A. RAZAK Mohaideen returns to familiar ground after last year’s breakthrough biopic movie, Chowrasta, where he paid tribute to former vice chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Tan Sri Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar.
He heads UiTM’s Film, Theatre and Animation (FiTA) faculty, which formed its very own production house, FiTA Studios, last year.
Razak, who rocketed to fame with his Anak Mami comedy film series in 2002, returns with the third Anak Mami film after Anak Mami The Movie (2002) and Anak Mami Kembali (2005).
All three movies pay homage to the Anak Mami communities in his hometown, George Town, Penang.
Anak Mami Nasi Kandaq is the second FiTA Studios film after Chowrasta, and marks Razak’s first on-set reunion with Fasha Sandha (who was the lead in Anak Mami Kembali).
This movie also features Nur Risteena, Ezzaty and Amylia Natasya, all Razak’s proteges who made their film debuts in Chowrasta. Thankfully, they hold their own in every scene, even though the storyline gradually turns predictable.
Of the veterans, Sheila Mambo is the only familiar face, having appeared as different characters in the past movies.This time, Razak pairs her with a more youthful love interest in the form of Pak Man Telo.
While it is good that Razak has toned down the “over the top” humour of his last two movies, Pak Man and Sheila have recycled dialogue from earlier instalments instead of fresh jokes. Fortunately, their great chemistry makes up for it.
Anak Mami Nasi Kandaq is about Nizam (Pak Man), who runs a nasi kandar restaurant. The single father has five daughters, Fuziah (Fasha), Fitri (Risteena), Farah (Ezzaty), Fatin (Amylia) and Fify (Elisya Sandha). Apart from Fify and Fatin, who are still students, the girls have their own daytime jobs.
Though a loving father, Nizam is also a strict disciplinarian. One day his old flame, Kalsom (Sheila), opens a stall outside his shop, assisted by her son, Farid (Qi Razali).
When it attracts more customers than his establishment, Nizam seeks help from pals, Husin and Akhlak (Azmir and Azhari Zain) who advise him to include his daughters in the restaurant’s day-to-day management, to trigger a steady stream of male customers.
When Nizam gets his daughters to take orders and promote his latest recipes, his business picks up at the expense of Kalsom’s.
Not about to give up on her illegal stall, Kalsom sends Farid to infiltrate Nizam’s establishment and uncover his trade secrets. To do so, Farid pretends to be a drag queen named Faridah since Nizam stopped hiring new male staff.
While Fuziah demands that Farid stop fooling around, Fitri falls in love with him. Meanwhile, romance also blossoms between Nizam and Kalsom. They were once an item, but a misunderstanding had caused her to leave him.
Qi, who is best known for hosting travelogues, breaks out of his comfort zone in this movie. His first drag role on the big screen is believable and makes audiences laugh out loud.
Fasha looks more matured and strong now, as the alpha female who teaches her sisters to stand up for themselves. Her lines are as witty as ever too.
Most of the rib-tickling antics come from Fuziah’s younger sisters, and Elisya is the most natural of the lot, as the youngest sister Fify.
Supporting actors Azmir and Azhari, a veteran of Razak movies, also provide lots of laughs. But the real stars are obviously the girls and Farid.
Although Anak Mami Nasi Kandaq doesn’t have a strong storyline and many of its jokes seem recycled, it’s still a heart-warming tale and a hilarious look at the funny side of Penang’s colourful community and its iconic dishes.