BMW Shorties alumni Shanjhey Kumar Perumal premiered his upcoming film Jagat (tamil slang for the word “jahat”) to members of the press yesterday, 3 December 2015 at Golden Screen Cinemas, Nu Sentral. Also in attendance were actors Harvin Raj and Marup Mustapah and composer Kamal Sabran.
As previously reported in November, Jagat centers on the relationship of bright but mischievous 12-year old boy Appoy (Harvin Raj) and his relationships with they key men of his life: his father, Maniam (Kuben Mahadevan), and his uncles, Dorai (Jibrail Rajhula), a local gangster, and Bala (Senthil Kumaran Muniandy), an ex drug addict. Appoy’s story is set against Malaysia in the nineties, when local Indians were forced to move to the city after being abandoned by their estate owners.
Appoy’s life as a school-going child is a miserable one, due to his strict upbringing. His father restricts him from watching television — if Appoy went against this rule, he would be hit as punishment. Appoy is also expected to do well in school. However, growing up witnessing his gangster uncles conduct their trade slowly transforms him.
Post-screening, Shanjhey explained that among the many things he wanted to do with Jagat was to portray the spread of gangster culture among Malaysian Indians. His depiction of thugs however is quite diverse — antagonist Da Gou for example may be a big shot, but has his own version of justice and will commit violent acts only when “absolutely necessary”.
Cinematically, Jagat achieves a lot with it’s miniscule budget. The film cost roughly RM300,000 to produce, with an addition RM300,000 going towards marketing.
“The toughest part was probably getting funds,” Shanjhey stated, “never an easy process considering this is a Tamil film made in Malaysia. RM300,000 is a really tight budget to create a mainstream film in this country,” he added.
Actor Harvin Raj meanwhile claimed that his acting debut was a great experience, and he particularly enjoyed some choreographed fight scenes. He also looks forward to doing more screen work in the future.
A Skyzen Studios production, Jagat hits cinemas nationwide on 17 December.