Saturday 26 March 2011

Material magic

I remember a speech from George Merck II, the son of the founder of the Merck pharmaceutical giant. He made this speech in 1950, which was 80 years after the company had started: "We try never to forget that medicine is for the patient, it is not for profit. We try never to forget that our work here is to help people. The more we have remembered that the more the profits have followed." Quality before quantity. That is message of purpose.

It was Walt Disney who captured the never ending nature of purpose, in his last years, when he said: "Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination in the world." We can apply this to all of our endeavors. As long as we have imagination we will never stop coming up with ways to make a difference in the world.

In 2004 the theater director and writer, Craig Freimond, went to see Riaad Moosa perform live on stage and this is when the Material journey began. Now, 7 years on, the film is being shot on location in and around Fordsburg. Riaad Moosa plays the lead in the film, and he is accompanied by Vincent Ebrahim from The Kumars at No. 42, who arrived last month from London, to play Riaad's father. The film "Material" celebrates the goodness of South Africa's spirit and of the legacy of a unique and historical part of this land, Fordsburg.

Material is not a Bollywood film, but a contemporary Indian story along the lines of Bend it Like Beckham. It has been written by Craig, with help from Riaad and many others, and the production is being facilitated by Tom Pictures. Vincent Ebrahim's participation in the film is a big endorsement and a testimony to an inspired and compelling screenplay. The Kumars was a hit BBC show and Vincent brings a wealth of experience and credibility to the Material film.

The story is as follows: Riaad Moosa plays the lead, Cassim Kaif, a young Muslim man who works in his father’s fabric shop in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. In the family tradition Cassim, as the only son, is expected to take over the family business from his father. Cassim is a respectful son and has certainly not considered any alternatives; this is his life and his destiny. Until one night, through a series of coincidences, he lands up doing an open mike session at a local comedy club. He discovers a hidden talent for comedy; a passion is sparked within him like nothing previously in his life. He is encouraged to carry on with the comedy, a path that brings him into conflict, not only with his father but other family members and some elements of his community. This is essentially the story of a family grappling with universal issues like, identity, responsibility and duty.

Material will be a heart-warming film that ultimately emphasises the importance of family. It will be a movie for the whole family, will contain no profanity, and should be able to be enjoyed by people of all ages both in South Africa and the rest of the world. Although the story focuses on a Muslim family the film will deal with issues that exist in every family in every country in the world.

The cast features an exciting line up talent, including Riaad Moosa, Vincent Ebrahim, Denise Newman, Joey Rasdien, Krijay Govender, Roysten Stoffels, Nic Rabinowitz, Osmond Ali, Afzal Khan, Rabin Harduth and Quanita Adams.

Riaad Moosa is a doctor who put his medicine practice aside to realize his purpose, and potential, of making people laugh. He believes that laughter is indeed the best medicine.

The shoot is all on track. There have been lots of challenges, but none of them, I am glad to say, are material. Have a look at and

Tomorrow marks day 12 of the shoot and after tomorrow we are half way there!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker


kim said...

What a superb and sterling article. If your eloquence is anything to go by, the movie is a winner!