Title: New Material
Cast: Riaad Moosa, Joey Rasdien, Vincent Ebrahim, Denise Newman, Carishma Basday, Zakeeya Patel, Rajesh Gopie and Schalk Bezuidenhout
Director: Craig Freimond
THE sequel to Riaad Moosa’s 2012 award-winning film, Material, has opened at cinemas.
Titled New Material, in this instalment we see the story of emerging comedian Cassim Kaif (Moosa) carried forward as the rising star attempts to balance his burgeoning stand-up comedy career with family responsibilities and close friendships.
In the first film, Cassim navigated fulfilling his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian and his relationship with his father Ebrahim (Vincent Ebrahim), who had a dream of his own – for his son to take over the family business.
In New Material the young Muslim comic’s career is taking off but he finds himself juggling additional challenges: in his marriage and as a father, with his ageing parents, and with his best friend-cum-agent, Yusuf (Joey Rasdien).
Yusuf has arranged a national tour for Cassim but he struggles to keep his head above water on the management front, particularly with businessman and tour sponsor Shabir Sulabie (Rajesh Gopie), who keeps demanding more bang for his buck.
Added to the mix is an opportunity for Cassim to take his brand of comedy overseas, which lands him at the crossroads of his career with some difficult choices to make.
Set in Fordsburg, Joburg, screenwriters Craig Freimond (also the director), and Moosa have done a commendable job of amalgamating this coming-of-age story with that of the history of this area. An enlightening move on their part.
Laced with themes of community and heritage, the plot of New Material takes one man’s story and turns it into a universal tale that is relatable.
On the cinematography front, Kabelo Thathe’s work has complemented the writer’s efforts with key scenes and locations captured in a manner that transports the viewer into this personal story.
To comment on each actor's performance would be an injustice to this team’s effort – the keyword being team. From the start to the end, the star cast puts their hearts into their respective characters and their performances are felt from a viewer's perspective.
Expect to laugh and cry as this film is loaded with funny moments and those that tug at the heartstrings.
A bonus – as with the first film – is that there are a number of scenes that feature parts of sets by some of South Africa’s leading stand-up comedians.
And even if they are not captured on stage, they are weaved into the storyline, performing supporting roles within the film.
The Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the cinema release of many films.
That New Material has landed on the big screen now when we are in festive/family season, is providential. It is befitting for family viewing (10 – 12 PG), with the added opportunity to share some of South Africa’s heritage and history with younger viewers.