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A new touch to a classic

Shamyl Othman is rebooting his father’s award-winning 1987 movie Rahsia

15 May 2020 / 15:54 H.

In 1987 Othman Hafsham directed the horror-thriller Rahsia, which earned him the Best Director award at the 7th Malaysian Film Festival. The film also grabbed the Best Picture award at the same event.

Thirty-three years later, Astro Shaw and Kuman Pictures are rebooting this horror thriller. Shooting for the reboot started on Feb 13 and ended on March 13.

Interestingly, Othman’s son Shamyl was chosen to direct the reboot. The idea to reboot Rahsia began after Astro Shaw had a huge success with Razaisyam Rashid’s horror flick Pusaka which collected more than RM13 million at the box office last year.

Rahsia is the third feature film that Shamyl has directed. His first film was the horror-comedy Kami Histeria, followed by his second feature film, the action-comedy Rembat. Shamyl wants to bring something new to the table, and at the same time he does not want to lose the essence of the original.

“I do not want the fans of the original film to think the reboot is too much of a departure from the original,” says Shamyl, 40.

Rahsia centres around a couple, Professor Hamdan and his wife Ramlah, played by the late Shukery Hashim and Noorkumalasari respectively, who move into a bungalow near the ocean along with their two young children. Tragedy strikes when one of the children drowns in the ocean. After the funeral, the couple finds a strange entity is haunting them.

“The story has a lot of potential to be updated for this era,” Shamyl says.

Shamyl with his leading lady Nabila Huda, who plays Ramlah in the remake of ‘Rahsia’. – Courtesy of Shamyl Othman
Shamyl with his leading lady Nabila Huda, who plays Ramlah in the remake of ‘Rahsia’. – Courtesy of Shamyl Othman

“We made some changes to the story. But we still remain true to the theme of family and secrets. We focused more on the relationship between the couple. I want to present a fresh story with something familiar.”

The new version will have award-winning actress Nabila Huda and rising star Fikry Ibrahim playing the couple, while veteran actor Eman Manan plays Ramlah’s father, whose birthday celebration becomes the catalyst for the events of the film.

When asked about the experience of directing the legendary Eman who has won many accolades in the past for his almost flawless performances, Shamyl says: “He is a consummate actor and I really had a good experience.”

This is the first time he has worked with Eman. Shamyl admits to being nervous and totally in awe when meeting the charismatic actor for the first time. But the actor had a way of putting the director at ease.

“On the set, he is willing to take many takes till we get it right,” he says.

He remembered watching his father’s Rahsia for the first time when he was only eight.

“I was really spooked,” he says.

Shamyl with veteran actor Eman Manan, who stars in the upcoming remake of ‘Rahsia’. – Courtesy of Shamyl Othman
Shamyl with veteran actor Eman Manan, who stars in the upcoming remake of ‘Rahsia’. – Courtesy of Shamyl Othman

Shamyl also admitted that he is keen to remake another of his father’s films, the comedy Mekanik which deals with a mechanic who finds a bag of stolen money and decides to keep the money for himself – with dire consequences.

“The movie talks about the class disparity in our society in the most humorous manner,” he says.

“Of course, that is a bigger classic and more research is needed before we can launch the project. At the moment I have no plans to remake Mekanik. But you can never predict the future.”

When asked, 81-year-old Othman says he has no problem with his son remaking his film, or any other young director who wants to remake any of the films he has directed.

“I am keen to see their interpretation of the script,” Othman says.

“Remakes and reboots are always difficult to do.”

When asked what was the most challenging thing he faced while directing the original Rahsia all those years ago, Othman says: “We could not use CGI. All horror scenes had to be done ‘manually’.”

He is glad that he walked away with the Best Director award for the film, but adds that he is disappointed that his leading lady Noorkumalasari did not win the Best Actress award for her efforts in the film.

“I really believe she [delivered] a good performance,” he says.

Interestingly, in his early years, Othman was toying with the idea of remaking P. Ramlee’s famous classic Antara Dua Darjat, which tells of a forbidden love story between a rich girl and a poor musician. Sadly, the idea did not materialise.

There have been rumours that Othman himself might make a special appearance in the reboot.

However, Shamyl refuses to divulge any more details on his father’s appearance (if the rumours happen to be true).

It appears that we will have to catch the reboot when it opens in cinemas in the future, and find out for ourselves whether we can spot the original film’s director on screen.

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