KUALA LUMPUR – Playing the role of goalkeeper ‘Muthu’ in the movie, ‘Ola Bola’, which scored gold at the box-office has been life’s greatest challenge for budding actor M. Saran Kumar.
The 21-year-old has never faced the cameras before appearing in the film which has so far, collected RM12 million in 18 days since its release on Jan 28.
Although he had played for the Selangor football under-18 team during his schooling days, it was only as defender.
In order to get himself accustomed to the character, Saran said film director Chiu Keng Guan ensured he was given personal training to learn the techniques of a goalkeeper.
“I was surprised when I was asked to act as goalkeeper, because I had no experience. So, I was given personal training for three months,” Saran told Bernama here today.
The second year electrical and electronics engineering student at Universiti Tenaga Nasional said however, he did not feel burdened with portraying the character of the country’s famous goalkeeper, and worked hard to bring it to life.
Saran said since the time he was offered to play the character in the film, he tried to dive into the life of the character, and his studies were put on hold for one semester – just to focus and be committed to his role in the film.
Film viewers associated the character brought to life by Saran in the film with former national number one goalkeeper, the late Datuk R. Arumugam, who was known as ‘Spiderman’, in the country’s golden era of football, during the 1970s.
The fictional film, ‘Ola Bola’, depicts the story of the Malaysian national football team during the time they qualified for the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
Saran, born in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur felt excited when offered a role in the film which indirectly highlights the glory days of the national football team, and the spirit of togetherness among Malaysians.
He was also very moved with the overwhelming positive reponse by the public to the film.
“I do not know how to explain my feelings when looking at the response of the audience. I am so thrilled and proud to have had the opportunity to contribute, to some extent, to the success of the film,” he said.
He said the experience he gained while making the film had instilled his passion for acting, and he hoped to continue developing his talent as an actor if he was offered other roles in future.
However, Saran added, his ambition to become an electrical/electronics engineer remained intact.
The film which was released in 120 screens nationwide, saw 90 per cent of its characters acted by new and emerging actors, among them JC Chee, Luqman Hafidz, Marianne Tan, Katrina Ho, Bront Palarae and Frankie Lee. – BERNAMA