Controversial Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad dies

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Malaysian director Yasmin Ahmad, who provoked controversy with films that dealt with subjects like interracial relations and teenage angst in this conservative mostly Muslim country, has died aged 51.

Yasmin, who won numerous awards for her work which tackled taboo issues in multicultural Malaysia, died of a brain hemorrhage on Saturday night after collapsing with a stroke on Thursday, state news agency Bernama reported.

We would come across a few great people in our time on Earth. Yasmin was one of them, veteran actress Fatimah Abu Bakar told the Star daily.

Yasmin made headlines with her 2004 film Sepet , about a relationship between an ethnic Chinese boy and a Malay girl.

Race issues are extremely sensitive in Malaysia, where the memory of deadly 1969 race riots is still strong, and the film was nearly banned by the censors, but was finally approved with eight cuts.

Sepet won numerous awards including the Grand Prix Award at the Creteil International Women s Film Festival.

Her recent movie Muallaf, on the highly sensitive issue of religious conversion, was approved after a second appeal to the censors with three audio mutings. It was set for public release last month but was pulled because of a Hollywood blockbuster opening on the same day.

Yasmin s first movie, Rabun in 2003 followed by Sepet (2004), Gubra (2006), Mukhsin (2006), Muallaf (2008) and Talentime (2009).

She was buried on Sunday in accordance with Islamic rites. -AFP

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