KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — A new Harimau Malaya film is in the works and it will be helmed by actor and director Datuk Afdlin Shauki.
Inspired by true events, Harimau Malaya: The Untold Journey will centre around the national football team and the journey to qualifying for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Final after 42 years.
Harimau Malaya last qualified fin the 2007 edition as one of the four host nations.
According to him, the film will be told from four perspectives — local die-hard fans known as Ultras Malaya, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), the players as well as the coach.
The film will focus on events happening behind the scenes in FAM following the resignation of former coach, Tan Cheng Hoe in January 2022, who was later replaced by the now head coach of Harimau Malaya, Kim Pan-gon.
All four perspectives will conclude during the final AFC Cups qualifying match where Harimau Malaya managed to secure a win against Bangladesh to qualify for the AFC Cup final.
The launch at Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya was attended by FAM president, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin (sixth from left), Harimau Malaya head coach, Kim Pan-Gon (third from right) as well as members of current Harimau Malaya squad. — Picture by Raymond Manuel.
The film, with a budget of RM5 million, will begin principal photography by the end of this month after two months of being in pre-production and is expected to hit cinemas by April next year.
“The story itself is based on true events, however, the characters such as the footballers are fictionalised a bit because we want to highlight the recurring problems faced by footballers.
“We don’t want to offend any parties, that’s another reason for the fictionalisation of the players. There will also be some fictional characters inspired by real figures,” Afdlin said.
He said that the film will focus more on the politics and the human angle of football instead of the game itself, and is hoped to help spur more public support for the national team.
The film boasts a stellar lineup of local stars including Tony Eusoff, Namron, Kavin Jay, Syafiq Kyle, Vanidah Imran and Sophia Albarakbah.