PETALING JAYA: How much creative licence a filmmaker is allowed to take has become an issue as Netizens debate the merits of Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba’s Tanda Putera.
The general release of the movie, originally scheduled for Sept 13, has been postponed to Nov 15.
Although Shuhaimi revealed that the new date would enable better planned promotions to be carried out, she was noticeably upset by the backlash that had been hurled at her, the cast and the production team.
She said the film was their interpretation of the May 13 events after intensive research.
“While we take into consideration all of this (the good, the bad, the fiction, the facts) to tell a balanced story, we are also responsible in showing what happened in our history.
“But we did not do it in such a way that is distasteful,” she said.
Shuhaimi also refuted claims that the film was a propaganda tool timed to coincide with the general election, adding that the grant from the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) was given a couple of years ago.
Tanda Putera, a joint production between Pesona Pictures and Finas, has been given a PG-13 rating from the Malaysian Censorship Board.
It revolves around the nation’s second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, and his deputy, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, and how they approached the task of restoring peace in the nation, even as they battled with their own personal health issues.
A YouTube trailer features snippets of the dramatisation of the May 13 race riots that took place in 1969.
Shuhaimi said the scenes of events surrounding May 13 make up about 10 minutes of the entire length of the 115-minute film adding that they were merely the backdrop to the story that led to Tun Dr Ismail coming out of retirement and rejoining the Cabinet.
Local actor Douglas Lim, who makes a cameo appearance in the film, was targeted on his Facebook fan page for acting in the movie.
“People expressed their disappointment and anger on my page,” said Lim yesterday.
“I haven’t seen the whole film yet but based on the preview or poster, it seems that some Chinese feel Tanda Putera is unfair and untrue.”