Makrifat Cinta is the first feature film from locally-based Dhananwoodd Films.

It was in the limelight recently for an incident involving its star Syamsul Yusof, who broke his shoulder while performing a stunt. During a set visit in Kuala Lumpur, director Kamal G shared details of the RM2mil film.

1. It’s inspired by a true story 

Ipoh-born Kamal, 32, said the film is about a man named Mahathir, who is struggling to provide for his wife (played by Nabila Huda) and daughter (Puteri Balqis). He strives to change his life by developing an app.

In the meantime, he faces challenges from brother-in-law Rizal, a drug addict who causes a major rift between him and his wife.

Adi Putra who plays Rizal described his character as a greedy, manipulative, man. “Unlike other villains I’ve played where I get really physical, Rizal uses his words and people’s emotions to get what he wants,” he said.

Makrifat Cinta is a story inspired by Kamal’s friend: “When I heard his story, I was really moved. I asked him if I can visualise how he overcame his struggle for a movie. He said OK, with the condition I don’t reveal his identity.”

2. Syamsul Yusof wasn’t convinced by the director’s first draft

Kamal is a big fan of Syamsul’s work as a director (“KL Gangster was phenomenal!”). So a mutual friend arranged a meeting. Understandably, Kamal was nervous about pitching the idea of Makrifat Cinta to Syamsul: “I spent the whole night thinking of what to say to him.”

While Syamsul was impressed by Kamal’s ambition, he was not convinced of the script. He advised Kamal to make some changes: “The first 10 minutes is crucial to draw the audience in, to keep them interested and engaged. So I told him something needs to be done about the pacing.”

Kamal rewrote the script accordingly and, in turn, Syamsul agreed to star in the film.

But why would Syamsul – a three-time Malaysia Film Festival winner for Best Director – agree to star in a film directed by a newcomer?

He said that Kamal reminded him of himself. “When I started out as a director, I just wanted someone to give me the chance to prove myself. I know it’s hard being new in the local film industry. Kamal deserved a chance.”

3. Syamsul roped in Nabila Huda, Adi Putra, Puteri Balqis and Nora Danish for the movie

Kamal credited Syamsul for helping him cast big names in Makrifat Cinta. Syamsul used his starpower and connections to convince the likes of Nabila (his award-winning lead actress in Munafik), Adi (KL Gangster star), Balqis and Nora to be in the movie. Syamsul explained to them that Kamal is a visionary director who is not doing a typical love story.

“I said ‘Trust me!’ and that’s all it took for everyone to agree.”

4. It features a RM70,000 “money shot”

This particular interview with Syamsul, Adi and Kamal took place at Menara KH in KL. The cast and crew were there from 6am to shoot a pivotal scene at the building’s helipad. Kamal said the shoot, complete with a red helicopter, cost RM70,000.

“It’s an important scene. It shows how far Mahathir has come in his life,” Kamal stated.

Apart from Menara KH, Makrifat Cinta was also shot in KLIA and Putrajaya.

5. A Tamil version is in the works

Kamal is also developing a Tamil language version to be marketed in India. He hopes to start shooting in March, the same time Kamal plans to release Makrifat Cinta’s trailer.

Makrifat Cinta will undergo post-production process in India.