Who Will Play Aung San?

By Lawi Weng 20 July 2012

The Bogyoke Aung San Film executive board said it will make an announcement in the national press next week as to which actor has been chosen to play the coveted role of Gen. Aung San in a blockbuster movie about the Burmese independence hero’s life.

Adding to the tension is the fact that among the 15-member selection committee is the protagonist’s daughter, pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as comedian Zarganar. The committee sat for interviews and deliberation on the day after Martyrs’ Day, which commemorated Aung San’s death in 1947.

Following the final audition of candidates in Rangoon on Friday, Zaw Thet Htwe, a spokesperson for the selection board, said the committee had that day conducted interviews with 10 actors, seven of whom were men, and three of whom were women. He said that the two main actors, one of whom will play Aung San, and the two main actresses for the biopic had now been selected.

“We will announce the result of the winners next week in the state-run press,” said Zaw Thet Htwe.

He said that the leading actors and actresses will spend the winter at a camp learning how to act like Gen. Aung San, his wife Daw Khin Kyi and the other protagonists.

The shooting of the film is due to start early next year and should conclude by the end of 2014. The Bogyoke Aung San Film executive board said it wants to premiere the movie in 2015, the year that marks Aung San’s 100th birthday.

Aung San was assassinated in 1947 while meeting with his cabinet in Rangoon. To this day he is revered by ordinary Burmese as the architect of the country’s independence movement and founder of its armed forces.

However, following his assassination, Burma fell into a dark age of civil war and governmental misrule. Decades of military dictatorship added to the country’s woes. Burma’s ruling military generals attempted to tarnish Aung San’s reputation as a national hero, especially after his daughter returned to the country to become involved in Burma’s pro-democracy movement.

The ruling military ordered the removal of Aung San’s portrait from the walls of schools and government offices, and replaced it with pictures of successive military dictators.

This marks the first occasion that a Burmese movie depicting the life of Aung San will be produced.