Dr M biopic already endorsed by PMO, film company says

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
The company behind the production of the biopic ‘Mahathir: The Journey’ has come out to clarify the project will go ahead as planned despite not receiving the endorsement of the real life characters depicted in the movie. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — The company behind the production of the biopic Mahathir: The Journey has come out to clarify the project will go ahead as planned despite not receiving the endorsement of the real life characters depicted in the movie.

Publisher of the Reliance Media Group Sdn Bhd Yusuf Kelana said filming of the biopic will go on as planned after receiving the green light from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), adding that official notifications would be sent in the near future to the characters involved.

“We started this film project about seven months ago and the film script has gone through 12 revamps before obtaining 100 per cent approval from the PMO,” Yusuf was quoted saying in a report by The Star’s Malay language portal mStar.

“Once the PMO gave us permission, then only did we launch the film, with us then officially informing all the characters involved in the near future.

“Despite there being those who disagree, we will go on with the project because every character has a role to play in the struggle of our beloved Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” Yusuf was quoted saying in the report.

This comes in response to Dr Mahathir’s eldest daughter Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir who took to social media and later told Malay Mail that the biopic was planned without the endorsement of her family and siblings.

Marina said she would rather not see such a film being made, and that receiving the PMO’s approval was not the same as her family agreeing to such a project.

The mStar report today also quoted Yusuf saying the story was not exclusively about Marina but instead of her father’s journey, with her role being needed only due to her being part of the iconic family.

“This film is made to tell the story of the struggles of Tun Dr Mahathir, and not a story about Marina, however, the character of Marina is needed as she is part of Tun Dr Mahathir’s family.

“Actually, after the launch of this film we did get in touch with Marina’s assistant, even the actress playing the role, Ning Baizura, had also contacted her.

“Since this is a true story about Tun Dr Mahathir, so the supporting characters are also required,” he as quoted in the report.

Yusuf also clarified that all the characters involved, along with the storyline, script, and locations involved would not be altered from what actually took place in real life. 

Recent reports of Mahathir: The Journey presents Azhar Amir as playing the role of Dr Mahathir, with singer Fauziah Latiff as Tun Dr Siti Hasmah.

Cast to play Marina is singer and actor Ning Baizura, with Hilal Azman, Dian P.Ramlee and Lisdawati playing the roles of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Nurul Izzah Anwar, respectively.

The film is said to be aimed at depicting the period of the gap between Dr Mahathir’s previous and present terms as the prime minister of Malaysia.

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