The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) has raised concerns about the upcoming film Dukun. PPIM head activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said he has received complaints from members of the public that some elements in the film may not be suitable for younger viewers.
He held a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday (April 3) to address the concerns.
“We have received calls from various groups and individuals about the film Dukun. Our intention is not to disrupt the release of the film but we do feel the need to share some of the concerns that our callers have on the movie,” he said.
According to Nadzim, some callers who are parents and educators find that the promotional method used by the Dukun’s production company to be questionable.
Dukun produced by Astro Shaw is scheduled for nationwide release on April 5. It stars Datin Paduka Umie Aida as a woman suspected of murdering a politician in ritualistic ceremony gone wrong. Directed by Dain Said, Dukun is said to be loosely inspired by the infamous case of Mona Fandey who was convicted for murder in 1993.
The film which completed in 2007 was shelved by Astro Shaw for more than a decade. On April 2, Astro Shaw made a surprise announcement about the film’s release date. Prior to the announcement, a short clip depicting a ghostly figure of a woman dressed in a red kebaya walking alone at night went viral on social media.
Twitter users were spooked by the creepy footage. It was then revealed to be a promotional gimmick by Astro Shaw for the film Dukun. The hashtags #PerempuanKebayaMerah (“woman in red kebaya”) and #AkhirnyaKitaBertemu (“we finally meet”) were used as social media marketing campaign.
Nadzim also said that based on what some of his callers have seen in the Dukun’s trailer released on April 2, there are certain scenes that can bring negative impact to younger viewers. However, he clarified that PPIM is not asking for the film to be banned.
"We’re hoping that something can be done to look into the Dukun's P13 rating," he stressed.
Films released in Malaysia are subjected to three types of ratings - General which is for all ages, P13 and 18 - set by the Film Censorship Board Of Malaysia. Dukun received a P13 rating, meaning viewers under the age of 13 must be accompanied and supervised by parents or a guardian.
Filmmaker Ahmad Idham was also present at the PPIM press conference. He raised an issue about Dukun opening on the same day as another local film Qhaliq.
Qhaliq is an action film starring Hairul Azreen and it’s being touted as the first local movie that put Malaysian firefighters in the spotlight. Ahmad’s company Aiffa Motion Pictures is Qhaliq’s movie distributor.
As a result of sharing an opening day with Dukun, Ahmad is sending an appeal to ask Finas to allow him to postpone Qhaliq’s release date.
“I’m here to explain that my agenda is not to pose any obstacle to Dukun. In fact, after discussing with my producer, I feel that it’s better for us to pull out and let Dukun go first as a show of support,” Ahmad explained.
He added: “I’m one of those people who have been waiting to see Dukun for a long time myself. As local filmmakers, we don’t need to go against each other unnecessarily.”