Director Mamat Khalid only has one goal in mind when he stepped onto the set of Hantu Kak Limah (reviewed here) – to make a movie that will entertain audiences.
“I want audiences to laugh out loud. I want them to relax,” he says when asked about the reason for the film’s lighter and straightforward storytelling approach.
Over the course of his 20-year filmmaking career, Mamat says he has done his fair share of movies which explore complex themes and heavy subject matters but the results weren’t as well-received.
“For example, with Lebuhraya Ke Neraka, because the subject was heavy, people didn’t want to watch it,” he recalls. Released last year, Lebuhraya Ke Neraka, which explores a group of bikers on their journey to the afterlife, only made about half a million ringgit.
“As a director and screenwriter, I have to think about my investors. I can’t just do as I want,” he adds.
The 55-year-old, who won Best Film and Best Director at the Malaysia Film Festival in 2008 for Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang, was speaking to the media at a press event promoting Hantu Kak Limah.
Produced by Astro Shaw and Infinitus Gold, Hantu Kak Limah is the fourth horror comedy film set in the fictional village of Kampung Pisang.
The film opens with the mysterious death of Kak Limah after marrying a younger man, Khuda. The folks at Kampung Pisang seem to be haunted by Kak Limah’s spirit.
Mamat says he is very proud of the fact that the film is premiering in cinemas just 10 months after filming first began. He says it’s quite an achievement considering the fact that he has a heart condition and has been advised not to stress himself out.
“I wasn’t feeling well but I’m blessed to have cast and crew members who were very understanding. I didn’t feel stressed. On the set, they told me to sit down, and they would come to me,” he says.
Actor Zul Ariffin says he also felt at ease working on the set of Hantu Kak Limah even though it was his first time trying his hand at comedy.
Zul is known for playing macho-man action roles in films like J Revolusi, Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba and the upcoming Sangkar.
This time, the 31-year-old actor plays a scaredy-cat silat guru Solihin who tries to take on Kak Limah’s spirit.
He talks about tapping into his comedic side: “The thing with a Mamat Khalid film is, the script itself is already funny.
“With other films, sometimes it is the actor who has to make the film funny.
“I credit everything to Mamat because whatever he told me to do, I followed it entirely. I didn’t need to improvise at all.”
Hantu Kak Limah is now showing at GSC cinemas nationwide.