MH370 And MH17 Air Tragedies Captivate Film And Stage Producers

MH370 And MH17 Air Tragedies Captivate Film And Stage Producers
By Kharizal Mat Khalid

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) — Both local and foreign film producers and stage play directors have shown interest in taking the story of the still missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight and the MH17 flight that was shot down over Ukraine to their audience.

What more, the interesting postulations, facts and mystery surrounding the two tragedies that occurred three months apart, are the selling points for producers and directors to captivate their audience with their creative piece.

A trailer for the film on the still missing MH370, “The Vanishing Act: The Untold Story of the Missing Malaysian Plane” was even released at the Cannes film festival. The rushed film is said to be work of Indian director Rupesh Paul who is said to have been inspired by the tragedy that remains a mystery till today.

While many may consider Paul’s film on what transpired onboard MH370 is in bad taste and premature as the plane is yet to be found and the cause yet to be determined, history has shown producers have capitalised on tragedies to enchant their audience on silver screen or stage.


Malaysians would recall the film ‘Bukit Kepong’ produced and directed by Tan Sri Jins Shamsuddin in the early 1980s. The film is based on the gallantry of the servicemen who died in the attack on the police station during the height of the Communist insurgency.

The theater on Natrah directed by Erma Fatima in 2010 is another piece of history that subsequently made a successful transition to the silver screen as well. Natrah, is the story of a young woman who refused to return to her biological parents after being brought up by a Muslim Malay family and the subsequent events that led to the bloody riots in Singapore in Dec 1950.

The President of the Malaysian Television Producers Association (PTVM), Jurey Latif Mohd Rosli said he was not surprised if there were filmmakers who wanted to take the MH370 and MH17 tragedies to the silver screen.

And it is not impossible to turn it into a motion picture, all it takes is some creativity to turn it into an interesting flick.


However, the tragedies can only be replayed on screen or stage only when there is consent from the family members, the authorities and the airlines.

“It cannot be denied that while many of the industry players are interested with the idea, but they may be concerned with the hurdles like sensitivities of the victims’ next of kin, the fact that the film could prejudice investigations and even dent the nation’s image”, he said to Bernama recently.

Jurey said the government has to provide the encouragement for the film industry players by allowing the MH370 and MH17 tragedies to be viewed from the human interest viewpoint.

“As for example, the producers could show the earnesty of the volunteers who worked day and night during the search and rescue efforts, and how the government faced the next of kin of the passengers and crew and the media, and how the bodies of the victims were handed over to the families with full honour”, he said.

He explained that regardless of the medium that the stories would be screened, the family members’ poignant moments could be visualised in screen or stage as long as the storyline does not deviate from what actually had transpired.


“However, it should be noted that often the producers only reflect 10 percent of the actual events while the rest are often fiction that comes from the creativity of the directors and actors”, he said.

Jurey noted that while any film on MH370 and MH17 would definitely be a costly affair, there were good chances that they would turn up as hit or even box office movies or at least make it to the Film Festivals.

Meanwhile theater director, Khusiary Mahayuddin noted that he has been keen to take the MH370 and MH17 to the theaters but also at the same time is fully aware of the impediments ahead in realising the dream.

Khusairy said the script has to be evaluated and sanctioned by the authorities before anyone could take the risk to stage the MH370 and MH17 using the monodrama concept.

The human elements in the MH370 and MH17 can be highlighted in sending out a positive message.


“This will be complemented by the visual, audio, and lighting elements apart from the acting line’s talent in bringing out the characters in this poignant theater piece”, he said.

Khusiary pointed out creating a theater piece from real life stories involve high cost, anything from RM30,000 to RM50,000, to ensure the theater concept meets its goal.

Musly Amir Mohammed Ramli or Musly Ramlee, an actor who is well known for his portrayal of the late Malay screen idol Tan Sri P. Ramlee, agreed that the tragic event involving the country’s national career has to presented on screen or stage in five years time.

“It is inappropriate if the film, theater or drama producers work on the event now, as the next of kin are still grieving on the loss of their loved ones, give some space for the next of kin for now”, he said.

Musly shared his own experience that taking on the character of a person who is no longer around, like the late P.Ramlee, is a mental challenge and not something that everyone would like to do.



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