The one great love

WHEN asked what is the biggest change he would love to see taking place in the Malaysian film industry, director Osman Ali states: a bigger marketing budget for local films.

He says: “Other countries are using aggressive marketing tools to inform the world about their films. Some are willing to invest big money in promoting their movies. Sometimes, their marketing budget [is] as big as their movie budget.

“But we are not doing this here. We are totally neglecting this aspect. Our movies have gone unnoticed. When the audiences are not aware of the existence of our movies, they will not take the trouble to catch our films.

“That could be one of the reasons why our films have been doing badly at the box office. We simply believe marketing a movie is not important.

“We need to change this mindset if we want to see our film industry progress.”

The director tells the reporters this at a press conference to announce his new film, Kau Yang Satu, which premieres in cinemas tomorrow.

The story, based on a bestselling novel by Nia Azalea, centres on Datuk Mustaza (played by Zaidi Omar) who is rescued from drowning by a fisherman named Sulaiman (Wan Hanafi Su).

Mustaza is naturally grateful to Sulaiman for saving his life, and when he meets the fisherman’s beautiful and kind-hearted daughter Salina (Izara Aishah), he decides to marry her to his son Taufiq (Aaron Aziz).

However, Taufiq already has a girlfriend Isabella (Soo Wincci) and refuses to marry someone he does not know. But Mustaza, who disapproves of Isabella, forces Taufiq to marry Salina.

Taufiq refuses to stop seeing Isabella even after his marriage to Salina, and an angry Salina packs her bags and leaves him.

Slowly, the couple decide to find some common ground and try to make their marriage work.

Osman says: “Kau Yang Satu is about two complicated people who are trying to make sense of their relationship. 

“Adjustments are necessary for any relationship to work. The audience will get to see a roller-coaster of emotions. Love, and marriage, are things not to be taken lightly.”  

This is the third time Osman has adapted a novel into a film. His first two adaptations were Ombak Rindu by Fauziah Ashari, and Pilot Cafe by Ahadiat Akashah.

While some people have pointed out that Kau Yang Satu bears a lot of similarities with his Ombak Rindu, which coincidentally also starred Aaron in the lead male role, Osman dismisses the criticism.  

Kau Yang Satu is nothing like Ombak Rindu,” he insists, adding that the film’s female lead, Salina, is completely different from Ombak Rindu’s Izzah, played by Maya Karin.

“Salina is rebellious, headstrong and feisty,” he says. “She does not take her husband’s transgressions lying down.”

But Aaron, who plays the leading man in both films, portrays a similar character of a hostile husband who treats his wife shabbily.

Osman still insists there are differences in both characters.

He says: “Aaron has [given a] different [portrayal] to his character in Kau Yang Satu.

“[His character] was more arrogant in Ombak Rindu, while in this film, he is more annoying and ‘naughty’ [rather than arrogant].”   

Osman’s next project will be the romantic drama Pinjamkan Hati, about two people with a terminal disease who meet and fall in love.

The film, which will star Shaheizy Sam, Ayda Jebat and Farid Kamil, will open in cinemas at the end of the year.

Osman has already lined up two future film projects. The first is a romantic horror titled Langsuir, and the second is a horror film titled Timah Putin.

Langsuir is about a group of youths who go fishing and get stranded on a haunted island.

One of the boys falls for a langsuir (a female ghost), bringing the audience into a world of mysticism.

Timah Putin is about a traditional Malay dancer who is murdered by her father. Her restless spirit begins to haunt both him and the people in her village.

“I have written the script [for Timah Putin] a long time ago,” he says. “I am glad to see [that] the script will finally become a film.”