Local director S.T. Bala hopes to bring something new to the table in his upcoming film: courtroom drama.
It’s The Moment Yang Arif, produced by Fenomena Seni Produksi, will chronicle the court proceedings of a rape case that shakes the nation.
“As far as I know, we don’t often see a film set in the courtroom here. Our viewers rarely get to see what happens in there.
“Is it the same as the courtroom scenes we see through films in other countries?” says Bala during a press conference last week to promote the film.
But bringing the court room to life on the silver screen was no easy feat.
“It was the biggest challenge we faced in making this movie. The court scenes were shot in the second-half of the filming. I was terribly challenged. I was asking myself if I made a wrong move to choose such a story that has to be shot in the courtroom,” he shares.
“The actual court will never permit you to film. So we tried a few moot courts in universities but we still couldn’t get permission to shoot there. And we don’t have the budget to build a set.”
Production eventually took place in the moot court of a local private institution.
Bala, who also wrote the screenplay, adds the film incorporates the actual protocols and procedures that go on in a court proceeding with the help of a real-life lawyer who also stars in the film.
The director has previously released two Tamil-language films in Malaysia – Kaliyugha in 2012 and Sambanthan, a biopic of Tun V.T. Sambanthan, in 2014. He says working on the latter with a multi-racial cast inspired him to make It’s The Moment Yang Arif, a movie that will appeal to all Malaysians.
“The advantage of making a Malaysian movie is that there will be audiences from different races,” he says. Categorised as a Bahasa Malaysia film, It’s The Moment Yang Arif also sees its characters speaking in English, Mandarin and Tamil and features a line-up of over 40 actors from different races.
Lead actors Ross Hassan and Suriana Ab Wahab, or better known as Keena, play the alleged rapist and rape victim respectively.
Ross, a Singaporean actor based in Malaysia, has been acting for 10 years here and has starred in a total of 17 films and 34 dramas in a supporting role. “When I finally landed a lead role, I gave it my all,” the actor says.
Meanwhile, Keena, who was a contestant on the third season of reality singing series Mentor, admits she was apprehensive about taking on the role initially.
“At first when I got this role and I found out that my character gets raped, I didn’t want it, I was afraid it might spark controversies,” shares Keena who later adds the alleged rape is not depicted on screen.
But when she read the script, the actress and singer was taken by its unique court room setting.
Keena says the film allowed her to stretch her acting skills as she needed to convey her character’s strong emotions besides helping to improve her command of English (Keena took English classes as she had to deliver some of the dialogues in English).
She also performs the film’s theme song, Permata.
It’s The Moment Yang Arif hits cinemas nationwide on March 10.