Soekarno is a biopic film on Indonesia’s first president Kusno Sosrodihardjo who is better known as Soekarno who liberated his country from colonial masters.
theSun interviewed Raam Punjabi and Ario Bayu about the movie and the story was published in the sun newspaper , today. Here is the full interview.
Raam Punjabi has put his heart and soul into his latest film project, Soekarno, that is currently screening in the local cinemas. This historical film, about Indonesia’s first president Kusno Sosrodihardjo who is better known as Soekarno, took two years to complete and was produced at the cost of US$2.5 million (RM8.2 million) – making it the most expensive Indonesian film ever made. Soekarno bagged the awards for best picture and best director (for Hanung Bramantyo) at the recent Bandung Film Festival.
“This movie is my legacy to the new generation of Indonesians,” says the 71- year-old Raam, who is a key player in the Indonesian film scene and runs his own
production house, Multivision Plus, in Jakarta.
“I have admired Soekarno since I was nine years old. He has successfully united us as Indonesians. He was the one who came out with the vision of Satu Negara, Satu Bangsa and Satu Bahasa (One Country, One Race and One Language).Not many leaders could have united a nation as he had done.”
The film followed the life of Soekarno from his childhood days till the day he declared independence for Indonesia on Aug 17, 1945. Raam remembers meeting Soekarno for the first time in his birthplace of Surabaya when he was 13 years old.The then president was in the city to give a speech during one of the Indonesian elections.
“I found him to be a charismatic leader,” says Raam.
Playing Soekarno is Indonesia’s leading man Ario Bayu. Others in the cast include Lukman Sardi, Maudy Koesnaedi and Tika Bravani.
The film attracted controversy when one of Soekarno’s daughters, Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, voiced her displeasure with Hanung for selecting Ario to play her father. She had wanted another Indonesian actor, Anjasmara, for the role.
But Raam feels Ario has done justice playing the first president, adding that Soekarno’s other children and relatives have seen the film and are happy with the end result.
Ario’s family had actually migrated to New Zealand when he was eight. Then, at 19, he returned to Jakarta to pursue an acting career. Last year, he was involved in the Hollywood action film, Java Heat, playing opposite Kellan Lutz and Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke. He has also appeared in the Australian- Singaporean television drama series,
Serangoon Road, acting opposite Hollywood actress Joan Chen.
The 29-year-old actor was not amused when some people thought the controversy was a marketing ploy to attract people to watch the film.
“I do not think we need that kind of controversy,” he says.
To get into character, Ario read books, watched videos and interviewed three historians on Soekarno.
“The way I approach my role is by asking myself what I would have done if I was in Soekarno’s shoes,”he says.
Since tackling the difficult role of Soekarno, Ario has decided to take a break from acting.
Raam discloses that he hopes the younger generation of Indonesians will learn more about the man who had liberated their country from this movie.
“At the young age of 19, Soekarno already thought about politics and doing good for his people and his nation,” he says.
“I hope this movie will inspire the youth of today to follow in his footsteps instead of idling away their time or becoming involved in drugs or alcohol. They should use their time wisely. I want to create more Soekarnos among our youth.”
That was one of the reasons why Raam was willing to sink so much money into the movie.
“The budget for this is 10 times more than the budget in my other movies," he says
“There are two aspects to moviemaking. One is to make money and the other is to get satisfaction. I would say Soekarno falls into the second category.
“I cannot say for sure if I will make money from this movie. But I enjoyed making this film. Of course, I cannot go on making movies without expecting money in return.”
Soekarno has also been selected by the Indonesian government for consideration in the foreign film category for next year’s Oscars.
Raam is extremely grateful to the government.
“I cannot say for sure if my film will get into the top five nominations," he says
“But what I know for sure is this film will expose the world to my country, Indonesia, and my first president, Soekarno.”
|The producer Raam Punjabi presents his movie Soekarno|
|Ario Bayu as Soekarno in the scene of the movie|