When Anita Mui passed away several weeks after her farewell concert in 2003, fans of the Cantopop diva were devastated.
But more devastating news was yet to hit them: The late Hong Kong star’s personal belongings were auctioned off and items that could not be sold were discarded as trash.
Diehard fans trawled through tonnes of trash to retrieve Mui’s most prized possessions which turned out to be gifts, letters and other souvenirs she received from fans.
Mui reportedly cherished them so much that she even had a room to store all these fan letters and souvenirs that were like treasures to her.
The nostalgic tale unfolds as the fans endeavour to contact the senders and return the items to them.
That is the premise behind Dearest Anita, a fan tribute movie that recounts the memories of several of her friends and supporters.
As a film dedicated to the legacy of Mui, Dearest Anita was conceived by her fan club Mui Nation and produced by well-known Hong Kong filmmaker Clifton Ko who also co-directed the movie with newbie Pako Leung.
“The movie will show an unknown side to Anita and help fans know her better,” Leung said in a recent interview in Kuala Lumpur.
“There is more to Mui’s story than just about her singing, dancing and acting. Dearest Anita shows how she treated her fans; it reveals the many generous contributions she made to Hong Kong society.”
The movie features a stellar cast combining Hong Kong actors as well as newcomers. Myolie Wu plays Mui’s childhood friend Amy, while Sonija Kwok plays Edith, the fan who endeavours to return the items to the senders. In the movie, Mui is voiced by Elvina Kong, who has performed in many Anita Mui tribute shows.
Leung added: “Elvina Kong is familiar with Anita as she knew her well. She had met and worked with Anita (previously).”
Actress Susan Shaw (better known in Cantonese as Siu Yam Yam) plays herself in Dearest Anita.
She was part of a panel of judges of the Anita Mui True Heart Charity Foundation, which distributes scholarships and study grants to aspiring musicians. Formed in 1993, the foundation’s judges would audition and interview candidates.
“It was so long ago that I had already forgotten about it,” said Shaw in a separate interview. “I didn’t realise I had approved one candidate who went on to become a successful musician.
“I remember him because he was wearing his school uniform. He felt he had to be dressed in his best clothes, so he wore his own school uniform because it was the nicest outfit he owned.”
In Dearest Anita, this scene is reenacted with Alex Lam playing the role of the said young man.
“Though she was a big superstar, Anita was just like a little kid at heart. She missed her childhood friends dearly and always wanted to reconnect with them.
“Sadly, they felt that they could not go and meet her, because of the socioeconomic gap, since she had become too big a star,” Shaw shared.