Syamsul Yusof wants to be a versatile director.
After keeping silent for a few years from directing following the disappointment of his action film "KL Gangster 2" getting leaked and pirated before its official release, Syamsul Yusof makes a comeback with a horror film titled "Munafik".
This is Syamsul's second horror film after 2011's "Khurafat" where it had made a collection that broke the box office.
However for "Munafik", the director explains how the movie is not just another horror film as it focuses on the balance between the story of modern life and the existence of the supernatural.
"Munafik" tells the tale of Adam, an Islamic medical practitioner who cannot accept the death of his wife due to a hit-and-run accident. He later agrees to treat a lady named Maria who is disturbed by a demon, but he then has to deal with a range of mystical experiences.
The film stars great local actors such as Nabila Huda, Fizz Fairuz, Pekin Ibrahim, Sabrina Ali, A Galak, Datuk Rahim Razali and Syamsul himself. During the recent gala preview of "Munafik" at GSC One Utama, the director talked about why he chose to return to his horror roots.
The cast of "Munafik".
Cinema Online: Will your disappointment from your previous film lessen if your latest film receives a great box office collection?
Syamsul Yusof: To be honest, I'm already content with what's to happen in the future. This film is very personal to me. Whatever that has been trapped in my heart, I've took it out and expressed it in this film. I also did not place high hopes for this film because it is undeniable that "Munafik" has a deep storyline. My production team and I have already given our best, it is now up to the public to view it.
You've mentioned that the film "Munafik" has a deep storyline, can you elaborate what makes it so?
The title of "Munafik" itself is quite sensitive because when it comes to religion, everyone has their own opinions, but what I can say is, if the movie is watched and understood, InsyaAllah the viewers can receive the message I have wanted to convey in this film.
In the movie, there are a few verses from the Al-Quran that was portrayed; did you refer to any authoritative body for that?
Yes, of course. For the rulings and verses from the Al-Quran, I referred to the Film Censorship Board (LPF) as they have the experience. At first I was scared too if my readings were incorrect, but Alhamdulillah everything is okay.
What were the challenges or unforgettable moments while filming "Munafik"?
We did not have a single problem while filming, but one thing I cannot forget is when we were filming the final scene in an old bungalow in Puchong. Previously, I've heard a lot of stories about that bungalow. However, thank God there were no unwanted experiences other than the last scene where we faced some difficulties to get the camera to focus even after several attempts.
Is this your way of preaching in films?
I would like to insert religious elements in every film and if possible, I hope other directors can do the same. I do not want people to view Islam as a narrow-minded religion because we can vary the actual characters and script.
All the movies you have directed thus far have received good response from the audience. So can you say that you now really do understand what the audience wants?
Actually, I am still searching for what the audience wants. This is because I believe the audience now have already matured and can scrutinise a film. So what is important for a director is to work harder and to find new ideas that will attract the audience's attention. Indirectly, this will make the directors provide something different from the norm.
The film "Munafik" produced by Skop Productions is now showing.
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Cinema Online, 01 March 2016