Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir (NSTP/FILE PIC)
Ning Baizura (NSTP/FILE PIC)

KUALA LUMPUR: Mahathir: The Journey, director Dr Hatta Azad Khan's new biopic about the triumphant return to the premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will go ahead despite objections from "certain quarters".

Reliance Media Group Sdn Bhd producer Yusuf Kelana said the film would commence filming early next month even though social activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, the daughter of the Prime Minister is against it.

“The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has given the green light for the biopic and it will soon send official letters to the cast and crew.

“We have started work on the film seven months ago and the script has been reviewed 12 times before the PMO gave 100 per cent approval.

“Consequently, we only announced the film and its main cast after getting the PMO's approval,” said Yusuf in a news report today.

He also said that "some individuals" might not agree with the storyline, but what mattered most was that the PMO had given it the "go ahead".

“All of the main characters are important people in the life and journey of Dr Mahathir," said Yusuf.

Yesterday, social activist Marina said that she and her family members did not know about the film.

She tweeted that she only got to know about her character in the film from news reports.

“No endorsement from any of us for this," tweeted Marina.

“My family prefers not to have any biopic, musical or production about us, because it is embarrassing."

Yusuf said that the role of Marina was important because she was the Prime Minister's eldest child.

“The film is about Dr Mahathir and his struggle, not about Marina, but she is an important character in his story, being his daughter,” he said.

Yusuf also said that shortly after the film was launched last Monday, his company contacted one of Marina's assistants, and singer-actress Ning Baizura who will be playing Marina also contacted her.

Mahathir: The Journey, set for a July 2020 release will be filmed over two months beginning Dec 15 in Langkawi, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Hiroshima, Japan.

The film focuses on Dr Mahathir's political activities between the end of his first premiership on Oct 31, 2003 and his return as the country's seventh Prime Minister on May 10, 2018.

Playing the titular role is Azhar Amir who has acted in a string of popular TV dramas as Suri Hari Mr Pilot, Hero Seorang Cinderella and Suami Sebelah Rumah.

Hatta said the film would be released in time for Dr Mahathir's 95th birthday on July 10, next year.

Mahathir: The Journey is produced by Datuk Seri Alan Kuang, Datuk Jacky Poh, Dr Lawrence Poh, Taha Wahid, Yusuf and Anuar Che Embi.

It also stars Fauziah Latiff (Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali) Ning (Marina), Afique Hussain (Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir), Datuk Hilal Azman (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), Dian P. Ramlee (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail), Lisdawati (Nurul Izzah Anwar), and Dazrin Kamarudin (Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman).