Actor Datuk Adi Putra may have been born and bred in the Lion City, but not only has he chosen Malaysia as his workplace, he is also as “Malaysian as everyone else” now.
The 37-year-old artiste said he had obtained Malaysian citizenship more than a year ago, and described himself as a “child of two nations”.
“When I arrived in Malaysia 16 years ago, I wanted to make Kuala Lumpur my workplace, nothing more. However, I soon fell in love with Malaysia’s warm, beautiful and charming people, and rich cultural heritage.
“So, I decided to get married and have children here,” he said at the launch of his film Mat Kilau at the Malaysian Film Development Corporation in Ulu Klang recently.
Adi said he would have loved to possess dual citizenship but it was not possible.
Thus, he chose to be a Malaysian because of better job prospects.
“I may have given up my Singaporean citizenship but when I look at the bigger picture, Singapore and Malaysia are like two siblings born from the same mother, Tanah Melayu, and that’s what I learnt when I was growing up.”
Adi said he initially wanted to keep his citizenship private, but decided to speak up following criticism from Netizens that he was not suitable for the role of Mat Kilau as he was a “foreigner”.
“I don’t see anything wrong if Singaporean actors are chosen to play ancient warriors of Malay states.
“Malaysia and Singapore share a common history,” he said, thanking director Syamsul Yusof and producers Rahman and Shahruddin Dali for casting him.
“I loved it when I played a Bugis warrior prince in U-Wei Saari’s film, Hanyut, six years ago.
“The character Daeng Maroola was fictional, but I could identify with him.”
He is fortunate to have learnt silat in his childhood, preparing him for action roles beginning with KL Gangster.
“I’m glad I can use my martial skills,” he said, adding that Indonesian actor and silat exponent Yayan Ruhian of Star Wars: The Force Awakens would choreograph the actors’ moves.
The filming of Mat Kilau began in Gombak on Sunday, and is expected to last three months.
Mat Kilau stars Fattah Amin, Beto Kusyairy, Johan As’ari and Wan Hanafi Su.
It is a joint venture between Studio Kembara and Skop Productions. It tells the story of a warrior from Pulau Tawar in Jerantut who fought British colonialism in the late 1890s.
The film will be released next year.