In-depth documentaries for Merdeka season

04 Sep 2019 / 11:35 H.

THE HIGHLIGHT of this year’s Merdeka offerings by Astro is undoubtedly the original documentaries that not only give an insight into some of our most enigmatic personalities, but also capture some of their most glorious moments on the world’s stage.

Astro and NJOI customers can enjoy over 40 Malaysian films and documentaries for free from now to Sept 17 on the dedicated Malaysiaku HD Channel (Ch 700).

The titles are available on Astro TV, On Demand and Astro GO, as well as NJOI.

The premiering Malaysiaku documentaries include Tun Dr. Mahathir: Perjuangan Belum Selesai, a documentary reliving the historical 2018 Malaysian General Election; the Road to Nationhood documentary series: Serve & Smash: The Thomas Cup 1992 about Malaysia’s road to badminton glory in 1992; Sapok Biki: The Iban Boxer, a story about putting Malaysia on the international map for boxing; and, Tigers Resurrected – The Suzuki Cup 2010, reliving the electrifying atmosphere as Malaysia faced off against Indonesia in the Suzuki Cup finals.

Astro customers can also revisit fifty years of Chinese-Malaysian pop music, and learn of industry challenges in At the Equator, We Sing; and in Work to Live, about the younger generation breathing new life into traditional crafts; while #JomPolam features a young woman’s journey across Malaysia’s East Coast exploring scenic sights and intriguing traditions.

Speaking about their work during a recent media event, the directors and producers had a great deal of pride in the hard work they put into these documentaries.

Basir Siswo, who directed the two-part Dr. Mahathir: Perjuangan Belum Selesai, said: “This was was the most difficult and challenging documentary that I have ever produced. Simply because the man is a legend and his story has all the ingredients of a political blockbuster.

“It has political conspiracy, twists and turns, sub-plots and of course the love story between him and Tun Siti Hasmah. The challenge is how to tell the story of a man who is an icon of Malaysian politics.

“It is not just the story of a simple kampung boy who sold goreng pisang and cendol, and who rose to become Prime Minister. The last thing I wanted to do is to make a historical, biographical documentary.

“There are anecdotes that not many people are familiar with. It is a refreshing way of storytelling, to know Tun as a man, not just a politican.”

Basir said research took a year, while shooting took seven months. He even tried to get some of Tun’s political foes in the film.

“We wanted an honest assessment of the man. We were given one hour with Tun for the interview, and it takes a lot of courage to ask him certain questions.”

Among things viewers will be intrigued by are Tun Mahathir’s earlier days as a doctor, insights into his his artistic side, and how he loves reading Popular Mechanics magazine.

Ahmad Yazid, who has directed three previous seasons of the Road To Nationhood documentary series, said that the fourth season will focus on unity and sports.

“We had the Thomas Cup in 1992 and I remember how we had a holiday,“ said Ahmad. “I remember watching the game late at night. Then there was the Suzuki Cup which we last won in 2010.

“We also have Sapok Biki, a Iban boxer who came from out of nowhere to win the gold meal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games.”

Lydia Lubon who is the producer for the Road To Nationhood documentary series said that all three films feature, “Wins that were never won again since then. We thought it was important to tell these stories.”

Roland Lee, executive producer of At the Equator, We Sing, said: “My documentary is about about the history of Chinese pop music.

“We feature the singers and composers, the pioneering artistes as well as newer artistes.”

Lee’s documentaries also cover the various challenges that these musicians face, and explores where the industry is heading today, and what they hope for the future.

For more information on the Malaysiaku channel (Ch 700) line-up, visit watchod.com

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