When director-cum-actor Singampuli found out that parts of Kavita Kannadasan Kadalakiporange, or in short KaKaKaPo, would be shot in Ipoh, he was most excited. So was his co-star, the ravishing Sakshi Agarwal.
It was Singampuli’s second trip to Ipoh. His first trip was four years ago, for the filming of Kardia. He said, “Even though it would only be for three days, I couldn’t wait to be here. We had scenes at a Chinese temple in Bercham while other scenes were at the Sri Mariamman Temple in Buntong and the Lost World of Tambun. We also would be on location in Lumut.”
According to the 46-year-old comedic actor, Ipoh reminded him of India’s Pondicherry, formerly a French colonial settlement. “Ipoh is a well-planned city. It is clean and green. I feel close to nature thanks to the limestone outcrops. Ipoh’s low population density makes it a peaceful city compared to my hometown Chennai, which could get extremely chaotic!
“Somehow, when I am in Ipoh, I feel like I am on holiday although I am actually not. I also stop eating Indian food but indulge in nasi lemak and nasi goreng. Generally, I do feel that I am eating healthier in Malaysia than when I am home. Also, I prefer the weather here even though it could rain for hours or get pretty hot but I am sure you have read about the intense summer heat in India!”
Meanwhile, for 24-year-old Sakshi, it was her first trip to Ipoh. Having been on a vacation to Kuala Lumpur previously and enjoyed the shopping scene, she expected the same of Ipoh but was disappointed that there wasn’t a shopping strip where she could conveniently grab some souvenirs. “I was hoping to pick up a few t-shirts printed with “I Love Ipoh” for my family back home in Bangalore but I failed to find any. Not that I have plenty of time for shopping in the first place,” she laughed.
As the lead actress, Sakshi was on call for most of the six days she was here so it was understandable that she didn’t have too much time to see Ipoh. However, of the locals that she came into contact with, she said, “They are friendly and down to earth. Also, I have a positive feeling that local fans are very supportive. Whole families came to witness our shoot and they were very happy for the chance to take photos with us.”
A vegetarian, Sakshi hoped that there would be more eating places that cater to people like herself. “I have been eating too much pulut hijau. Good thing they are delicious. We don’t have them in India!” she exclaimed.
While Sakshi did not have an opinion on the negative aspect of Ipoh, Singampuli voiced his dislike for horse-racing. The locals’ love for horse betting seemed to have reached his ears despite the short time he spent in the city. Shaking his head, he said, “Indeed, I have heard of people of Indian origin losing too much money at the races.”
The big-budget movie production sees 24-year-old Keschav from Teluk Intan making his debut in an international Kollywood film. The romantic comedy is produced by DNS Movie Production Pte. Ltd. with their local partner, DNS Movie Production Sdn. Bhd. KaKaKaPo, a Tamil movie which will help promote Perak as a tourist destination, is expected to hit the silver screen later in the year.
Note: An edited version of this article [Short but Sweet] was published on 5th September, 2015, in the now-defunct The Malay Mail.