MALAYSIA - Are Malaysian moviegoers ready for the first mainstream Malaysian-made movie about homosexuals?
That will be answered when ... Dalam Botol, directed by Khir Rahman, opens nationwide at the end of the year. The film will be his directorial debut.
The controversial film, its original title was Anu Dalam Botol, focuses on the relationship between a gay couple that ends tragically.
Newcomers Azharudin Ramli and Saiful Redzuan Abu Bakar, play the lead roles after beating more well-known and established actors such as Adi Putra and Norman Hakim for the coveted roles as the first local on-screen gay couple.
Producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman is hopeful that the film will do well in cinemas.
"I am grateful to the National Censorship Board for what they did during the shooting of the film," she said.
Raja Azmi said she met the board's members and went through the script with them. She was happy with the feedback from the board.
"They advised me on scenes that should not be included in the movie. Based on the their advice, 30 per cent of the original screenplay was changed."
She said most of the changes were made to detailed intimate scenes between the on-screen lovers.
"We toned down the intimate scenes to meet the board's guidelines."
Raja Azmi also revealed that they did shoot some "hot scenes" which would not be available for viewing in the country.
"The scenes will be included in a director's cut that will be shown at international film festivals.
"The only way for Malaysians to watch the uncensored version is to attend international film festivals."
Raja Azmi said she was satisfied with the film, especially with the acting.
"Saiful and Azharudin gave a performance that shocked me. I am very impressed."
Two big names also appear in the movie in supporting roles -- Diana Danielle and Fauziah Ahmad Daud.
Raja Azmi hoped moviegoers would support the movie.
"The film is based on a true story and I want the audience to watch and realise the implication of making one false move."
She also wants the audience to accept the film with an open mind and not judge it negatively based on its theme.
"Watch it first before you make judgements," she said.
Moviegoers can watch the film's trailer on YouTube and Facebook by keying the words ... Dalam Botol.
If ... Dalam Botol gets shown in the cinemas, it will create history as the first gay-themed film ever to be shown openly in Malaysia.
Similar Hollywood films like Brokeback Mountain, Borat and Bruno were banned here.
A local short film on the lives of transvestites making a living in Jalan Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Bukak Api (2000), directed by Osman Ali, was only allowed to be shown in private screenings.
Another film on transvestites, 2 Alam produced by dR Movie Productions is expected to be shown in June.
However, the character of the transvestite in the movie is played by Singaporean actress Suhailah Salam.