BOTAK CHIN ON FILM?
-by MEOR SHARIMAN -
MALAYSIA’s most notorious criminal, Wong Swee Hin, better known as ‘Botak Chin’, will be immortalised in a film to be produced by Karya Anggun, a subsidiary of Astro Shaw.
The film, with a working title of Botak, will be produced and directed by the same team which came up with the controversial Dukun, a film based on Malaysia’s infamous shaman, Mona Fandey.
Botak’s executive producer Dominique Hee, in a Press release issued by film distributor Sony Pictures on Monday, said she was excited with the project.
“It will be helmed by Dukun director Dain Iskandar Said,” she said.
Hee said that the project is in the early stages of pre-production and that casting for the fi lm has already begun.
The principal photography is scheduled for July and August next year.
“We are excited about the prospect of bringing an explosive cops and robbers action movie to Malaysian cinemas in 2008,” she said.
The movie will feature the exploits of Gang 306, headed by Botak, who had runins with both the police and organised crime rings.
When things become heated, Botak and his men have to run from both the law and other triads.
Botak was described as a charming yet cold-blooded killer who detested both the triads and the cops and decided to take the law into his own hands.
The film’s tag-line reads — ‘Every society gets the criminals it deserves.’
The project, however, has raised eyebrows among local producers.
A producer, who declined to be named, said: “I wonder how they managed to get approval from the Home Affairs Ministry.”
He said several local producers have tried to make a film about Botak Chin, but did not manage to obtain approval from the Ministry.
“The reason given was that the subject matter is too sensitive,” he said.
He said that another production tried to produce a documentary about the gang leader, dubbed by many as a modern-day Robin Hood.
“That project was also shelved for the same reason,” he said, adding that efforts by book publishers to write a biography about Botak Chin also fl oundered.
“I guess Botak Chin is a taboo subject.”
It is learnt that independent fi lmmaker, Amir Muhammad, was among those who were interested in making a film about the criminal, and had their ideas rejected.
Amir, however, was not available for comment as he is abroad.
The producer also said that to make a “cops and robbers” story, filmmakers also need to seek permission from the police, and that they normally need to submit the proposed script to Bukit Aman for scrutiny.
The Malay Mail was told that this is standard procedure and is practiced by producers, including Datuk Yusof Haslam, whose long-running Gerak Khas TV series, has the endorsement of the police.
An Astro Shaw official denied that production of the movie has commenced.
“We have yet to decide on whether to make the film or not.
We don’t even have a title,” he said.
He added that the film is still being conceptualised.
“Even if we do decide to make the film, it will have nothing to do with Botak Chin,” he said.
Coincidentally, a few months ago, Astro Shaw released a Press statement and an offi cial website that said its film, Dukun, was based on the life of Mona Fandey.
But when the project was lambasted by Mona’s family members, the producer then retracted the statement and assured the public that the film has nothing to do with Mona.
Dukun’s screening date scheduled for Dec 16 has been postponed to March next year.