Filming of Malaysian war movie 'Malbatt' in Turkiye halted as locals thought it was real

'Malbatt: Misi Bakara' is based on an operation Malaysian Army participated in back in 1993. Photo: Handout

After working on the film Malbatt: Misi Bakara since 2018, director Adrian Teh is relieved that the film will finally be released at cinemas nationwide on Aug 24.

Based on the real events that took place in 1993 at Mogadishu, Somalia, the war movie tells the story of the 19th Battalion Malay Regiment (or Malbatt) that was deployed to rescue American soldiers who were trapped there.

To truly capture the bravery of the soldiers of this battalion, Teh travelled with his cast and crew to Turkiye and recreated tanks and guns that were used in this mission back in the 1990s.

At a press conference to showcase the film's first trailer, Teh said: “Explosions we feature here (in the trailer) are real and it was the first time that the actors experienced explosions so close to them.”

It was all too real that while filming at Gaziantep, a city at the south of Turkiye – which borders Syria, where a civil war has been on-going for 12 years now – some people thought that the country was gearing up for war.

"If we travelled by car, we would reach Syria from where we were (in Gaziantep). We were that close," said the director of Paskal: The Movie.

"When we went to Gaziantep, we basically took over the area – we closed the road, we blocked the city; we built tanks, APCs, military vehicles, and we filmed a lot of gun fights at night.

"While the people in Gaziantep knew we were making a movie, the people on the other side of the border did not. All they could see was military vehicles travelling on the road."

According to Teh, some folks took to social media to question why there were military activities in Turkiye soil. When it went viral, the officials of Gaziantep had to stop Teh and his crew from continuing filming.

Teh said: "We had to do some PR work to rectify the situation. I went to see mayor of Gaziantep and explained to her what we were doing and that the military assets were nothing more than props, they do not function basically."

"The mayor then arranged for a few international media to visit the set, so there's no misunderstanding," shared Teh with a laugh.

"That was one of many challenges we faced making this film."

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