"Ada Apa Dengan Dosa" is inspired by a true story
Writer: Ashraf Nasser
One of the scenes in "Ada Apa Dengan Dosa".
After two local movies decided to shift from opening in cinemas to releasing on on-demand television channel Astro First instead, now local movie "Ada Apa Dengan Dosa" (AADD) has also taken the same step.
The Pencil Pictures & Records film was originally scheduled to open in cinemas this September, but the uncertain condition which sees cinemas currently not allowed to resume operations just yet (it was only confirmed on 22 June that local cinemas will be allowed to reopen from 1 July onwards), producers took the safe step of premiering it on another platform on a much earlier date, namely 4 June.
The move proved to be a success for the Rahila Ali-directed movie as it received positive reception from viewers who praised the movie, calling it unique and touching.
"AADD" follows a girl, Aurora, who was born out of wedlock and is raised by a non-Muslim family in Europe. However, things change when she learns of her true heritage. Feeling pressured, she is helped by Khaliq and travels to Malaysia to find her biological parents.
Meanwhile, her birth mother Siti Zahrah is still haunted by her own sinful past while her birth father is now a well-known ustaz, Ustaz Aariz, who is trying to escape his sinful past in order to prevent tarnishing his reputation.
The movie stars the likes of Ashraf Muslim, Wanna Ali, Fasha Sandha, Adam Corrie, Fauziah Nawi and Harris Ismail.
Recently, Cinema Online had the chance to interview director Rahila Ali, who shared with us her experience of directing the movie.
Rahila Ali faced challenges directing "Ada Apa Dengan Dosa" on a tight schedule and budget.
Cinema Online: Can you tell us who came up with the idea for "Ada Apa Dengan Dosa"?
Cinema Online, 24 June 2020
Rahila: I actually came up with the idea myself. I've had this idea for a long time and finally I pitched it to producer Datuk Ayu Puteh, and Alhamdulillah she was intrigued and agreed to bring this movie to the big screen because of its different concept that revolves around the Islamic theme, which, when we think about it, is very seldom produced.
What sparked the idea for it?
"Ada Apa Dengan Dosa" is actually inspired by a true story, but I can't reveal whose. However, I changed the story a bit to make it more interesting to watch. I think of this movie as my "little preach" to the community.
Maybe many don't realise or want to bother about this but it does happen in our community, we just seldom hear about it because those who experience it don't want to reveal their shame to the public. All I can say is the movie will make the viewers feel what the characters feel. It's not only filled with messages, lessons and guidance, but also with emotions.
The producers and I also reached out to the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) after the script was completed and Alhamdulillah they had no issue with it and greenlit the script.
Did you choose the cast yourself or did the producers? And was it easy to get the actors you wanted?
The producers and I picked the cast members. For main character Aurora, we initially didn't know who to give it to, but I then suggested Wanna Ali, who is one of the producers' daughter. I didn't pick her because of that but because she spoke English fluently, which suited the role.
Others like Fasha Sandha and Ashraf Muslim, Alhamdulillah after they read the script, they straightaway agreed. Fasha is an actress who can play any character. While Ashraf agreed to star in the movie because he does tend to lean more towards Islamic-themed films. We also had no problem getting other cast members such as Adam Corrie, Fauziah Nawi and Haris Ismail.
What were the challenges that you faced during filming?
Personally, the challenge for me was making sure every actor was able to give their best since this is an emotionally heavy movie, so it required the cast to really play with their emotions .At the same time, we also had to face the cold weather in Scotland and had only 16 days to film due to our limited budget.
However, I am grateful that every cast and crew member gave their highest commitment, which enabled us to finish filming within our tight schedule.
The movie was supposed to open in cinemas this September but it was brought forward for an earlier release on Astro First. As the director, what's your comment on this?
I was a little aggrieved at first but I understood what the producers were facing, so I agreed with their decision to release the movie earlier on Astro First. We know that there are a lot of movies that have been delayed and if cinemas reopen, it's impossible for this movie to be released on its original date.
However, I am happy and grateful that the movie not only received a positive reception from viewers, but many also praised the storyline and hoped that it would have a sequel. If the movie does well, we will definitely consider one.
What will you be working on next?
I have one more romantic comedy film but I can't reveal any details for now. Apart from that, I am also set to direct a new family-themed drama soon. The drama's title and cast will be revealed soon too.