#Showbiz: Fighting for deeper meaning

LOCAL action film Walid, which opened in cinemas yesterday, is the second work of ambitious filmmaker Areel Abu Bakar.

Tackling the dark issue of child trafficking, the film also features an uncommon action hero in the form of actor, director and screenwriter Megat Sharizal.

As with his first film, Geran, in 2019, the many kinetic action sequences portray the local traditional Malay art of silat.


"For this new film, I still want to highlight silat as the main action element since I have deep interest in this particular self-defence art form.

"To me, film is a medium that enables the promotion of certain issues. So that is why I include various aspects into the story but I'm also intending for this to influence more people, especially youngsters, to learn the art of silat," said Areel.

The 37-year-old director added that silat was part of the Malay cultural heritage and should be further exposed to the masses.

"If possible, I would like to include silat in all of my projects."


Walid tells the story of a titular, kind and dedicated teacher who voluntarily tutors underprivileged children in a village.

To him, each child has a bright future ahead but everything changes after a few of his students mysteriously go missing.

When he sets out to investigate, he discovers that nefarious things are at work and decides to do something about it.

The film produced by Layar Pictures also stars Namron, Fad Annuar, Fieyna Tajudin, Puteri Qaseh, Shamputra and Yusran Hasim.

"For Walid, I chose actors who already had at least basic silat training since it's an action movie that features lots of fighting sequences.

"So this is one aspect of the film that I hope will attract cinemagoers."

Areel also hopes that people will appreciate the other layers to the work which highlight the plight of the underprivileged, child trafficking and the importance of education while also showcasing the country's cultural heritage to the world.


"I don't want to be comfortable and I work hard to show that we have talent here and we can showcase good works. I wanted to try something different and took the risk."

Walid was screened at the Cine Village in New York from July 28 to Aug 3 and at Leammle Glendale, Los Angeles from Aug 11 to 17 this year in the US.

Areel said if everything goes well, the film might also be screened in London next.

"I never feel that our local films are ordinary and I believe that they can travel far," he said.

Made on a budget of RM1.6 million, Walid took about a month to film in Jerai and other areas in Kedah in February 2022.


Megat, 41, said he was honoured to be able to play an atypical action hero.

"When I got the job to be in Walid, Areel had not yet revealed the actual roles that the actors would be playing.

"So I was really surprised when I was chosen to play the lead role, the hero. I was determined to get it right since it's my responsibility.

"During my almost 20-year career on screen I've never played a lead role, always just supporting parts.

"The film features a big-bodied hero and I'm really proud of the role. It's something different from the norm," said Megat, who learnt silat during his schooling years and represented the Federal Territories in martial arts competitions.


"I used to practise Silat Gayung Malaysia from the age of 14. For this, I did silat training, muay thai and lots of cardio workouts to prepare for the role."

Megat said it was challenging but things went quite smoothly with an unexpected twist.

"Areel didn't want me to lose lots of weight so I continued training and also got to eat, which was great," he said with a laugh.

Walid is currently screening in cinemas nationwide.

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