Mix and match

Watch for the right reason: Hans Isaac said that he wants people to watch Lemak Kampung Santan for the story, and not because of the gossip surrounding him and Neelofa.

Watch for the right reason: Hans Isaac said that he wants people to watch Lemak Kampung Santan for the story, and not because of the gossip surrounding him and Neelofa.

Hans Isaac’s latest film has a little bit of everything – romance, comedy, supernatural thriller and drama.

THE title Lemak Kampung Santan may sound a little comedic. But after watching a special screening of the film recently, Lemak Kampung Santan offers audiences much more than comic relief.

The movie, producer-director Hans Isaac’s latest offering, is a romantic comedy with a twist: it is also a supernatural thriller. With funny dialogues and some pretty beautiful scenes, it is already generating buzz in the Malaysian entertainment industry.

This is partly due to the hot gossip circulating in the media regarding Hans’ alleged romance with the movie’s lead actress, Neelofa.

Produced by Tall Order Productions, Lemak Kampung Santan is set in a remote Malay village and follows the story of Ridzuan (played by Hans), an architect who heads a project in Kampung Santan. The company he works for wants to build a five-star resort there, but villagers are fiercely against it.

While staying at the village, Ridzuan falls in love with a beautiful girl named Tiqa (Neelofa), who makes the best nasi lemak.

Hans said that he wants people to watch the movie for the story and not because of the gossip surrounding him and Neelofa.

“I can’t really stop people from saying whatever they want to, but I really hope that the focus will be given to the movie itself, and not us,” explained Hans after the screening in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

“I chose the story of ‘city boy-meets-village girl’ because it’s easily accepted by the Malaysian audience,” he added. “But it’s not just a love story. Yes, on the onset it is a romantic one, but there are a lot of twists and turns – a different style of storytelling.”

The idea is loosely based on Afdlin Shauki’s movie Misteri Jalan Lama (which also starred Hans). “I like that kind of movie (which has some mythical elements). However, in Lemak Kampung Santan I tried to combine that with comedy and a love story. Let’s just say it is a ‘jigsaw puzzle’ that I dreamed of.”

With a budget of RM1.7mil, the movie also stars big names such as Awie, Khir Rahman, Harun Salim Bachik and Natasha Hudson.

“It took me one year and eight months to produce this movie. That’s longer than I anticipated because I’m really particular about quality,” said Hans.

Even though he is aware that the movie market is not doing too well these days, Hans still insists on screening the movie.

“I also made the decision not to show the movie on TV (via Astro First). No offence, but if people want to see it, they have to watch it in the cinemas. I’m having my own way of marketing the movie. I really hope that it will contribute something to our film industry,” he noted.

For leading lady Neelofa, she said that her experience making the movie was wonderful and that playing a village girl wasn’t all that hard for her.

“I was brought up in a kampung, so it wasn’t that difficult to bring out that side of me. Seriously, though, the most difficult part was riding a motorcycle!” Neelofa shared. She revealed that when she auditioned for the show, she told the casting director that she knew how to ride a bike, when she didn’t.

However, with the help of the production crew, she looked convincing enough zipping through some of the scenes on the bike.

The movie also had other surprises – talented actor-director Khir Rahman, who is known for playing dramatic roles, plays an effeminate character named Badrul in Lemak Kampung Santan.

“It was definitely an experience for me,” said Khir, laughing.

“I learned by observing some friends to make my character look more natural and convincing (as an effeminate man).”

As part of the movie’s promotion, Hans said that 100 lucky winners will have the chance to go on a holiday with the movie’s cast.

“I’m going all out to promote this movie. We are selecting 100 winners to go on a holiday with us to Langkawi island. But you need to watch the movie to participate!” said Hans.

Lemak Kampung Santan opens in cinemas nationwide today.