KRU’s ‘Malay Chronicles’ releases today in Malaysia & Brunei

By AMRITA VALECHA | 10 March, 2011 - 14:56

KRU Studio’s ‘Malay Chronicles’ locally called Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa hits 68 screens (60% in Malay and 40% in English) in Malaysia and Brunei today. United Studio, sister concern of KRU Studios has distributed the film in Malaysia. Internationally the movie is distributed by Epic Pictures. The film will release in Singapore in May 2011.

Excited about the release of the film, Norman Hamin shares, "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa" or internationally known as "The Malay Chronicles - Bloodlines" is the most elaborate production made by a Malaysian studio to date and is the most widely distributed Malaysian made film globally. We hope that this film will not only create global interest on Malaysian films but also opens the opportunity to work with other established producers around the world on co production basis.”

KRU studios created over 1,500 VFX shots mainly to enhance the grandness of the screenplay eg. set extensions, crowd simulation, battle scene and character animation. The studio started development in March 2008, production was from June to August 2009 and post production was from September 2009 until October 2010.

Talking about the challenges faced, Norman said, “Apart from weather conditions during production, we do not have a big team to work on the visual effects. For Hollywood CGI productions, usually there are around 300 VFX artistes but we worked around only 12 people.”

The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines’ tells the tale of Merong who is said to be the direct descendent of Alexander the Great, who was asked to escort a Roman Prince to marry a Chinese Princess on neutral grounds. Based loosely on the historical document entitled ‘Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa”, KRU has used creative license to adapt various items. For example, in the book there is a giant bird called Geruda but in the film they interpreted that not as a bird but as a group of people called Gerudans.

The script is developed by Amir Hafizi and Yusry KRU. “The film is set in 120 A.D but Alexander invaded Asia in 300 B.C, so there’s a difference of 500 years. As such we establish the link between Merong and Alexander by showing that Merong always wore this particular capsule around his neck. The capsule contains the formula to produce Archimedes’ death ray. It is said that the Archimedes ray was drawn in Alexanders’ time so this is how we make it tie-in together. We link the pieces together… but it’s not historical… it’s a fantasy”, explains Norman.