Malaysian-based Indian director Kabir Bhatia tackles mixed martial arts (MMA) in his recently-wrapped action movie, Sangkar.

The film focuses on Adam, played by Zul Ariffin, who trains to become a top MMA fighter. When tragedy strikes, he is forced to rethink his stance as a martial artist.

Other cast members include Remy Ishak who plays a fellow MMA fighter, Mira Filzah and Aman Graseka.

Kabir described the feeling of taking on a production like Sangkar as “fantastic”.

“I was given the opportunity to helm this film because I am able to marry the elements of action and emotional aspect,” he said during an interview in Kuala Lumpur.

The filmmaker went through footages of real MMA matches to ensure that he can replicate authentic fight scenes for the movie.

Zul ariffin

Zul Ariffin stars in Sangkar as an MMA fighter. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani

Real-life MMA fighter Saiful Reza was brought in to choreograph the scenes as well as train the actors. On top of that, Sangkar will also feature a cameo by British MMA star James McSweeney.

Sangkar marks Kabir’s first undertaking of a pure action film, signifying a break away from his repertoire of romance films that he is well-known for such as Cinta, Nur Kasih The Movie and Sepi.

The award-winning director from Mumbai was also quick to point out that Sangkar is more than just an action flick.

“It’s also a film about two complex characters and their profound effect on each other. My approach to filmmaking will always be the same, which is to focus on relationships as the heart and soul of the film,” he said.

Sangkar will be released in May next year.