created Mael, he gave Ahmad Idham a lot of liberty in developing the comical car repossessor’s character.
“Ahmad Idham knows Mael in and out and we spent a lot of time together plotting his big screen adventure,” says Zizan. “While we made him more serious, his wit, clumsiness, loudness and most of all, patriotism, are intact.”
Mael’s love interest in the movie is Rozie, played by Singaporean actress Shenthy Feliziana Sudirman, who last appeared in Ahmad Idham’s Gerimis Mengundang The Musical at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur.
This is Shenthy’s first Malaysian movie, and she enjoyed herself throughout the month-long shooting in Kemaman, Dungun and Kuala Lumpur last year.
“Rozie is a demure kampung girl who follows her heart. Mael is the love of her life and she is upset when her mother gets her engaged to village bully Taiger,” says Shenthy, adding that she is a big fan of Zizan and feels honoured to play his love interest.
Zizan and Ahmad Idham have added more than one twist to the plot. Ahmad Idham says: “At one point, Mael meets two men who reveal themselves as government agents. They tell him Maria is actually a thief.
“When he and Rozie confront Maria, she insists she is a government agent and says that the two men are the real thieves.”
Zizan says there are clues for viewers to figure out who is telling the truth. One of the clues is the use of gas.
Taiyuddin, who shot to fame in Mukhsin, says his character Taiger aka Faizul is the deputy headman of his village.
“Mael and Taiger have long been enemies. Taiger used magic on Rozie’s mother to make her trust him and despise Mael,” he says.
Ahmad Idham says while this is Mael’s movie debut, it will not be his only big screen appearance. “If Mael Lambong is a hit with movie goers, he is likely to be back.”
Zizan agrees. “I’d love to see more of Mael on screen, as he symbolises the every man-made-good through honest work.”
He plans to write movie scripts, not only for himself but for his good friends such as Fara Fauzana and Johan Lim.
“Mael Lambong is a first for me in many ways. It’s my first movie shot in my hometown of Kemaman, and features some of my relatives as extras. It’s also the first time I am the love interest of a Singaporean actress,” he says.
Mael Lambong also stars Ahmad Idham in a cameo role, Azwan Annuar, Dian P. Ramlee, Siti Elizad Sharifuddin, Aziz M. Osman, Komeng, Shuib and Sabri Yunus.