KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 — Recently, Malaysians were left surprised after seeing former education minister, Maszlee Malik appearing in a trailer for a Squid Game-inspired short film called Taruh.
The trailer, which came out last Friday, has been making its rounds across social media and as it turns out, Taruh was the work of local production house, Cineplus Asia.
The production company wanted to give viewers a Malaysian version of the Korean global hit series.
Speaking to Malay Mail, Maszlee said his involvement in the short film was part of his learning activities as he enjoys doing new things.
The short film involves several local professional wrestlers from APAC Wrestling who are the stuntmen for Taruh and they’re part of Maszlee’s efforts in bringing local wrestling talents to the mainstream and international arena.
Even though the Simpang Renggam MP is no stranger when it comes to productions, acting turns out to be a first for him.
“The producer Ayez Shaukat Fonseka who’s also a producer cum actor cum director, invited me and I said okay, as long as I can learn new things, I’m more than ready.
“Camera is nothing alien to me, and production is nothing new, but this one is going to be totally different.
“Because unlike (past) feature documentaries where I was a presenter and a producer, this time, I’m an actor, even though it’s a short movie, it’s going to be a totally different experience and I like different experiences,” Maszlee told Malay Mail.
Aside from that, Maszlee also assured viewers that Taruh will not be short of subliminal messages, and he agrees that using hidden meanings is a good way to educate the public.
This is also in line with what he had experienced from watching Squid Game and another Korean hit series, Vincenzo.
“Squid Game and Vincenzo, I feel that these directors, they’re really into existentialism and they deal with the real problem of ordinary people.
“They talked about debts, foreign worker’s struggles, they were talking about triads, they talked about people searching for meaning in their life, people struggling with moral ground in making their decision. They’re dealing with real life,” Maszlee said.
He added that the public might see Squid Game for its pop culture craze but for him, it is not a typical K-Drama series nor just another Netflix’s series.
Maszlee described Squid Game to be philosophical and the same vibe can be expected in Taruh.
On his role as Player 237 in Taruh, Maszlee said the role was the director’s idea and Player 237 is the exact opposite of himself.
“When Shaukat approached me, he told me acting is about becoming a completely different person, but I still need to have that character that suits me.
“He told me that I’m still going to be a politician in Taruh but totally different from what I am now and that’s kind of a challenge for me too,” he said.
Maszlee also said that in preparation for his character, he admitted to referencing a few Hollywood actors such as Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis as well as Daniel Craig with Cruise being his main influence in portraying Player 237.
“I also learnt a lot from other actors there regardless of whether they’re the professional wrestlers or the professional actors and actresses.
“I learn by looking at them and talking to them, it’s a totally different world from what I’ve experienced in my life,” Maszlee said.
According to Maszlee, Taruh is just the beginning of their plans as they’re looking for more ways to contribute to the community, especially for the children with special needs.
“This is going to be a preliminary for bigger things that’s coming which includes events and movies.
“I might be doing some things for the children with special needs by pushing myself beyond the limit.”
“This is part of my learning process as well for the bigger agenda, nothing to do with politics, purely on education and a way to breed Malaysian talent abroad,” he said.
Maszlee isn’t the first local politician to dabble in the films as there are other politicians who had their fair share of time acting in short films such as the current Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as well as PKR vice president Tian Chua.
Taruh will premiere at 8pm on October 28 via Cineplus Asia’s Facebook page.
Aside from the former education minister, the ‘fan-made’ short film will also feature local talents such as actress, Intan Ladyana, APAC Wrestling’s Nor Phoenix Diana and Cineplus Asia’s Aqinna B.
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