"Who do you think is my favourite child?"
Spilt Gravy / Ke Mana Tumpahnya Kuah… is stage director Zahim Albakri’s premier film, adapted from Spilt Gravy On Rice, the award-winning play by Jit Murad.
The film features an ensemble cast of Rahim Razali, Zahim Albakri, Na’a Murad, Bernice Chauly, Sean Ghazi and Juliana Ibrahim, with cameos from some of Malaysia’s popular stage, TV and film personalities.
Set in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, Spilt Gravy / Ke Mana Tumpahnya Kuah… revolves around a dysfunctional upper middle class Malay family. Living in the heart of this metropolis is Bapak, who finds himself contending with his own mortality as the city’s progress mushrooms around him.
Spilt Gravy / Ke Mana Tumpahnya Kuah… takes place over the course of one day, the 8th of June 2011. Bapak senses that he does not have much time left, so he invites his offspring to dinner the next evening to discuss matters concerning their inheritance, a large part of which comprises the family home that sprawls an acre of prime real estate in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. An unexpected visit from two strangers leads Bapak to change his plans and bring the dinner forward to that evening instead. He sends his children a message to inform them but do they find out in time?
The screenplay of Spilt Gravy / Ke Mana Tumpahnya Kuah… is based on the play Spilt Gravy On Rice by the late Jit Murad, originally staged in The Actors Studio, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur in August 2002. The play was a critical and commercial success which played to packed houses during its three runs from 2002 to 2003, twice in KL and once in Singapore. It received four accolades at the 1st Boh Cameronian Arts Awards in 2003, namely Best Original Script, Best Director, Best Lighting Design & the Audience Choice Award.
The original director’s cut of the film is titled Spilt Gravy on Rice. Since its World Premiere at the Colombo International Film Festival on 9 November 2015, it has not been released nor screened anywhere else.
The film was first submitted to the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) in 2012 but was deemed unsuitable for wide release in local cinemas. Upon official and unofficial submissions of re-edited versions of Spilt Gravy on Rice for review in subsequent years, an alternative version of the film was finally passed by LPF in March 2020, allowing it to be screened in Malaysian cinemas with a PG-13 rating.
The version approved for wide release was officially retitled Spilt Gravy / Ke Mana Tumpahnya Kuah… to distinguish it from the original version. The differences between the cinematic release from the original director’s cut are relatively minor: the use of profane language has been muted, a vulgar hand gesture has been blurred, several shots have been changed, and it has an alternative ending.
The film is dedicated to the memory of Dato’ Zahim’s late father, Dato’ Haji Ikmal Hisham Albakri, a well-known architect in Malaysia. A number of his architectural works feature as backdrops to the action on screen. The main location in the film is the family home of Dato’ Zahim which housed his family for over 40 years. His father renovated and extended the property in the 1960s and then again in the mid 1970s, incorporating his unique style of architecture in the process.
Dato’ Zahim’s father passed away in 2006 at the age of 75. When the Albakri family reluctantly decided to sell the property in 2010, knowing that it would inevitably be lost to development, they wanted to find a meaningful way to preserve a part of their father’s architectural legacy and their love for the home they grew up in. This led Dato’ Zahim to consider the home as a backdrop to the film adaptation of Spilt Gravy on Rice he always wanted to make.
And so the family sold the property in January 2011, on condition that they could have 6 months to vacate the premises but also to shoot a film there. The film shoot started on 7 June 2012 and ended in July 2012, just days before they had to vacate.
The film centers around Bapak (Rahim Razali), a former journalist who one day finds two mysterious visitors in his home. The unexpected encounter prompts Bapak to invite his heirs back home for an urgent dinner.
Bapak has had 5 loving women in his life who have provided him with 5 very distinct offspring.
His children, all grown up and independent, are left to their own devices with the exception of Darwis (Na’a Murad) who stays with Bapak. He is an English language lecturer, a divorcee and Bapak’s listening ear.
The eldest and most notorious of the siblings is Zak (Zahim Albakri), born from Bapak’s first love, Jackie (Diana Danielle). Dreaded by his siblings for his frequent brotherly extortions, Zak is often found stalked and chased by thugs. He seeks comfort in his confidant, Michelle (Dara Raziana Othman).
Kalsom (Bernice Chauly), the femme fatale and activist of the family, is met with public outrage for her alleged pro-semitic stance while she prepares to pitch an upcoming project to funders. Kalsom is doted upon by her personal assistant, Sujatha (Joelah Charles), who is highly-protective of her.
Husni (Sean Ghazi) is the successful, architect son who keeps parts of his life hidden from the family. All hell breaks loose for him when his youngest sister Zaitun (Juliana Ibrahim) bumps into his housemate, Asri (Carliff Carleel).
Zaitun, happily married with a daughter and a home in a gated community, is the spoilt brat of the family. She spends her days on social activities and shopping trips with her partner-in-crime, Hortense (Bernie Chan).
Apparitions of Bapak’s four wives—Hawa (Sabrina Hassan), Salamiah (Ida Nerina), Roslinda (Melissa Saila) and IPGM (Nanu Baharudin)—appear throughout the film reminding him of how dissimilar, yet equally loving, they all were towards him.
Darwis’ dire attempts to summon his siblings home for a feast with Bapak bring us through a chaotic day in their busy lives, along the way unraveling secrets from the family’s past.
Language: English, Malay
Genre: Black Comedy
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
Days of Shoot: 52 days