A buddy cop movie? Aaron Aziz's directorial debut isn't what he had in mind, but he'll take it.

One month before Aaron Aziz was scheduled to start shooting Romeo Kota: Fail Kriptik, he received an offer from the movie's producer, Ahmad Idham, to do more than just act in it. “He knew that I’ve been wanting to direct a movie for some time,” Aaron said. “So he asked if I would like to take on Romeo Kota as a director.” 

The 38-year-old Singaporean confessed that when he thought about directing, a buddy cop comedy wasn't what he had in mind. But Aaron isn't someone who would cop out of a challenge. “When the opportunity was given to me, I couldn’t turn it down,” Aaron said.

Romeo Kota stars Aaron as police investigator Romi, with comedian Nabil Ahmad as his partner Fakrul. After botching a major case, the duo is reduced to traffic duties. But then they meet a mysterious inspector who heads the “Kriptik” department, and the two have to go undercover at a college to bring down a drug syndicate.

The catch? They only have a month to solve the case.

“It’s a comedy, but I don’t want to overdo it by resorting to slapstick humour,” Aaron said. “I wanted to focus on the emotional aspect of the characters and the situation that they are in.”

Filmed in 27 days, the movie has plenty of action sequences including gangster shoot-outs and an intense car chase scene set in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Aaron is no stranger to fight scenes, having done them in movies like KL Gangster, Evolusi KL Drift and Tembus, but he experienced a new level of pain when it came to directing these scenes for his own movie.

“The action scenes were the toughest to shoot. I had to make a lot of last-minute decisions. This is like nothing I’ve ever done before as all the action is on a much bigger scale. Compared to when I was just acting, the problems I faced as a director on set is 10 times more,” Aaron confided, with a laugh. “Thankfully, I had a supportive cast and crew behind me.”

Aaron shared that he was glad his co-star Nabil injected some comedic elements to the movie. “He didn’t even have to try to be funny! He just is funny. I needed him to be able to do that and improvise.”

The movie also stars Hanis Zalikha, Sofi Jikan and Fizo Omar. Audiences can also look out for guest appearances by Nadiya Nisaa, Datin Nina Juren and Hip Hop duo Sleeq.

Aaron is eager to hear what the public has to say about the movie. “So far, Ahmad Idham has said that for my first effort as a director, the film is above expectation,” Aaron said. He also hopes to continue pulling double duty in the future, but perhaps in a different genre. “For my next film, I hope to do something in the romance-mystery genre.”

■ Romeo Kota: Fail Kriptik is now showing in cinemas nationwide.

NEXT PAGE: More From Aaron

Aaron and Siti Saleha in Cinta Paling Agung. – Photo by @siti_saleha

MORE FROM AARON 

Aaron Aziz likes to keep very busy. Apart from directing and headlining Romeo Kota: Fail Kriptik, he can be seen in two other movies and a TV series this year.

Suamiku, Encik Perfect 10!
Aaron reunites with Ombak Rindu co-star Lisa Surihani in this romantic film directed by Feroz Kader. Based on a popular local novel, the movie revolves around two strangers, Zarief (Aaron) and Aleeya (Lisa), meeting on a plane that becomes a life-changing experience for both. But with any love story, there are a few problems to overcome, like someone's big ego. Suamiku, Encik Perfect 10! opens in cinemas Jan 22.

Cinta Paling Agung
Slated for release on Astro First, this Hanung Bramantyo-directed tele-movie sees Aaron collaborating with Siti Saleha, his co-star in Noor Elena and Kerat 14. This comedy revolved around a married couple relocating to Indonesia to start a new life. Hanung recently directed the feature film Soekarno.

Special Female Force
This movie has Aaron acting in his first Chinese production, playing a gangster. Directed by Wilson Chin, it's the story of a policewoman who goes undercover in Bangkok to nab a terrorist. The movie, a joint production between Hong Kong and Malaysia, also stars Eliza Sam, Joyce Cheng and Chris Tong.