Eric Ong and Jason Chong – the duo behind 2017 award-winning film Adiwiraku – are planning to start shooting the sequel in May, in Gemencheh, Negri Sembilan.
Not unlike the first film, the story is set at a rural school, where the lives of some students are changed forever thanks to a dedicated teacher.
"After the first film came out, we received a lot of touching stories from students, ex-students, about their teachers (via the film's Facebook)," shared Chong in an interview recently. "Our vision is to make Adiwiraku as a brand, so we can tell these inspiring stories and make a difference in people's lives through these films."
Ong continued: "We hope to spur on the next generation with the Adiwiraku films."
For Adiwiraku 2, Ong and Chong are sharing the writing and directing credits. They revealed that it is based on the younger days of national cricket player 29-year-old Shafiq Sharif, who was a member of the Malaysian cricket team that won the gold medal at the 2017 South-East Asian Games.
Ong elaborated on the film's main plot: "It revolves around a group of six naughty boys at a Felda school in Gemencheh. A teacher is tasked to discipline them, but he doesn't know how to get through to them until he becomes a cricket coach to these boys."
Chong added: "It's a case of the blind leading the blind at first, as both the teacher and the students have no idea about the sport. But together they go on this amazing journey."
According to Chong, cricket is a popular sport in Gemencheh and a number of Malaysian cricketers hail from this town.
One of the outstanding factors about the original movie was that Ong and Chong opted to hire the very students whose lives the film was based on to play themselves in the movie. Likewise, they are getting non-professional youngsters to play the six troubled students in the second film.
"We have identified the young people who will be playing the six students," said Ong, who added that the six are also cricket players. "As for the actor playing the teacher, we'd like to keep that to ourselves for now."
Actress Sangeeta Krishnasamy who played the main role of Teacher Cheryl in the first film said she is not starring in the sequel. However, she revealed, that she's one of the producers of the new film.
Adiwiraku was adapted from the real-life story of a teacher who led a group of students from a rural high school in Kedah to become a top qualifier at a district-level choral speaking competition.
The film bagged the Best Film, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay awards at the Malaysia Film Festival in 2017. It was also shown at Tokyo International Film Festival and was shortlisted in the Best Story category at the 58th Asia-Pacific Film Festival.
Ong and Chong are hoping to release Adiwiraku 2 in March next year.