Pekin Ibrahim is no stranger in the local film industry, with him being one of the talented actors and directors there are out there.
The actor, whose real name's Mohd Iznan Ibrahim, is also known as being selective towards any acting projects that come his way.
Not to be one of those people who forget their roots once they became famous, the reason behind his action is to ensure the quality of every production and to keep challenging his acting capability.
Hence, when "Suatu Ketika" helmer Prakash Murugiah approached him to star in the movie, the actor agrees to it without skipping a beat.
Cinema Online was recently invited by Kash Pictures to the filming location of "Suatu Ketika" in Cyberjaya, where we had the opportunity to have a chat with Pekin.
"Suatu Ketika" details the struggles experienced by a group of multiracial students in training to defeat their much stronger opponents in a football competition. Despite feeling discouraged, there is always a person who will be there to inspire and motivate the team to strive for their success.
Let's take a look at our interview with the talented actor who shares his experience throughout the filming of "Suatu Ketika".
Cinema Online: What can you tell us about your role in "Suatu Ketika"?
Pekin: In this movie, I am playing the role of a countryside school teacher named Cikgu Sulaiman. The character that I'm portraying is someone who lacks confidence and befriends a gardener who is played by Namron. It is this gardener who keeps motivating him while helping him along the way.
What pushes you to take on this project?
Prakash, the director, and I actually go way back. He told me about the film before in 2011, and I was very impressed with the storyline when I read the script then. However, the script was still in working process at the time. But once it's finalised and Prakash came offering the role to me, I reread the script and didn't even take long to accept it.
What I saw in this movie is that it is very different and has yet to be done by others. So, I look at it as a precious opportunity for me to be in a film of this genre. As you might have known, I am always on the lookout for works that could challenge my acting capability, and this fits the bill.
Are there any other reasons that attracted you to it?
What I can see is that other directors nowadays are more drawn towards action films, but with Prakash, he instead came out with this epic idea of producing a movie set in the '50s. I also felt that the vibe of this movie is similar to that of the great Indonesian film "Laskar Pelangi".
What are some of the challenges that you had while playing Cikgu Sulaiman?
For me personally, the role does not serve any huge difficulties, since we are exposed to teacher way back when we were in school. I also do not feel the need of finding other references, since I already know what the role entails. The only hardship I faced is the wardrobe. Since our movie is set in the '50s, all the details like the way and style of how I am dressed need to be fitting of the era.
We have also decided to use the standardised Malay language to make the dialogue more children-friendly. If we were to speak Malay like how they used to back then, I'm not too sure if people can understand, much less be interested to watch it.
We were made known that you are involved in some of the acting classes that Namron held for the child actors in the movie; can you elaborate more on it?
I was actually just being Namron's helper for the classes. I am happy for all the young actors as they are very lucky to be able to learn from such a great teacher. You know, not everyone can have such an opportunity. I also use it as a medium to enhance my acting performances.
What are your expectations for the film when it opens later?
I hope that the film could pull audiences of all ages and races to the cinema with it being a movie serving as an inspiration for unity.
I also heard that the director and producer are planning on bringing "Suatu Ketika" to some international film festival. I am 100% on board with that idea because I feel like the movie has the perfect element of capturing our country's multiracial identity. It would also show the peaceful and harmonious lifestyle that we have here despite us having different races and religions.
What can you tell us about your future projects?
After this film wraps, I will be appearing with a new action film titled "KL Wangan". That movie is currently in post-production and expected to be completed soon. That film, which I directed and acted in, is expected to meet its audience at the end of this year. Other than that, I also have a documentary coming up which I helped produce titled "Madness of Borneo". For this documentary, my team and I are planning on screening it worldwide.
(Photo source: The Star | Irsyadi Ismail)