Singaporean actor Adi Putra gets ultra manipulative on the big screen in his new film, writes Dennis Chua
HE is a man of many faces, having played kind-hearted gangster Jai in the KL Gangster movies, an amnesiac in Aku Terima Nikahnya, a religious teacher in Suami Aku Ustaz, among others.
In March, Adi Putra will play a good-for-nothing brother-in-law addicted to drugs. The character is the antagonist in director Kamal G’s first movie, Makrifat Cinta, which also stars Syamsul Yusof, Nabila Huda Suhaimi, Nora Danish and award-winning pre-teen actress Puteri Balqis Azizi.
Adi says: “The name of the movie may denote a love story but it refers to the protagonist’s determination to have a better life for himself, his wife and daughter.
“Syamsul is the hero, Mahathir, who is based on a real businessman friend of the edirector. The movie is the businessman’s biopic.”
The story follows the humble beginnings and hard work the business man puts in to become a self-made millionaire.
Mahathir, Adi adds, is depicted by Syamsul as an innovative businessman who comes up with a state-of-the-art computer application. But the tycoon’s journey to fame is full of challenges, and Adi’s character Rizal is the biggest among them.
“Rizal is a jobless bum. Worse, he is addicted to drugs and depends on his sister, Mahathir’s wife Zara (Nabila), for money to get his next narcotic fix.
“He is extremely manipulative and easily dupes his sister into helping him, while becoming a menace to the family after tricking her into whittling away Mahathir’s hard-earned savings,” says Adi.
Rizal also makes use of Sofia (Nora), another woman who is attracted to Mahathir, to cheat him. “This character is a subtle villain, who uses gentle persuasion and cunning manipulation to get what he wants.
“It’s much more difficult to play such a vile person than a nasty one who just shoots from the hip,” says the hunky actor.
But Adi adds that Rizal is not a totally despicable person. According to him, viewers will get to see his redeeming qualities, and how he helps Mahathir’s business to grow by the end of the film.
“Some villains still have a few noble qualities buried inside,” says Adi of his character.
FRESH AND INSPIRING STORY
When asked about Kamal and production company Dhananwood Films, Adi says Syamsul invited him to star in the movie, a first for Dhananwood. “I had a look at the script and found it exciting. I decided to get on board with the project. I love working with new filmmakers who possess fresh ideas, and Kamal is one of them,” says Adi, adding that the director picks stories about inspiring Malaysians.
While action scenes are synonymous with Adi’s movies, Makrifat Cinta does not have them. “It’s good to have an occasional break from action scenes, as they are tiring.”
When asked what he liked best about the new movie, Adi said it was getting to converse in Tamil with the film crew. He explains that the crew of 150 had nine cameramen from India. Among the cast were also local Indian actors in minor roles.
“We all got along well and had good chemistry, which made it a blast to work together,” he says.
The actor says that he would love to star in another movie featuring his KL Gangster character Jai. “He is a gangster with a conscience, who gives protection to the downtrodden,” says Adi before ending the interview at Menara KH in KL recently, where he was filming a scene from Makrifat Cinta with Syamsul.
A TOUCH OF SKOP
WHILE Kamal G is the man behind Makrifat Cinta, he received some solid help from Skop Productions’ actor and filmmaker Syamsul.
“I’ve been a fan of Skop’s movies and its TV series Gerak Khas,” says the director from Ipoh, Perak.
“Makrifat Cinta is my first movie and we shot it in 35 days around the Klang Valley,” he says of the RM2 million movie that will be screened in India in February 2017.
Kamal, a director for eight years, first found fame making a drama for Astro Vaanavil, titled Continuous Relationship, in 2003.
“I first approached Syamsul for the role of Mahathir, and from there, he suggested other actors to play the protagonist’s family members.”
Kamal says Syamsul also helped him to improve the script, which made the movie more entertaining.
“With his experience as a director, Syamsul also guided me by giving comments on each movie scene, and how to make them better.”
Producer Dr B. Moorthy admires the superb team work by the cast members, saying: “I hope more actors can emulate this dedicated, disciplined cast.” He and Kamal plan to make movies about Malaysians who beat the odds to become successful in business, science, arts and sports.
At the time of the interview, he explained that the movie was 80 percent completed.
“We’ve got two more scenes involving Mahathir at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.”