Saturday, October 19, 2013

WHY WAS THE FILM ‘KL GANGSTER 2’ NOT BANNED?

By Mansor Puteh



I did not see ‘KL Gangster’ when it was released few years ago, which went on to collect a dozen million ringgit at the local box office. It appealed to the puerile tastes and it does not show regard to the more noble values many in the country still hold.

When ‘K L Ganster 2’ appeared, I thought this was too much. Never mind how the film was made available by unknown sources on YouTube and in pirated DVDs in the pasar malam.

But what shocked me the most is why didn’t Lembaga Penapisan Filem or LPF ban this film altogether? And where are the many well-meaning Melayu and Muslim groups on this matter?

They were very vocal when it concerned some other films which they deemed to be superfluous and which had demeaned the country, Melayu and also Islam.

‘KL Gangster 2’ also does similar things, and worse, because it was produced by the Melayu and Muslims themselves.

And I do not plan to see this film, after seeing the trailer and a bit of the documentary on the making of it on television, which is repulsive enough.

It is clear that the director and producer have misused the art of the cinema, created by the many others before them and the others who are trying to create a semblance of a national cinema for the country.

‘KL Gangster 2’ has everything that one does not need to have in the creation of such a cinema.

This film does not deserved to be shown in the country at all. There is no justification for it to be shown even when it could attract the attention of many cinema-goers in the country.

It should not have been made at all, in the first place, if the proper checks and balance have been put in place.

It does not show any respect to the people it portrays and the city of Kuala Lumpur it is set in.

Worse, it is also a crime that the Royal Malaysian Police have not bothered to register their disgust on this film, which in more ways than one insinuate how inefficient they are and how unlawful Kuala Lumpur is.

There has never been at any time or episode in the history of the Old Malayan Cinema and the Malaysian Cinema, when films of this type have been produced.

Most of the producers and also studios then knew the parameters that they had bound themselves in, and beyond which they frown, even when they all knew how films that deal with the superfluous can bring in the profits.

They had the temerity to go beyond personal ideas and deal with the ideals of the race, country and values of their religion.

If they had not bothered to be petty they would have come up with films which are far worse than ‘KL Gangster 2’, especially now with the availability of the computer generated imaging, that allows the imagination to run wild.

But filmmaking in Malaysia is not about letting the imagination to run wild.

In the Malaysian context especially of today, a filmmaker will be better respected and recognized if he chooses to record the moments in the exciting development of the country, recording for prosperity.

So no wonder many of P. Ramlee’s films are still being shown on television again and again, because they have these values which record moments in the early development of the country.

This also explains why of the many films and also television dramas that have been produced over the last few decades, not many are being remembered. 

Surely, the director and producer of ‘KL Gangster 2’ should have known better not to produce such a film, despite it being able to attract the viewers.

The truth is that it belittles almost everything about Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Melayu and also Islam.

Unfortunately, the film does not care; it deals with the crudest form of entertainment which was inspired by earlier films produced by Hollywood and also Hong Kong and later on by Thailand.

And how could any want to allow groups of Melayu gangsters prowling the streets of Kuala Lumpur and getting embroiled in gang fights, and not in some unknown roads, but Jalan Petaling.

Where are the police?

It is also ironic how ‘KL Ganster 2’ could open at the time when Ops Cantas is underway, when more and more members of the illegal groups or Triads and other gang groups are being hounded?

What is ‘KL Gangster 2’ trying to say here?

Can they hide their guilt behind the ‘denoument’, and the adage that ‘crime does not pay’ which is made available at the very end of the film?

If ‘KL Ganster’ and its sequel ‘KL Gangster 2’ were made by foreign film companies which had wanted to come to Kuala Lumpur to work on such films, chances are they would not have been allowed to do so.

The authorities would reject their application when the screenplay was submitted for study.

However, since these two films were not made by foreign companies, but a local one, they could bypass such a procedure, and complete their films and got the LPF to issue screening permits, even if they are rated 13, meaning only those age thirteen and above are allowed to see the films.

In these two films, Kuala Lumpur is seen to be a wild place, with gangsters hanging everywhere.

And there is lawlessness with the police nowhere to be seen, that had allowed the gangs to do as they please.

Three is no justification for these to be allowed to be inferred, even if the makers of the film cry ‘creative freedom’ or ‘artistic license’.

They must realize that these two concepts were introduced to allow those who are not interested to be bound by the laws of the country and deal with realistic issues and realism would want to scream those phrases.

Can we expect the producers of such films to be more discerning and show more tact in producing films in the near future, so that they can develop a certain degree of self-respect as filmmakers so that they can get mutual respect from their viewers and public?

The producers of this film can indeed benefit much from the cinema, but the Malaysian cinema cannot benefit much from this film.  



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