Sukarno film reeling from controversy

Sukarno film reeling from controversy

INDONESIA - Post-production work is under way, and the trailers are already playing.

But a blockbuster film on the life of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno slated to open in December has drawn heat from one of his daughters, who feels the lead actor is not suitable to play her father.

The film director has shot back, saying the actor she prefers cannot pull off the playboy look when everyone knows the former president had an eye for women.

Ms Rachmawati Soekarnoputri, 62, and the younger sister of former president Megawati, thinks Ario Bayu, 28, is not "nationalistic" enough. (Incidentally, the actor stars as a police inspector in the new HBO series Serangoon Road, which premieres tonight.)

She had suggested the movie and had been helping producers with details of her father's life. But on Sept 12, she issued a lawyer's letter against production house Multivision Plus, demanding that the film Soekarno: Indonesia Merdeka be stopped.

Multivision's lawyers replied last week, saying that while they regret her decision to pull out, their clients have the right to go ahead though they remain willing to discuss her concerns and reshoot some scenes if necessary.

Referring to Ms Rachmawati's views on actor Ario Bayu's portrayal of her father, well-known director Hanung Bramantyo said: "We need professional actors who can bring his character to life... Nationalistic sentiment was not the only quality required to play Sukarno."

He also told reporters that Ms Rachmawati's preferred actor, Anjasmara, 37, could not pull off the "playboy" look. Indonesia's first president had a roving eye, Mr Hanung noted.

Ms Rachmawati's lawyer, Mr Ramdan Alamsyah, took offence - despite the fact that Sukarno married nine times - posting on Twitter: "This is an insult to Bung Karno."

But the ongoing dispute illustrates how, decades on, Sukarno and his legacy remain controversial.

Mr Bonnie Triyana, editor of history magazine Historia, described the objection to the choice of actor as "excessive".

"There's no such thing as a totally objective film when it involves a major historical figure, and as a work of art, it has a right to be aired," he said.

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