‘Mahal Kita, Beksman’ explores colorful complexities of relationships

Can a flamboyant, seemingly effeminate guy truly fall in love with a woman?

Award-winning filmmaker Perci Intalan delves into the colorful dynamics between two interesting characters and the family that surrounds them in Viva Films and The IdeaFirst Company’s newest romantic comedy, “Mahal Kita, Beksman.”

Showing in cinemas nationwide beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 16, the film stars multi-awarded actor Christian Bables (“Big Night,” “The Panti Sisters,” “Die Beautiful,” “Signal Rock”) as Dali, a fashion designer and makeup artist who falls in love with Angel (Iana Bernardez) while dealing with the confusion of his parents, Jaime (Keempee de Leon) and Gemma (Katya Santos) at finding out that he is a straight man.

At a recent digital media conference, Christian shared that what sets Dali apart from his other gay roles is that Dali identifies himself as male and deviates from how society perceives a man should act and look like.

In the film, Dali is raised by an openly gay father who runs a beauty salon and a mother who owns a boutique. To their shock, Dali declares that he has fallen in love with a woman. Everyone around him tells him he’s just going through a phase but Dali shows them otherwise.

Christian said he was able to use his preparations for Barbs (his “Die Beautiful” character for which he won a Best Supporting Actor award at the Gawad Urian in 2017) and Samuel Panti (from “The Panti Sisters”) for his role as Dali and with the help of Intalan made him different from the rest.

He admitted that there was a point when he was afraid that he would not be given other meaty roles because he has been identified with gay characters.

“But as I [continue to] mature in the industry, I realized that there’s no such thing as typecasting. As long as you are entrusted with meaningful characters, you can help other people through your craft. I think that’s our main objective as actors,” the 29-year-old actor said.

For Keempee, playing the role of Jaime (whom Dali fondly calls Papshiekels), was enjoyable as he had already played a beloved gay character in a TV sitcom. In his early years in showbiz, the 49-year-old actor was also used to seeing his father, veteran comedian and TV host Joey de Leon portray gay characters, particularly Barbie.

With Jaime, he said he used bits and pieces from the traits of his real-life gay friends to become effective in portraying the role.

Christian, on the other hand, always remembered the late Dolphy, considered as the Philippines’ King of Comedy, who was great at portraying gay roles. He said he feels honored when told he is among the few actors who are good at breathing life into such characters.

To establish rapport, the two actors became friends first and spent time rehearsing so that doing their scenes would become easier.

Playing Christian’s leading lady is Iana, whose acting debut was the 2018 film, “Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus.” The 29-year-old actress-producer won Best Supporting Actress at the 2019 Cinema One Originals for the film, “Metamorphosis.”

In “Mahal Kita, Beksman,” Iana’s character Angel is the only girl in a household that reeks of machismo. So, imagine her father and brothers’ highly charged reaction when they find out about her relationship with Dali.

Iana, daughter of actress Angel Aquino, described Dali and Angel’s relationship as “cute and sweet” and jokingly asked Intalan why the two characters didn’t have a love scene together.

At the helm of what promises to be a fun film is IdeaFirst Company owner Intalan, whose directing credits include Dementia and Unforgettable.

Praising the cast, Intalan said Keempee, Christian and the rest know where they are in the script and their purpose in the scenes.

“It’s a joy to work with actors who can give more than you imagined,” he shared.

As for the audience, he urged them “to open their minds and not to box people in, may they be straight or gay.”

“Love is love is love,” he added.