On the 17th of March 2010, Manjafilms Sdn Bhd turned 5 years old.
So far this year, Manjafilms has been lucky. After more than a year of not being able to do any dramas, except for documentaries that we did for Awani and the Securities Commission, Manjafilms is now in production of its latest TV series for RTM entitled Detik 12 Malam. Thank you RTM.
But two days after Manjafilms turned 5 years old, Astro Citra called me for a meeting and at that meeting, thank Allah swt, our proposal for an 8 episode drama based on the Selangor Civil War of 1870 was approved and greenlighted. Yesssss!!!
After months of waiting and biting fingernails, my dream project for TV will be a reality.
If all goes well, this mini-epic will begin principal photography in early June and will be telecasted in 2011.
Now that is has been greenlighted, I can tell you that the working title is 1870 but will change once production is completed. Right now, my suggestion for the title is "1870: Setahil Timah Segumpal Darah" (1870: A tahil of tin, a clump of blood).
The story uses the 8 year Selangor Civil War as a background. For those history buffs, the civil war began in 1864 when Raja Mahadi decided to make Klang his domain by attacking it and conquering it from Raja Abdullah.
The war dragged on and brought into the picture one of our nation's most colorful but yet misunderstood characters - Tengku Kudin, the Kedah prince who was at one time the Viceroy of Selangor.
The incident, brought into play many famous names - Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, Sultan Abdul Samad, Tengku Kudin, Raja Mahadi, Syed Masyhur, Dato Dagang and many others.
The civil war culminated in the battle of Rawang when Yap Ah Loy along with fighters imported from Pahang resoundingly beat the already exhausted fighters under the leadership of Syed Masyhur and Raja Mahadi.
That final battle had a fascinating footnote - it was possibly the first instance of rocket warfare on Malaysian soil. It was reported that Yap Ah Loy, who was desperate to end the hostilities as it was costing his a fortune, imported fire arrows from China to bombard Raja Mahadi's front line.
During the eight year civil war, they were many interesting episodes - including the massacre of Kanching villagers on the order of Kapitan Yap, the sham trials of Malays suspected of piracy by the British in order to allow them to intervene in Selangor affairs and also the love triangle between Raja Mahadi, Tengku Kudin and Raja Arfah, the daughter of Sultan Abdul Samad.
Other famous battles included the battle for Kota Klang in which Raja Ismail attacked Raja Mahadi's fort without waiting for Tengku Kudin's reinforcements from Kedah. Raja Ismail sacked Raja Mahadi who went into hiding but managed to regroup and instead attack Kuala Lumpur and conquered it.
He ruled Kuala Lumpur for a few years before Yap Ah Loy decided to put his lot with Tengku Kudin and fought Raja Mahadi.
The story has lots of intrigue and an unbelievable love story. Like someone once said, fact can be stranger than fiction.
This mini-epic will be Manjafilms' greatest challenge so far. We have to follow great acts - Rosly Dhoby, Sybil Kartighesu, Korban 66 and Tangkal Besi. So, let the games begin.