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Celebrities face their fears


The country’s first reality game show filmed at night is a test of the participants’ innermost fears, writes Dennis Chua

IN Panik, the country’s first reality game show filmed at night,  eight celebrities fight their fear of haunted buildings.

The six-episode show is produced by Aeizul Reeza Ismail (Seekers) and will be screened at 8.30pm on Wednesdays on ntv7 beginning Dec 5.

In this test of courage as well as mental and physical strength, celebrities were divided into Groups A and B and locked in a dark building in three tourist destinations.

They were the Penang War Museum in Bayan Lepas, Taman Botani Malaysia in Bukit Cahaya, Shah Alam and Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah.

In each episode, the contestants searched for items to unlock their team member from his or her prison.

Aeizul says it was a test of each contestant’s ability to face up to his or her worst nightmares and to grow stronger in the process.

“It is inspired by popular reality game shows as Seekers, Ghost Hunters, Fear Factor, Total Black Out and Estate Of Panic,” he says, adding that 30 celebrities were interviewed for the game over two months.

In the fourth episode, the winning team got RM2,000 while in the final episode, the team members competed against each other to win RM8,000.

The first and second episodes of Panik are in Bayan Lepas, while the third and fourth are in Shah Alam and the fifth and sixth are in Batu Gajah.

Group A comprises actors Danny Anwa (X-Factor), Shakilla Khoriri and Anis Al-Idrus and singer Marlon Antikoh (VIP). Group B comprises actors Melia Aimelia Zaidi, Ika Nabila Rahim, Ezany Nizariff and Juffry Rayyan Williams. Veteran actor Redzuan Hashim is the host.

Aeizul says: “The participants were chosen based on their individual personalities. Some may look macho but are afraid of the dark.”

During the interviews, each hopeful had to speak about his or her greatest fears and strengths.

“This helped us plan the challenges accordingly,” says Aeizul.

They were placed in groups through drawing of lots. Each team has an equal number of men and women. Aeizul describes the contestants as gutsy. “They had to think and complete tasks in the shortest time,” he says.

In one episode a contestant was locked inside a water tank and her team mates must break a secret code to free her.

“The water in the tank rose slowly and eels entered it, too. The more panicky they got, the more difficult the task was,” says Aeizul.

Panik was shot between 11pm and 4am, using infra-red camcorders.

Aeizul says: “It went beyond pure fear. It stirred an individual’s emotions with a mixture of the supernatural, obstacle courses and problem-solving.”

Redzuan, who is marking his debut as a game show host, says: “I had to sound commanding and intimidating, not unlike my KL Gangster character who was a gangster boss. Better still, I had two bodyguards and a nice car.” The bodyguards acted on his commands and nabbed unlucky contestants.

The show, conceptualised by executive producers Kamarul Zamli Ramly and Zafran Aziz, reminds viewers that if their favourite actors can conquer fear, they can too.

“While there were no mishaps, Melia seemed to have a loss of memory for 15 minutes. The bravest of the lot were Danny and Juffry,” says Aeizul who  will be shooting Seekers 9 in January. “The show will be in March, a joint venture with producers from the United States.”

Panik is Anis’ first game show. The Johorean has been an actress for two years. She is also a model and was Miss Sabah 2003.

“I starred in Tangisan Bulan Madu 2 with Ezany and Rita Rudaini,” says Anis who fears the dark. “Thank goodness for the head lamps we wore,” she says. Her most unforgettable nightmare was when she saw a ‘ghost’ in the distance,  a furry figure  somewhere in the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur.”

Shakilla, from Kuala Kangsar fears the dark too. “The first episode was terrifying. Anis, Danny, Melia and Juffri were imprisoned and we all had to rescue them,” she recalls. Still, she found it exciting.

Ika of Akademi Fantasia 6 fears the supernatural. “I braved myself to catch seven eels in the dark.” Her friends, actors Dafi Ismail and Akim Ahmad, are now in Fear Factor Malaysia, filmed in South Africa, and they encouraged Ika to fight her worst phobia by joining fear-busting reality shows.

“At first I wanted to audition for Fear Factor, but I declined because it was too far away from home,” says Ika.

Melia of Karipap-Karipap Cinta is afraid of wild animals.

“I’m the most timid contestant. It was shocking to be possessed for a brief time in my prison,” she says, referring to her 15-minute amnesia.

Kelantan-born Danny fears wild animals. Fortunately, there were none in Panik.

“As Group A leader, I motivated my fellow members and reminded them that safety always came first. We must work smart and voice out our problems,” he says. Danny grazed his arms in a fall, and found crawling in a tunnel in Penang most tiring. “This contest humanises all of us. I’m sure it’ll encourage our fans to fight their fears.

Kangar-born Ezany is delighted to be in his first game show. He says stamina was a big challenge. “Kellie’s was a tough challenge,” says Ezany who was a scout during his schooldays in Kangar. His father was in the army, and encouraged him to toughen up physically and mentally.

Juffry has been in Malaysia since 1992. The 28-year-old comes from Gold Coast in Australia. “I was a fireman seven years ago. My brother Nordin Abdullah is a film producer with Kaseh Dia,” he says.
It was Nordin who encouraged him to act.

“I was an assistant production manager for Haq, which Kaseh Dia produced. “It was there that I got bitten by the acting bug,” he says.

“I’ve learnt not to be too direct, especially in stressful situations,” he says.

Kota Kinabalu-born Marlon recently acted in KRU’s film 29 Februari as a Japanese soldier. He loves camping but fears wild animals, especially snakes.

“My band and our reality TV pals Adira, Ayu, Ekin, Nora and Stacy encouraged me to toughen up by joining this show,” he says.

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