Weeks after rapper-director Namawee’s video asked for a re-evaluation of the yet-to-air Banglasia 2.0, he finally got his wish! While the marketing ploy did go viral, garnering over 600,000 views and 3,000 comments to-date, it locked in a screen-date.
One of the few Malaysian-made movies to get a 18+ rating, the premiere of Banglasia 2.0 is a long-time coming; especially, for Namawee.
While it didn’t get the go-ahead to air in Malaysia, it gained international acclaim. In fact, it toured the globe at multiple festivals.
This includes appearing at the New York Asian Film Festival, Osaka International Film Festival, and Singapore’s equivalent.
When Namawee put his plight on YouTube, many fans rallied for his cause; just as many Malaysians call for the film to get the green light. These request come after the fact that the controversial producer’s previous movie, Nasi Lemak 2.0, has been a huge hit.
He faced other challenges in 2011 when Banglasia, the orignal name, saw 31 cuts that reduced the run-time to 5-minutes.
With the renaming to Banglasia 2.0, Namawee confirms that there are a couple of new scenes; this is to make the story relevant in current times.
All About Timing
“After years of uncertainty I can’t help but feel very emotional. It’s a mixed feeling: very happy that it’s finally approved, but real sad. [I’m sad] because I can’t show the film in its fullest and purest intended version.
However, I respect and thank the Malaysian Film Censorship Board for its decision. After all, I don’t want to wait another five years!” said Namewee.
He also believes that, with the release of Banglasia 2.0, there’s a sense of renewed freedom of expression for film-makers. For Fred Chong, WebTVAsia CEO, the movie highlights the messages that Namawee is very infamous for.
“It’s consistent with his other patriotic films like Nasi Lemak 2.0 and Hantu Gangster. All of them focus on the fat that we live in a multi-racial country; it’s a place where mutual respect and understanding are key to maintaining peace and harmony for all,” Chong added.
The release date, 28 February 2019, is very timely as the movie has strong connections to Chinese New Year festivities. For Namawee and Chong, this is the perfect opportunity to watch Banglasia 2.0.
“Our run with the cinemas are highly dependent on local support for more screens and air-times. We didn’t get the compulsory screening go-ahead so we’re hopeful that all Malaysians will catch Banglasia 2.0 soon,” Chong shared.
Text by: Victor Yap
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