Asmawi Ani

IT’S been a long time coming, says Asmawi Ani about his upcoming venture into film directing.

The 35-year-old producer, singer and actor will sit in the director’s chair for the first time come July for Cerita Rock Sangkut, a comedy with an Islamic touch, set to be released next year.

His production company, Mawi World Entertainment, has produced dramas, telemovies and documentaries.

“I’ve been wanting to direct a film for quite some time now. I think it’s only natural for me to move from the small screen to the big screen,” he said at Balai Berita in Kuala Lumpur after a special photoshoot in conjunction with the Anugerah Bintang Popular BH 3.0 on May 14.

The Johor-born Mawi took home ABPBH’s coveted Most Popular award for three consecutive years from 2005.

Mawi, who first shot to fame after winning season 3 of popular television reality talent show Akademi Fantasia in 2005, said Cerita Rock Sangkut, a joint venture with Skop Productions, was expected to cost around RM1.5 million.

A spin-off from the 2014 telemovie Rock Sangkut starring Joey Daud, Hazama and Along Cham, the film tells the story of three aspiring rockers from a village who travel to the city in search of stardom, only to be conned along the way. They then met an imam who gives them shelter and food. The boys take part in a nasyid competition and win, and become popular nasyid singers instead.

The film will also star Joey Daud and Hazama. Since Along is unable to join them due to other commitments, he will be replaced with Abam.

“I may not be experienced in directing, but I have to start somewhere. I am a fast learner and I know I can do this. (Award-winning director) Syamsul Yusof has been showing me the ropes and I am grateful to him for this.

“Even his father, Datuk Yusof Haslam, shared some useful tips,” said Mawi, who is currently busy on the set of Syamsul’s latest film, Munafik 2.

Mawi, who plays a boatman named Azhar in the horror drama sequel, said he enjoyed being on film sets. His last cinematic outing was playing the role of Badang in the 2010 fantasy film, Magika.

“I was told that when Syamsul was writing the script for Munafik 2, he already had me in his mind to play Azhar,” said Mawi, who is grateful to his Kalah Dalam Menang duet partner for giving him the opportunity to get back in action in front of the camera.

“We are midway into filming. So far, film locations include Cherating in Pahang and the Klang Valley. We will be heading to Perak next,” he added.

Munafik 2 is expected to wrap up filming on May 8.

Mawi is down for 25 days of filming, a duration which he considers sufficiently short for a busy man like him.

It was also one of the reasons why he took up the offer to star in the film.

“Having to manage my business and doting over my little family, I can only take up offers which do not take up so much of my time away from home,” he said, adding that before Munafik 2, he had turned down three acting offers.

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