Late in 2014 we had the pleasure of filming the badminton legend Christian Hadinata (Koh Chris) for the second Coca Cola Angkat Raketmu (Raise Your Racket) Campaign.
Koh Chris is a very humble and lovely man and it was great to spend time in his calming presence and learn about his story in the world of badminton. Beginning his career as a singles player and reaching the final of the prestigious All-England Championship in 1973, it was his success in doubles that earned him recognition as one of the great doubles players in badminton history.
We started the first day of shooting at sunrise at Pelatnas in Cipayung and although the clouds failed to move to reveal a beautiful sky, Putra still managed to get some great footage of Koh Chris outdoors.
While filming outside, one of our crew, Dennis, has a mishap with a light sliding and hitting his head leaving him with a bump and a dazed expression for the morning. Bless! This didn’t slow him down though running around and doing an amazing job as always, dripping in sweat and making sure everything ran smoothly.
From mid morning we filmed the extras inside playing badminton and even when the camera wasn’t rolling, they were still playing and having fun for hours on end. These are true athletes who really do love their sport and didn’t seem to be able to sit still for even a minute without swinging their rackets around.
As there was a major championship going on during our filming days, Pelatnas was empty except for the crew and talent and so it was great to have the place to ourselves and enjoy the peaceful ambience of hearing the shuttlecock going back and forth over the net.
As Koh Chris is now a coach at Pelatnas, we had him recreate some scenes of teaching his students to play and he was incredibly patient, relaxed and great to watch.
By late afternoon we had completed all footage of Koh Chris in the story of his life as it is today, interviewed him and heard his inspirational story of how he came to play badminton from the beginning. Just his smile alone and gentle nature left us all feeling uplifted and happy to have spent the day in his presence.
Our second day of shooting also started by arriving on location before the sun had risen and having to set up scenes to recreate and symbolise Koh Chris’ life as a young boy. This included creating an old style kitchen which needed 4 grown men to lift one old style cement oven as it was so incredibly heavy, and even then they struggled.
It was so nice to have some fresh air and be surrounded by lush green trees on the second day, away from the hustle and bustle of life, and we had our make-up artist set up outside to look after the talent for the day.
The old style kitchen was set up in the house of a very elderly resident, and as it was a small space, it quickly filled with smoke from the oven and made it tricky for the talent to keep their eyes open!
Of course the curious little local children came to check out what was happening in their neighbourhood and spent the morning laughing and playing up for the camera. To make sure the shooting location was quiet, I took a walk through the dirt track to distract the kids and see where they live and was invited into a few homes and asked to hold beautiful babies for photos on handphones which was very entertaining. I don’t believe they have had many foreigners in their little village before so they were all over excited and asked me millions of questions and laughed at every answer.
The final location was a vacant block not far from Pasar Minggu which was transformed into an old style badminton court, complete with bamboo lines to mark the court. It was funny to watch our talented Director, Putra, multi tasking and digging holes to help create the set. All hands on deck to get it made as soon as possible and continue with filming the afternoon scenes.
We had crew come along with a drone for some late afternoon playing scenes and of course this attracted much attention from the locals who stopped by the side of the road to see what all the noise was, and to check out what was going on.
Our final scene was a recreation of a high school badminton championship and required many extras. The Head of the Village had organised for around 40 locals to come along, who also ended up bringing friends, family and children along to watch so it was pretty hectic trying to control so many people. Luckily Putra had a megaphone to try and get everyone in order, and it was hysterical to watch the younger kids as the drone flew above them, being told not to look up, and some just couldn’t resist..
It was quite late at night when we finally wrapped up shooting for this, the area still filled with excited kids running around way past their bedtime, trying to practise their English, and adults standing around until the last of the equipment and set was packed up, making it almost feel like we were at a festival.
We look forward to sharing the final filming with you all shortly and hope it inspires people to dream and lift their rackets for badminton Indonesia. Stay tuned…