'Ahok' Biopic to Focus on Former Governor's Childhood, Director Says

Director Putrama Tuta returns to the silver screen with 'A Man Called Ahok,' a biopic centered on Jakarta's former governor, Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama. (Photo courtesy of AMCA Publicist)

By : Diella Yasmine | on 12:27 PM November 08, 2018
Category : Life & Style, Movies

Jakarta. Director Putrama Tuta returns to the silver screen with "A Man Called Ahok," a biopic centered on Jakarta's former governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Adapted from Rudi Valinka’s best-selling novel of the same name, the upcoming film follows Ahok’s childhood in Bangka Belitung and the role of his father, Indra Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Kim Nam, during the former governor's formative years.

Since the trailer has been uploaded on YouTube, the film has garnered enthusiasm from Ahok’s supporters, amassing more than a million views.

Some viewers who commented on the trailer, expressed their admiration and appreciation for the film and some even commented on how they missed the former governor.

Speaking at a press conference in South Jakarta on Monday, Putrama said his film focuses on the relationship between father and son, adding that he did not want to glorify Ahok.

"This film purely highlights their relationship. I refuse to expose other sides of his life because everyone already knows that story. No one knows about his relationship with his father," Putrama said.

"I only want to share his story from the point of view that people don’t know. There are important things that need to be highlighted and this film does just that,"he added.

The filmmaker did not explore Ahok’s relationship with his ex-wife, Veronica Tan, although she is still depicted in the movie.

"It is important to feature her [Veronica] in some of the scenes to complement the story but I am committed to sticking with my original plan...," the director said.

In developing the story, Putrama and his team conducted research and interviews with Ahok’s family in Belitung for a few months to fact check along with Rudi Valinka who supervised the script.

"I went there several times and visited everyone mentioned and not mentioned in the book to explore the character backgrounds," Rudi said.

He said Ahok himself provided input for the script, adjusting the story and characters.

"We have visited him at the Mako Brimob prison several times. Mr. Ahok has been involved in this film since the beginning," the author said, referring to the headquarters of the National Police's Mobile Brigade, where the former governor is held while serving a two-year sentence for blasphemy.

Putrama also said the film complements the novel since it did not elaborate much on Ahok's family background.

"This film answers some of the questions in the book about his family and the book answers questions about Ahok’s life. In a way, both stories intertwine with each other," the director said.

Actor and television host Daniel Mananta stars in the titular role in the film.

"I am honored to have this opportunity. This film is my first project in a while but I won’t let anything bring me down," Daniel said.

"A Man Called Ahok" will be released in theaters on Thursday.

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