Monday, December 13, 2010

Kak Limah’s ghost goes home

Kak Limah’s ghost is giving the villagers sleepless nights.
THE ficticious village of Kampung Pisang was beset by zombies in the 2007 comedy-horror film Zombie Kg Pisang which starred Awie and was directed by Mamat Khalid (Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang). Introducing the concept of zombies in a local village proved to be a big hurdle for the director and when it came time for the sequel, Mamat who is also the scriptwriter, turned to ghosts and hauntings in Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah (loosely translated as Kak Limah’s Ghost Goes Home).
In the sequel, the lives of the villagers of Kg Pisang are disrupted by the ghost of Kak Limah (Delimawati Ismail). Although the woman is from the same village, nobody seems to be able to figure out why she is haunting them.
There is also the parallel story of Hussin (Awie), who returns to the village two years after leaving for Singapore to find his fortune. Hussin was once engaged to Che Nin (Ummi Nazirah) but broke off the engagement as he felt he was too poor for her. Now that he is successful, he intends to marry Che Nin.
More fun: Johan Raja Lawak (left) and Awie sharing a light moment in Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah.
Hussin now has to convince Che Nin’s father, Pak Jabit (Man Kadir), that he would make a good son-in-law.
With the appearance of the ghost, village head Pak Abu (Zami Ismail of TV series Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu fame) along with the other village elder Pak Jabit are the ones the villagers turn to for help. This results in hilarious consequences and there is even more fun to the show with the addition of Johan Raja Lawak who plays Abi, who gets accosted by Kak Limah’s spirit more times than anyone.
As the problem of Kak Limah’s ghost escalates, the villagers resort to hiring bomohs (medicine men) from Indonesia and Thailand to drive away the spirit but to no avail.
More mirth: ‘The humour this time around is more dialoguedriven,’ says Mamat Khalid.
As they get desperate, the villagers succumb to a type of mob mentality and decide to burn her house down. Will mob justice prevail? And what is the mystery behind Kak Limah and her haunting? Well, you’d better head to the cinema to find out.
“There is a lot of superstitious beliefs in our society which I wanted to dispell through the film. So there is an aspect of social criticism in the movie but it isn’t direct. It’s very subtle and I think it really depends on the viewer.
“If you go to the cinema to be entertained and to have a good laugh, that’s what you’ll get from Hantu Kak Limah because that was my first priority as a filmmaker – to make an entertaining film for the entire family,” said Mamat at the media screening of the movie.
The award-winning director is a very humorous person himself and it showed after he was asked why he did a sequel to Zombie Kg Pisang.
“You know, when I realised I had all these bills to pay and I didn’t have money, I thought to myself, ‘Now what can I think of to tell Tayangan Unggul (the film studio) for a film idea?’” said Mamat with a deadpan expression which was immediately met with laughter.
He went on to explain, however, that he wanted to improve himself as a filmmaker after receiving criticisms for Zombie Kg Pisang.
“Well, I received a lot of critisms for that movie in terms of the use of make-up and CGI and the humour in that film leaned more towards slapstick.
“I was trying to explain about zombies, which is a Western concept, here in Malaysia and it is taking place in a village ... it made sense to me to use slapstick humour to blend all these things together.
“As for the sequel, I knew that I didn’t want to make another zombie movie and I listened to all the criticisms I received earlier and addressed them.
“The humour this time around is more dialogue-driven, the pacing is different and there are the issues in society which I wanted to address and it’s not just about superstition. There’s also things like stigma.
“In the movie, Kak Limah’s son is always referred to as a drug addict and it still sticks with him even though he has changed and has a job in the city,” said the 50-year-old Ipoh-born director.
It was evident that Mamat was very happy with his latest film and claimed that it is one of his best works to date.
Even if you haven’t watched the original, Mamat assured there wouldn’t be any problem following the storyline.
Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah is playing in local cinemas

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