New film Kau Takdirku features A-list actors, promising newcomers, and plenty of drama in the waves
LOVE triangles may be common but they endure and work well for moviegoers worldwide. From Hollywood classics like Gone With The Wind and Titanic to local perennial favourites such as Antara Dua Darjat and Ibu Mertua Ku, the well-worn romantic entanglement scenario never fails to draw in the crowds hook, line and sinker.
Heart-throbs Remy Ishak and Bront Palarae will have their first onscreen love triangle setting come Sept 7.
The award-winning actors will be playing best friends who fall in love with the same woman in Grand Brilliance’s Kau Takdirku (You Are My Fate), directed by Jason Chong of Adiwiraku fame.
The tear-jerker (what else?) has as its leading lady, Ezzaty Abdullah in her debut cinematic role, while Dream Sisters star Aisya Hasnaa Umaruddin and former 8TV Quickie host Megan Tan Yue Mei headline the supporting cast.
Remy, or Mohammad Zalimei Ishak, 35, is no stranger to love stories, especially those of the triangle kind. The Melakan has since 2011 appeared in Nur Kasih The Movie, Cun!, 29 Februari, Sejoli, and Pilot Cafe.
At a recent photo shoot in Kaio photography studio in Shah Alam, Remy says: “This time, I play Kamar, who has developed romantic feelings for the girl whom my parents adopted, Alia. However, she just sees me as a foster brother and loves my best friend Harris.”
In her twenties she marries Harris, leaving Kamar heartbroken. Remy says that although Kamar looks cool and calm, deep down he feels traumatised by Alia’s unrequited love.
His friendship with Harris is also strained after he accuses his childhood friend of “stealing” Alia. Then a dramatic window of opportunity opens, which enables Kamar to marry Alia. “She learns that Harris, who goes sailing in his yacht, gets lost at sea and all attempts to locate him prove futile.
“Harris’ family presumes him dead after several search and rescue missions fail to locate him. Consequently, they decide to fulfil his wish that Alia be married to his best friend in the event of his death,” says Remy.
While he grieves over the loss of his friend, Kamar finds a ray of sunshine in his life because he is finally reunited with his first and only love.
The happy marriage is short-lived though, once Harris shows up at his parents’ doorstep one day.
“This sudden development throws Alia into confusion, while Kamar’s joy turns into anger.
“Harris wants his wife back, but Kamar tells him to move on.
“The best buddies, now enemies, each fiercely defends his own destiny with neither wanting to surrender Alia to the other,” elaborates Remy.
BRINGING OUT THE TIGER
Both Remy and Bront, 38, or Nasrul Suhaimin Saifuddin, agree that the biggest challenge they faced was making themselves look like rivals.
“We first met in Jiwa Taiko in 2012. I was the hero while Bront was the bad guy,” says Remy.
“We became good friends after discovering that we have a lot in common,” adds Bront.
Director Chong said that in order to appear as rivals, both men had to pretend they were “as hostile as male tigers” towards each other.
“Jason suggested that we keep our distance from one another. This would make us think less about each other, and delve deeper into our roles,” says Remy.
Bront adds: “We did just that, and gradually, the angry tigers within us began to come out!”
When the actors mentally prepared themselves for their on-screen rivalry, they hardly talked to each other, and passed messages between them via Chong and Ezzaty, who plays Alia.
“This process also served as good training for Ezzaty, as she learnt to develop Alia’s personality,” says Bront.
Remy and Bront are full of praise for their co-star, due to her meticulous approach to her first lead role.
“Ezzaty is well-read, and also read some books on marine biology, as Alia is a marine biology student,” says Remy.
“She’s also watched some of our films, to see how the lead actress communicates with her co-star,” adds Bront.
Filming took place around Kuala Lumpur and the islands of Langkawi and Tioman over a month in 2014.
Remy admits that Kau Takdirku was a training ground for him to star in his next epic film, Pulang.
“Several years ago, I developed a phobia of running water, because I almost drowned saving a man at a waterfall in Hulu Selangor.
“Luckily, my friends pulled both of us out before the rapids could sweep us downstream.”
With his swimming scenes in Langkawi for Kau Takdirku, Remy had to face his fear.
“The best way to fight a phobia is to look it in the eye. That’s what Jason had me do, and I guess I’ve conquered it.”
TAKING THE PLUNGE
Bront, who plays playboy Harris, had to get hair extensions for his long-haired image.
“It took the hair stylists some time to give me that look, and I could imagine what Beyonce had to go throughto look great on stage!” he says with a laugh.
Besides developing hostility towards Kamar, Bront’s other challenge was to swim and dive.
“All this while, I’ve only known how to splash around in a swimming pool, thus having a dip in the deep blue sea was not only alien, but a little scary.
“Fortunately, we had some experienced swimmers and divers to teach and assist us in the diving scenes in Langkawi, which eventually gave me the ability so that I could provide a convincing picture of a shipwreck survivor,” he says.
Kau Takdirku is Bront’s second film with Chong, who also directed him in Belukar in 2010.
“I’d like to thank Jason for helping me overcome my initial fear of the sea.
“If there was one more challenge I’d like to take, it would be starring in a film about sky divers.”
When asked about his possible involvement in the musical version of Ola Bola next year, Bront, who played sports commentator Rahman in the film, answers in the negative.
“I don’t think I’m the right man for musicals. I have done theatre once, appearing in the English language play Caught In The Middle in 2010, but that was strictly dialogue.
“Remy did great in the musical film 29 Februari, but I’m not a good singer like him,” he says.
Sea-sickness was Ezzaty’s biggest bugbear on the set.
“I’ve never been a sea person, going on a boat makes me puke,” she admits.
Her co-stars advised her to keep her eyes off the water, and this helped alleviate her nausea.
“I still puked, but I’m less afraid of the sea now.”
The most difficult thing about being Alia, she says, is her emotional “roller coaster” persona.
“The story initially depicts me as a sunny person who loves hanging out with her best friends. But later, her world comes crashing down and she is reduced to tears,” says Ezzaty.
But Alia is not a helpless girl though. Ezzaty, 27, adds that she’s a beauty with brains.
“She excels in her studies, is admired by her best pals Elfa and Mimi, and helps her husband Harris become a more responsible person.”
Alia, she says, has to make a difficult choice, as she is torn between two loves.
“On one hand, there is her first husband, Harris, who comes back from the dead, and on the other, there is her second husband, Kamar, who grew up with her and knows her a lot better. A tough choice,” says Ezzaty, who is grateful to her two male co-stars for guiding her.
“They’re down-to-earth gentlemen, with a lot of knowledge. I enjoyed their company throughout filming, and I’d love to work with them again.”
Aisya, 27, had a frightening experience while filming in Langkawi. “The undercurrents were so strong they pulled me towards a small mountain of corals. I was terrified because I could’ve been injured badly. I screamed for help,” she says.
Luckily, assistant director Josh Ding jumped in and pulled her out.
Aisya, who plays Elfa, occasionally goes swimming, but she largely sticks to the seaside.
“An important lesson I’ve learnt is, no matter how well you can swim in a pool or the sea, diving is a different skill.”
Actress Tan, 29, on the other hand is an outdoor person, having hosted Go Travel.
Her experience in scuba diving made this a dream role for the Penang-born, who recently married photographer Jon Teo.
“My character Mimi is a sweet girl-next-door, a bit like me. However, Jason chose to make her more talkative and flirty,” she says.
Tan admits she was star-struck when she met Bront and Remy for the first time on the set. “I was excited to work with them, and they helped me get into character — they told me to be crazy, wild and funny and I did just that!”
Kau Takdirku is Tan’s first film. Prior to this she appeared in the Hari Raya Aidilfitri telemovie, Sakura.
Chong says Kau Takdirku does not follow a formulaic storyline.
“There are some interesting plot twists in this story, and cinemagoers will have more than one surprise,” he says.
He commends Ezzaty for standing up to the challenges in playing her first female lead.
“It was a pretty difficult task, cheerful one minute and tearful the next. She pushed herself hard, and as a result, she gave all of us a great performance.”
Chong also commends supporting actors Aisya and Tan for their great chemistry with Ezzaty. Chong has always wanted to have Remy and Bront star together in a film, and both seasoned actors, he says, nailed it.
“Remy diligently crafts out how he wants to be seen on screen, while Bront is among the most talented and versatile actors I know,” says Chong.
One of the main challenges was filming in and around water.
“Filming and acting underwater is tricky. The shots have to be planned very precisely.
“For example, in the opening sequence, we see a 10-year-old boy being washed away by a powerful undercurrent at a waterfall.
“This scene was tough because it involved underwater camera work.
“Most importantly, we had to make sure that the child actor was not in any danger.
“Paramedics, safety divers and professional stunt coordinators were on standby,” he says.
Some surprises popped up during filming though.
“We came across a group of street musicians busking. They were so much fun we decided to include them in the movie.
“We also came across two dilapidated structures by the beach. We thought they would work beautifully for the film and later we made them into a dive centre.”
Chong admits it is never easy to tackle a love drama. “Kau Takdirku is heavy and poses this question - is love a feeling or a choice? Are marriages really made in heaven?”
The script was presented to Chong a year before filming. “It is a very moving story by Azlina Pa'wan. We took four months to modify it.”
On his next project, Chong says it will be an action film involving coast guards. “It is going to be an adventure and we will start filming at year’s end.”