The cast of "Mamak Cupcake" (L-R), Maria Farida, Natasha Hudson,
Siti Saleha, Shaheizy Sam, Faizal Ismail, Azad Jazmin and Veerasingam.
Local film, "Mamak Cupcake" met the cast and crew of the food based film that mixes culture and food- two of Malaysia's favourite things! – and talked to them on how they made the comedy film happen with such a medley of topics that's close to home.
Cinema Online managed to interview the following people; director Woo Ming Jin, scriptwriter M Zulkifli Abdul Jalil, producer Tengku Iesta Tengku Alaudin, and the film's cast members including Shaheizy Sam, Faizal Ismail, Azad Jazmin, Natasha Hudson and Veerasingam.
Why did you suddenly decide to write a story about Mamak and cupcakes which are totally unrelated with each other?
Zulkifli: Well, I wrote the script three years ago, during that time, cupcakes was a craze amongst everyone especially the teenagers who love cupcakes. That is when Ahmad Izham Omar, the story originator came to me with a premise regarding Mamak and cupcakes and gave me ideas to write a story about it. From the simple premise, we managed to create different types of characters for the film and a story.
Do you by any chance love Mamak food and cupcakes?
Zulkifli: To be honest, I do love both of them. That is why I think it would be interesting to combine the two unrelated things together. Overall, I am quite satisfied with the result of the film, because it really turned out to be really interesting. It's a warm-hearted comedy family film where the audience can enjoy the two different cuisines at the same time.
Can you share your experience of working as a scriptwriter for the first time?
Zulkifli: It was really fun, but the annoying part is that you have to make a lot of drafts. The producer and director are very fussy and troublesome, even if it's just a word or even a letter, you have to change it to accommodate to their demands. However, it does not matter even if you have a script, because with an actor such as Azad Jazmin he would definitely not follow it. Every time I write a joke, he would give me a different joke on screen but thankfully his jokes are quite funny too.
Iesta, as a producer, why did you choose Shaheizy Sam as the main lead of the film?
Iesta: Well, I discussed it with the scriptwriter and director first regarding the casting. To tell you the truth, Sam does not look like a Mamak at all if you would just look at his face and features, which is why it would make the film more interesting because the audience will come to understand the twist of the story and why he looks like that after they watch the film.
The same reason applies to Azad Jazmin, he acts as Sam's brother in the film and we can see that both of them look nothing alike. But the audience will get it after they watch the film. Also, I really admire Sam for accepting this role because not many actors would be brave enough to take on this kind of role. It is not easy.
The filmmakers of "Mamak Cupcake" (L-R), producer Tengku Iesta Tengku Alaudin,
scriptwriter M Zulkifli Abd Jalil and director Woo Ming Jin.
So Sam, how did you manage to perfect the Mamak dialect considering that you are not actually a Mamak?
Sam: After going through the script a couple of times and shooting a couple of scenes, I realised that I need to be able to speak like my on-screen dad. My attempt to speak like my 'appa' still does not sound quite right, but with the assistance of Azad Jazmin, I managed to grasp the way of doing it right.
Of course, I would also like to thank my 'dad' (Veerasingam) and Uncle Acappan, I really love both of your dialects. Maybe I didn't get the dialect a hundred percent right, but I really did try my best. Also, I want the audience who watch the film to believe that Shaheizy Sam in "Mamak Cupcake" is truly a real Mamak, because I don't think anyone would believe that he is one based on just his physical appearance.
How about you Azad? Do you have any comments? What was it like working with Sam and all the other actors?
Azad: First of all, I super love Nasi Kandar which is one the famous Mamak cuisines, but I really dislike cupcakes, which is why in this film I act as the rebellious son who becomes a hip-hopper wannabe.
I have known Sam for a very long time, we're practically buddies. I used to act with him in several films before. He is really crazy. There was this one day when he suddenly came up to me and said "I want to be a Mamak", so I told him "You can't, you obviously look more like Javanese." That is when it all started; he wanted to audition for the role of Mamak in "Mamak Cupcake". Anyway, I am truly honoured that I got to work together with all the other actors in "Mamak Cupcake", it has been a great experience.
So Azad, since you are a real Mamak, did you act like a coach to all the other characters to get the Mamak groove on?
Azad: Not exactly. As you can see, the person that I have the most scenes with is Sam and frankly speaking, I don't believe in teaching or coaching, I don't really like teaching anyway. So for me, it was more like correcting what he did. Sam will just refer to me whenever he has uncertainties about his character or script lines and I'll just tell him the correct way of doing it. Sort of like sharing information regarding the Mamak culture.
Mr. Vee, how do you feel playing the role of Shaheizy Sam's father?
Veerasingam: Shaheizy Sam really touched my heart. I have been in this Mamak culture since 1973 and now acting alongside Sam is truly a wonderful experience. He always gave the proper response and reaction to everything which really touches my heart. His acting skills are superb, the way he acted during the love scenes, his naivety and innocence of the character are performed wonderfully. In fact, my son who is 14-years-old is inspired by his character and he is now already selling cupcakes.
"Mamak Cupcakes" looks delicious!
Since this film is mainly about cupcakes, how many of you really know how to bake cupcakes?
Natasha: I guess most of the ladies here should have some basic knowledge of cooking. My mother is a professional at baking cupcakes, so I learned a bit from her. However, I do know how to bake cookies and cakes, though I'm not especially good at them. And of course for the film, we do have a professional cupcake maker to help us on set. The cupcakes that you saw on the film were all made by her.
Faizal, what about you? Do you have any experience with cupcakes?
Faizal: Truthfully, no. I don't have any experience at making cupcakes, I only eat them. However, I do think that acting in this movie is a challenge for me because it is my first time acting in such a film with all the cupcake ingredients and everything. But the whole film shooting has finished, I did learn a few basic steps on cupcake making. I pretty much created my own cupcakes.
So, what is the message that the film is trying to deliver to the audience?
Iesta: Never stop chasing your dream and always do what you like to do best!
Mr Woo, as the director of this film, do you have anything you would want to share regarding the film and your experience of working together with the cast?
Woo: It has been a great pleasure working with each one of them. They are all a bunch of awesome and talented people. Thankfully, the film turned out wonderfully as expected. It is a light, warm-hearted and funny family film suitable for all ages. Hopefully the audience will enjoy it as much as we do.
"Mamak Cupcake" is now showing in cinemas.
Cinema Online, 15 September 2014