Actress in local Malay movie on hijab-wearing wrestler did most of the stunts herself
After watching Banting, in which Izyan Mellyna Ishak plays the lead role as aspiring professional wrestler Yasmin, her husband said to her: "I better be careful now."
Izyan, 27, told The New Paper on Wednesday: "He looked at me and said in disbelief, 'So you really did all the stunts,'"
Hubby Muhammad Saifulnazri Sardani, 29, said: "I know she is a very strong person and can do anything she puts her mind to. But she impressed me by going all out. I thought wrestling was just fun and laughter."
The technician with ExxonMobil added: "I don't think I can even do what she did. I better think twice now if she asks to wrestle. I could get hurt!"
In the sports comedy, which opens in cinemas here today, a hijab-wearing Yasmin goes behind her mother's back to challenge conventions and realise her wrestling dreams. Her mother is played by Mastura Ahmad.
The heartwarming movie, which is the first locally-produced Malay commercial film since the 1970s, also stars Fauzie Laily as Yasmin's good friend Zaidy, Jimmy Taenaka as her alcoholic has-been coach and Osman Zailani as her grandfather.
It is a tale of family ties, passion and determination that is likely to move even the stony-hearted to tears.
Papahan Films' Banting (Malay for slam) is directed and written by M. Raihan Halim.
Izyan admitted that excitement turned to doubt when she faced scepticism from friends regarding the role.
"Many asked if I really wanted to take on the role. I took that as a challenge, not to prove them wrong, but to prove to myself that I could do it," she said.
Izyan did all the stunts herself, except for the moonsault (a back flip to pin down one's opponent from a height) for which a male stunt double was hired.
Bruises on her back and knees were par for the course, but she wore them like badges of honour.
"I was quite proud of them. They reflected the effort and hard work that I had put in," said the wrestling fan, who also suffered whiplash during the first few sessions of the month-long wrestling training.She added:
"When I was younger, my older brother would always perform wrestling stunts on me."Izyan
said that her on-screen character is similar to her real self.
"We talk and act the same way. My friend said it was Izyan playing Izyan.
"I'm also a tomboy. I used to play football, make-up is the last thing on my mind and I'm very much a T-shirt-and-jeans kind of person."
Banting is Izyan's first film. She started out on television at the age of eight, dancing, singing and acting on Malay children's variety programme Ya Alif! and continuing for more than four years.
Since then, she has been involved in corporate theatre productions and she acted in Suria drama series last year. They include Walimah seasons 1 and 2, Runner Runner and Di Luar Garisan seasons 1 and 2.
The Sociology with Communication graduate is a successful new face on Suria. This despite "actress" not actually being on her long list of ambitions.
Some jobs that are on the list: educator, policewoman and Unicef volunteer.
Izyan also runs a wedding decor business called Elly Weddings, a business she started over a year ago. But for now, her focus is on her new project, a Malay sci-fi TV series Firasat, which will see her working again with Raihan.
This time, Izyan will have not one but two roles in the show, as a pair of twins.
"I have no idea how that will be, but I guess you and I will find out," she said.
"I was quite proud of them. For me, they reflected the effort and hard work that I had put in."
- Izyan Mellyna Ishak on the bruises she sustained from filming