‘Mang Kepweng’ to drive the blues away this Christmas

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    Vhong Navarro

    “Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim” director Topel Lee believes that the movie’s main character may just be the antidote for the holiday blues.

    The fantasy movie, an entry in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), is one of the ten movies that will start streaming on Christmas Day.

    The sequel to “Mang Kepweng Returns” (2017) provides a break from all the sadness of the past eleven months or so. Vhong Navarro reprises his role as Mang Kepweng, a character that was popularized by the late comedian Chiquito in 1970’s to early ‘80s. In this film, Mang Kepweng faces villain Maximus Tolonges (Joross Gamboa), who uses the power of the black bandana he stole from the kingdom of Engkadia to sow terror all over the place.

    “It’s a timely movie especially ngayong Pasko,” said Direk Topel. “We are happy to give the audience katatawanan and adventure. Makalimutan man lang ang problema nila … lalo na ang pandemiya. We are happy na Christmas ipapalabas ito, para kahit paano makakapagpasaya kami ng tao.”

    In a Zoom interview, the director and his cast reveal that the comedy on screen is actually a reflection of how happy the set was during shooting.

    Vhong Navarro and his co-stars Joross, Ritz Azul, Ryan Bang, Barbie Imperial praise Lee for keeping the atmosphere light that sometimes the cast members have a hard time keeping straight faces because of the adlibs that fly on the set.

    “Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim” dials up the comedy and gets an upgrade in the action department as it shows the characters that are part of Pinoy mythology.
    “Dito sa Part 2 mas nagging maaksyon, mas naging adventure. Dito ibinalik mga kapre, sirena, mananggal na naging tradisyon natin,” said Vhong.

    In previous interviews, Vhong expressed how proud he is to reprise the classic role.
    “Isang karangalan na bigyang-buhay muli ang isa sa mga pinakasikat na karakter na ginampanan ni Papang (Chiquito),” he stated. “Sobrang proud ko dito.”

    Aside from making people laugh, Mang Kepweng also imparts a lot of lessons about responsibility and humility. It shows how Mang Kepweng’s red polka dot bandana loses its magic due to his worsening attitude. He becomes boastful as he gets people’s attention because of his healing power. It is only with the help of his new friends that he finds the three ingredients that will bring back the power of his bandana. However, the journey becomes harder as they encounter the elements that try to stop them.

    “Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim” is a collaboration project between Cineko Productions and Star Cinema. It streams on http://upstream.ph beginning on December 25. Tickets can be purchased as early as now on the site for P 250.00 each.