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Mamat Khalid's first foray into Tamil movies

Writer: Nor Inayah Ariffin


Mr. Director enjoying the live music in the rustic setting at the soft launch
30 May – Glimpses of Kollywood will be seen in director Mamat Khalid's latest dramedy titled "Estet", a theatrical feature that will bring together artistes from both Malay and local Tamil cinema. After his most recent noir-like offering "Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang" earlier in January, he looks set to gain fans among Indian movie lovers as well with his first foray into the Tamil movie world.

The story revolves around the lives of the diverse communities in a rubber estate who live and work together in harmony. The filmmakers are said to focus on this unique sense of belonging and mutual respect of the estate's residents and weave it together with dashes of humour and suspense, very much in the same style as Southern Indian movies, employing Kollywood-style stunts, another first for local Malay films. The theme song will be in Tamil and sung by Awie, plus dance sequences featuring approximately 300 dances will be choreographed and featured throughout the film.

Cast members including lead actors Farid Kamil, Shashi Tharan and Jasmine Michael

A big happy family!
Speaking at the soft launch for the film held at Padang Merbuk, Kuala Lumpur, Executive Producer from Production Company NAGAVXS Norhazifa Mohammad said that the idea for "Estet" was initially pitched to them as a telemovie, as their company has largely dealt with the production of telemovies since their inception in 2003. "However, after seeing the excitement and the passion with which Mamat Khalid was describing the story to us, we decided to give it a try as a feature film. NAGAVXS has never produced a feature film before, and it was like a godsend when we got the approval from FINAS to start work on this project," she added.

Mamat Khalid said that the film was also to showcase to the mainstream the sheer talent of our homegrown Tamil movie artistes. "People have asked me why I want to make a movie about a kampung. "Estet" is not about the kampung, it is a reflection on Malaysian society as a whole. Whether you live in urban or rural areas, people are people, and this film is a celebration of our lives as citizens on this country."

Executive Producer Norhafiza: "Mamat Khalid got us hooked to the idea."

Director Mamat Khalid: "The film is a reflection of Malaysian society as a whole."
He added, "All my films celebrate life, but in different ways. When I look at my peers from the Indian community, they have a lot of independent films out, but none that made it into the mainstream. So in making this movie, we are working together, both the Malays and Indians, to showcase our talents to the mainstream audience. I feel that it is truly something different and I can't wait for it to be done and for everyone to see it."

After the speeches, a specially choreographed dance was performed as a special treat for the guests and media, with actors Farid Kamil and Shashi Tharan getting into character and vying for the attention of actress Jasmine Michael who plays the leading female in the film.

Farid Kamil, Shashi Tharan and Jasmine Michael dancing!

The energetic dancers
"Estet" is to start shooting 1 June 2008. The cast lineup includes Farid Kamil, Rosyam Noor, Soffi Jikan, Shashi Tharan, Jasmine Michael, Kancana and David Arumugam (of Alleycats fame) who will be seen in his first acting role. Cinema Online, 30 May 2008


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