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Banting Film Premiere

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(Graphics poster courtesy of Papahan Films)

Ok I know I promised you in the last entry that my next one would be my review on Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014. However, after attending the film premiere of Banting (or Slam! in English) this past Friday 24th October 2014 at the The Grand Cathay Cineplex, I have decided to prolong your wait for quite a bit as this movie takes precedence. Editing photographs I took the other night, which were less than a hundred, is much easier than going through 3500-odd photographs to be included in my entry. Hence you can regard this as sort of a filler entry before I speak about APM2014 again. Anyway I would first and foremost like to thank Papahan Films, especially Ms. Nurazleena Ramli, the person in-charge of the film’s publicity, for the kind invitation. In my ten years of entertainment blogging, this was indeed my first film premiere invite and I was honoured to attend with the missus.

So what is Banting all about??? Well, I will be paraphrasing this paragraph and the next, since I’m taking them out from what has been typed in its official website (Credits to Papahan Films). The film tells a story of a twenty-four year old Yasmin Muhammad (played by the likeable Izyan Mellyna) who barely has the most exciting life, with a strict mother and religious upbringing. Yasmin is also sick when she’s being judged all the time for wearing a Hijab or sees discrimination upon women who don it. She wonders if a Hijab girl will ever be able to do what most normal girls can do. Things change when Yasmin chances upon a professional wrestling gym and does the unthinkable: she secretly signs up as a wrestler!!! Soon, Yasmin is trading her Hijab for a mask and her awkwardness with unbridled high-flying moves as she becomes her alter-ego, the fearsome Zarith Blade!!! (The name Zarith is I believe, a tribute to director M. Raihan Halim‘s wife, Zarith Sofia

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The film cast and director seen here being photographed with guest-of-honour, Minister for Communications & Information, Mr. Yaacob Ibrahim

But “laying the smackdown” on people is not what Yasmin is meant to do in life. At least not according to her conservative and very strict mother, Halimah (played by the respected Mastura Ahmad). Yasmin hides her new passion from Halimah and for good reason. Halimah’s idea of having her good Muslim daughter clashes with the life of a professional wrestler clothes-lining and slamming people before a cheering crowd. Things take a precarious turn when Yasmin’s secret double life is threatened to be exposed. And Yasmin finds herself in her most important match ever: wrestling (a.k.a. convincing) her mother to give her the chance to keep her dream alive!!! Will she succeed??? Well, I will not divulge or give you any spoilers as the only way to find out is to watch the movie.

Honest-to-goodness, I am not good at reviewing movies. I’m also the kind who will pay scant respect to movie reviews unless I’m really sceptical of its storyline and need to read first before investing my money to watch it. So my views here might differ from those who watch movies looking at technical aspects and nitty-gritty details. As a watching audience, I want to be entertained, to have a feel-good factor even after the rolling credits are done and to smile just reminiscing about the movie. Banting ticked all three boxes in my list. I am also sure the rest who attended the film premiere, which was by the way, resembled a mini Pesta Perdana event with so many personalities in the local Malay entertainment scene in attendance, walked away with smiles on their faces and encouraging words being heard exchanged between them outside the theatre.

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It’s a wrestling movie, so a bit of fierceness being shown here by the film cast, producer and director along with Minister Yaacob Ibrahim

Banting in all honesty after watching it, is so close to my heart. I grew up watching wrestling, had great wrestling matches at the high jump mattress at Serangoon JC with my friends when we were in secondary school. I also used to wrestle my cousins on our respective beds and till now I still do practise some of the safer moves with my daughters and nephews. Up till this day, I religiously read the weekly World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) RAW reports just to keep up with what is happening in the WWE. We all know the storylines and moves in wrestling are fake, even Banting revealed a bit of that, but it keeps us entertained, like a soap opera, willing the good guys on and wishing the bad guys would just shut up and lose. Banting tried to create that and the wrestling fanboy in me was suitably impressed to an extent.

I take my hat off to the wrestling girls played by Gloria Tan, Abigail Chay, Syaza Qistina Tan, Ashley Erianah and Joanne-Marie Sim, besides Izyan Mellyna of course. Wrestling is not easy for ladies and I sometimes detect how difficult it is, even for the professional ones in WWE to execute some of their moves. They did try to create a convincing outlook in their matches and some of the moves did look great and believable. The person or persons who trained them can take heart that these girls did their utmost best and done well. Not easy to look pretty and having to suffer bumps, cuts and bruises in the process. I’m sure during the course of filming, the girls have taken slight knocks and injuries from botching their moves, but this is all part and parcel of filming, especially action scenes.

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Another “garang” pose, this time with the film poster backdrop in the background…

Other than the wrestling aspect of the movie, the film resonates with me because of the life being led by the lead character herself and her sister Nissa (played by Adlina Adil). Like the movie, I have two young daughters myself and it has probably given me an advanced glimpse of what the future might be in for me when they eventually grow up and be young women with their own dreams and aspirations. They will have their own interests and likes which will differ to or contrast with what we want or expect from them. We are also living in a generation where everything needs to be explained with logic and rationale, without being too strict and hard-handed, lest the kids will turn rebellious and lie at the first available opportunity. During our parents’ time, a raised eyebrow, a wave of the cane, a slight raise in tone of voice, a wag of the finger and a simple “No!!!” usually would do the trick. Now no more. And what’s more, I see some of the character traits of Yasmin (the younger daughter in the movie) similar to that of my younger one – Steely, determined, fiesty, independent and strong-willed.

A good movie needs to have a good balance in how the actors bounce off each other. I see a lot of that in this movie, from the leads right down to the supporting cast. I just find the Atok character played by legendary actor Osman Zailani, very endearing. It even made me miss my own late grandfather who defended me at the slightest opportunity when my father would flare up with me when I was younger. As for Fauzie Laily who plays Yasmin‘s BFF, Zaidy, words cannot describe how proud I am for my old friend at his achievement on becoming a film star. He brought his A-game in this movie and he has improved so much since his first stab at acting in “Teman Anugerahku” back in 2005. Watching him in the movie is just like knowing him in real life. The characters in reel and real life are just too similar, the jokes and teasings, as well as the sound advices, are what I have been accustomed to from knowing Fauzie since he was still the scrawny teen from Temasek Polytechnic. Oh by the way, I like that Fauzie looked a bit chubby in this movie. Hahaha…

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The lead actors in Banting: Fauzie Laily, Adlina Adil, Izyan Mellyna and Mastura Ahmad

While I do not need to wax lyrical on the likes of Mastura Ahmad and Adlina Adil, because we know what accomplished actresses they are both on television and theatre, I feel that as a relatively newbie in the scene, Izyan Mellyna has all the attributes to be Singapore‘s very own Sharifah Amani. I cannot describe in words why I feel this way, but if there is a reference point I can compare her to, then Sharifah Amani is the one. Ok I used the word “newbie”, but really Izyan is already an experienced hand in the scene having been a child star during the days of “Ya Alif” and also has theatre background. It’s just that television viewers have been warming up to her since the start of 2014 when Walimah, followed by TeRaSeh! 2.0, Di Luar Garisan 2 and Walimah 2 came along. Along with Nurfarhana M. Noor, Izyan Mellyna is the name and talent to watch in our local Malay entertainment scene. See them soar and progress over the years, they will only get better.

Banting, is not just your typical light-hearted comedy. It brings with it moments of anxiety, also tugs a bit on our emotions (yes some people I know cried at some of the scenes :P). Above all, it feels very Singaporean and relates so much to the average Malay family here, the challenges we face as a society, as individuals, having to chase our dreams and having to appease our older folks in matters sometimes beyond our comprehension or will. Then there are the conflicts of interests. Somehow, somewhere, for those of us who have watched this movie, we can relate to them and agree that at some point of time in our lives, we have been through those kind of situations before, whether to listen to our instincts and passion or stick to the tried-and-tested success formulas. Director M. Raihan Halim and his team at Papahan Films have done well to potray all that I have mentioned either directly or subtly in the movie.

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Executive producer Edmund D. Lim addressing the audience along with fellow executive co-producer and director, M. Raihan Halim, before the film commenced…

The film, which is brought to you by the same people who produced award-winning television shows like “Yazid Pakai Lampin“, “Mr. Perfect“, “Papa Rock” and “Step Puteri” amongst others, will hopefully usher in a new era of film-making and revive the local Malay film industry which has long been decimated since the demise of the Jalan Ampas studio. I will not go as far as to put undue pressure on M. Raihan Halim and declare that he is now the messiah of the revolution, but in a way, he has taken steps to break down the walls of barrier and shown fellow local Malay film-makers that it is possible to take the plunge and tread where others do not dare. He stands tall with his team from Papahan Films that such a move can be done. I share their pride at seeing their dream materialise and realised and I was honoured to have witnessed the momentous and ground-breaking occasion. Please do support and watch Banting when it is out officially at the theatres this Friday 31st October 2014 onwards and you will understand the same pride that most, if not all of us who came for the film premiere feel and share till now…


Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Walk of the Stars Segment

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(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division)

I really cannot thank the festive Deepavali public holiday enough cos I did not expect to post this entry so soon after the last one. I did promise that this entry will be snapshots of the “Walk of the Stars” event, a pseudo Red-Carpet event before Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 commenced. I’ve been harping for years at the lack of a proper Red Carpet event for Anugerah Planet Muzik. But such events bring with it additional operating costs and the organisers were already working on a tight budget. Since we have been having this segment for years dating back to 2006, I believe this has become a unique feature of APM over the years, whether the local / foreign media brigade, myself or even industry peeps have reservations or not. I really hope that somewhere down the years, a kind sponsor would make the Red Carpet segment a reality, which we last witnessed in 2005.

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This year’s segment, though it was sprinkled with stardust, however felt a bit short, since not many artistes were introduced to the audience. I was hoping the bevy of local artistes who attended the prestigious awards show last Friday night would at least be given their dues and brief few seconds of fame onstage. I personally feel that the local attendees, who made up a majority of the sold-out audience, deserved to at least know who are their local artistes, especially the bands, since they seldom appear on television through reasons only known by the people that matter in the production teams of television shows / events. I doubt it will hurt at all to make them walk the stage, be interviewed briefly and feel at home with the audience cheering them on, cos I think it is easier for the audience to warm up to the likes of Tujuhband, Diorama, The Sallys or Aryan Band, who have all released radio-friendly hits over the years…

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Anyway am gonna end off this entry with additional photos I snapped of the other night’s awards recipients. Apologies if some of the photos I snapped amounted to a wee bit more than others, especially Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza. The amount of photographs snapped is not due to favouritism on my part, but because of how they eventually turned out after I had edited them and selecting the ones that were not blurred due to their respective motions when the shots were taken. I would have loved to have added more but the eventual outcome wasn’t good for public viewing and I for one, do not like to compensate quality as that has always been a hallmark of my presentation to my blog readers and visitors. Please give me a longer timeframe to do up my review and editing of the remaining 3000-odd photographs I have in store. For now I hope you have enjoyed viewing my three entries so far on APM2014. Till then…


Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Pre & Post-Event Snapshots

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Thank God for the public holiday later today. Yes I’m typing this in the wee hours of Tuesday night. Done with the second batch of photo editing. This time I’ll be featuring snapshots I took before Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014, during the commercial breaks as well as the post-event reception afterwards. Hope this would satiate your thirst for more photos before I post even more with the “Walk of the Stars” event in my following entry, which I hope to put up as soon as possible and finish off with my APM2014 review, hopefully before the end of next week. Yes, am taking my time because I am only doing this on a passion and hobby basis. If I’m doing this as a paid career, I would definitely post everything before the week is out. So yes, please continue visiting this site soon. Enjoy the public holiday today and hope you like this entry as well… :)


Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Roll-of-Honour

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(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division)

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 was held at Suntec City Convention Centre this past Friday 17 October 2014. The show that celebrates the best in the local Malay and regional Nusantara music industry saw 19 awards up for grabs. As always I will take some time to edit my photographs (which stood at 4918 when I first uploaded into my personal computer yesterday). I will not blog about the event per se just yet and will just honour the winners in this entry, which will be the start of a series of entries on the recently-concluded annual awards show. So for those of you who want to view photographs and such, do keep coming back these coming weeks as I have plenty of stuff to share in this domain of mine. To all the winners at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014, my salutations to everyone for being deserving winners all around… :)

Taufik Batisah

Ikon Media Sosial / (Social Media Icon)

Artis Singapura Paling Popular / (Most Popular Singapore Artiste)

Lagu Singapura Paling Popular / (Most Popular Singapore Song) – Ikrar Kasih

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Cakra Khan

Lagu Terbaik (Indonesia) / (Best Song – Indonesia) – Setelah Kau Tiada

Lagu Terbaik / (Best Song) – Setelah Kau Tiada

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Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza

Artis Terbaik (Wanita) / (Best Female Artiste)

Lagu Terbaik (Malaysia) / (Best Malaysian Song) – Lebih Indah (Composer: Aubrey Suwito, Lyricist: Ad Samad)

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NOAH – Tak Lagi Sama

Band Terbaik / (Best Band)

Artis Paling Popular Serantau / (Most Popular Regional Artiste)

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Tulus – Jangan Cintai Aku Apa Adanya

Artis Baru Terbaik (Lelaki) / (Best New Male Artiste)

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Fynn Jamal – Arjuna Beta

Artis Baru Terbaik (Wanita) / (Best New Female Artiste)

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(photo courtesy of ERA.FM)

Judika – Mama Papa Larang

Artis Terbaik (Lelaki) / (Best Male Artiste)

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Hafiz Suip & Dato’ Rossa – Salahkah

Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group)

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Sufie Rashid – Tiada Pengganti

Lagu Terbaik (Singapura) / (Best Singapore Song)

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Fatin Shidqia Lubis – Dia Dia Dia

Lagu Serantau Paling Popular / (Most Popular Regional Song)

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(photo courtesy of KapanLagi.com)

Awi Rafael & Altimet – Kalau Aku Kaya

Kolaborasi Terbaik (Artis) / (Best Artiste Collaboration)

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Mimpi – Aisyah Aziz, Composer: Faizal Tahir, Lyricist: Faizal Tahir & Omar K

Kolaborasi Terbaik (Lagu) / (Best Song Collaboration)

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Khareez Kasbullah

Nova Media Baru / (New Media Nova)

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WINGS

Anugerah Khas Planet Muzik / (Special Music Planet Award)

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Kasih Berbisik Media Conference

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(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

You would have seen the music video by Taufik Batisah singing his latest single “Menakluk Cinta” on Mediacorp Suria since it was first aired right after the recent National Day Parade. It is probably from that music video that you would have taken note of an upcoming drama series titled “Kasih Berbisik” (Whispers of the Heart), that will soon be aired on the said channel. This joint production by leading Free-to-Air TV channels Mediacorp Suria and TV3 will bring you a moving drama of heartache, hope and unbreakable bonds of love, spanning three countries. Conceived and written by prolific script writer, Mr. Hamed Ismail, and directed by Jamal Khan, this tear-jerker has finally come to fruition after three years in the works.

(YouTube clip courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Set against the backdrop of metropolitan Singapore, lush green fields of Malaysia and exotic Bali, the 13-episode drama series debuts for the first time simultaneously on TV3 and MediaCorp Suria on 1 October 2014 at 9pm and 9.30pm respectively. Its main and supporting cast members include Nurul Aini and Nick Mikhail from Singapore, Remy Ishak, Keith Foo and Tasha Shilla from Malaysia, as well as Demmy Febriana from Indonesia. Jointly produced by Mediacorp Eaglevision and Primeworks Studios, the collaboration is aimed at producing a high-quality drama series that appeal to audiences in Singapore and Malaysia, leveraging on both parties’ expertise in High-Definition (HD) TV production.

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The stage all set for the media conference…

I was extremely honoured to once again be invited by Mediacorp Suria to cover the media conference and exclusive screening held last Friday 19 September 2014 at Golden Village Grand Great World City. This was essentially my first time covering a media conference for an upcoming drama series and one which is monumental in that it is a joint-production between two countries featuring the scenic scenes, backdrop and actors from three countries. This was also probably the first time that I’ve been to a media conference where fans were allowed to soak in the atmosphere as well. At times, it felt a bit chaotic when the fans got excited seeing their favourite artistes, but generally they were well-behaved and I could see many smiling faces, contented with their respective signatures and photographs. The media conference was hosted by none other than Fauzie Laily.

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The main cast of “Kasih Berbisik” – (from left) Keith Foo, Remy Ishak, Nick Mikhail, Nurul Aini, Tasha Shilla and Demmy Febriana

I believe for the fans (a large majority were females, may I add) who paid to attend the media conference, it was rewarding enough to have been in close proximity to heart-throbs like Remy Ishak and Keith Foo. Even more rewarding when they witnessed Taufik Batisah himself making an appearance to sing the official soundtrack of the upcoming drama series live. Taufik it must be said, has matured so much since we were first introduced to his singing talents on national television exactly ten years ago. He was cracking jokes with the audience, sometimes even acting like a co-host and even took the time to promote his upcoming album launch this Sunday 28 September 2014, 6pm at Causeway Point. Ten years in the scene, he has blossomed and become more outgoing and even forthcoming in comparison to his earlier years in the scene.

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Taufik never fails to make the ladies swoon with his mere presence…

But where there was something good to say about Taufik Batisah, a not-so-pleasant vibe emanated when I was observing two of the main casts that night. I will not mention names but for those who were there, might probably agree with what I have to say. One was seen looking detached and uninterested with the whole proceedings, while another was seen fiddling and constantly checking on her handphone, even when she was up onstage facing the audience, not only made up of the fans, but fellow members of the media from Singapore and Malaysia, as well as the important heads from Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division and Media Prima Berhad. I am just glad that the likes of Taufik, Nurul Aini and Nick Mikhail showed class and accorded respect towards those who came to watch them.

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Important figures behind the joint TV production – (from left): Ms. Zakiah Halim (Senior Vice President of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division), Ms. Siti Nurlisia Mohd. Nadzri (TV3 General Manager), Mr. Suhaimi Jais (Senior Vice President of Mediacorp Studios and Mediacorp Eaglevision) and Mr. Azhar Borhan (Group General Manager Production and Operations of Primeworks Studios)…

Two back-to-back episodes of “Kasih Berbisik” were screened exclusively that night before its TV debut. Just to give you a gist, it is a 13-episode drama based on love, separation and friendship revolving around an architect, Imran (Remy Ishak), who goes on a business trip to Bali and falls in love with Sulastri (Demmy Febriana), a Balinese dancer. Eventually, Imran marries Sulastri and keeps his second marriage a secret from his wife of 6 years, Nora (Nurul Aini). Imran also has a best friend, Andi (Nick Mickhail) who admires Sulastri. In an unexpected twist, Sulastri’s ex-fiancé, Dharma (Keith Foo), vows to win her back. Dharma is clouded by anger and vengeance when he finds out that Sulastri is married to Imran. Will Nora and Dharma accept their fate as second best? How long can Imran keep his second marriage with Sulastri a secret from Nora?

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Tasha Shilla entertaining one of the fans, while Remy Ishak was busy signing autographs on the promotional posters…

From what I’ve seen that night, and from speaking to fellow attendees from the media, the general consensus I got and personally felt was, the episodes were kinda draggy. I dunno if it was because the screening started an hour later than scheduled, due to the casts’ meet-and-greet session with the fans and various interviews with the media brigade, and people (myself included) were feeling tired after a long day. The buildup to what’s to come in the show felt a bit slow and when the second marriage was announced in one of the scenes, it felt like the director was pushing for an impactful outcome out of the blue. But what do I know about watching such drama series??? Am never a big fan of long episodic dramas involving love and romance. I just don’t have the patience for it. For the record, let me state there’s nothing wrong with the acting from all the casts involved, just that the storyline I feel could have been developed better and to give a good introduction to each individual character.

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Nurul Aini, Keith Foo, Nick Mikhail and Demmy Febriana likewise were busy signing autographs on the promotional posters as well…

To be fair, two episodes might not tell a bigger picture nor relate the whole story, and that one should actually watch the series religiously to find out the twists and turns involving this complicated love saga. Fans of the two Malaysian heart-throbs would definitely not care at all about the storyline so long as they could feast their eyes on their idols weekly. My only concern was watching how the likes of Nurul Aini and Nick Mikhail performed when given their big break to go regional. Though I’ve heard rumours of how they were scolded by the lead actor for not giving their all, I thought both of them gave a good account of themselves and I really hope this will be their breakthrough drama and join the likes of those who have been success stories across the Causeway. No matter the artiste, I am always proud when I hear one of our own making a name for themselves abroad.

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Final group photo with the main casts, crew and television station heads…

As for Taufik Batisah, I hope as well that the soundtrack to this drama series, would go the same way as how “Seribu Tahun” had given Imran Ajmain so much success and newly-opened doors across the Causeway. For those not in the know or have forgotten, “Seribu Tahun” was the soundtrack to the drama series “Kerana Cintaku Saerah” on TV3 back in 2007. Ten years in the scene and still to be a household name regionally, I sincerely hope that “Menakluk Cinta” would go on to be an added success to the one that Taufik achieved through his duet with Rossa, “Aku Bersahaja“. “Menakluk Cinta” which was penned by Taufik himself, has every potential to be a haunting hit across our shores. It has been playing regularly in my head for the past few weeks or so leading up to the media conference and even moreso after I had watched the screening of the two back-to-back episodes. As mentioned earlier, “Kasih Berbisik” will air on TV3 and MediaCorp Suria on 1 October 2014 at 9pm and 9.30pm respectively.

Highlights of Kasih Berbisik Media Conference


Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 Media Conference

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It’s been too long that I have been away. But I am trying to make a concerted effort to be more pro-active, especially since my favourite annual event is around the corner. Which probably explains why you are reading this post after seeing such a long hiatus in this domain of mine. Anyway, to all the SleeQ fans or those who are curious to view photographs of the recent wedding event of Alyph SleeQ and Azzah Fariha, I apologise that you have stumbled into this blog only to be disappointed. Yours truly was not invited to the wedding, hence I am unable to share the joyous moments with you. But am sure you could view them elsewhere, such is the power of social media these days. Anyway my heartiest congratulations go out to the newlyweds. May Allah bless this union till eternity and beyond. :)

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Simple but lovely set-up of the stage…

Right, back to my favourite event. I was invited to attend the media conference which was held at Grand Mercure Roxy Singapore on 2 September 2014. The last time the organisers (Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division) did it outside of the Caldecott Broadcast Centre to announce the list of nominees for the upcoming event was two years ago at Rendezvous Hotel. This time they managed to secure a bigger space as compared to the last time they held it outdoors and I loved the place as it was conducive to move around as compared to two years ago. This year, Anugerah Planet Muzik 2014 (APM2014) will once again return to my favourite venue, Suntec Convention Centre on 17 October 2014, exactly a year from the last event. For a start, the official logo has been given a fresh revamp from the ones we’ve seen over the past twelve editions.

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The trophies up for grabs on 17 October 2014

Into its thirteenth year, APM2014 once again will be honouring the best and most popular of today’s hottest talents in the region’s Malay music industry. The two and a half hours show will be telecast live on Mediacorp Suria (Singapore), Astro Ria (Malaysia and Brunei) and Net. (Indonesia) as well as Mediacorp radio stations, RIA 89.7FM and Warna 94.2FM, on 17 October 2014 at 9pm (GMT +8) and 8pm (Western Indonesian Time GMT +7). The event is ably supported by Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) and Indonesian Music Awards (Anugerah Musik IndonesiaAMI). A total of 19 awards will be presented this year, an increase of one category from last year.

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Hosts for the day – Aura Shai and A. B. Shaik

As is the norm of previous APM media conferences, this year’s event was once again graced by Dr. Edmund Lam, Chief Executive Officer of COMPASS, Ms. Zakiah Halim, Senior Vice-President, Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division and Mr. Hassan Salleh, Assistant Vice-President of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division. Before the event started in earnest, the guests, which mostly made up of our own local acts, were treated to performances by Idi Hakim, of Dinodi fame, and his wife Erma Maulood with their current radio hit “Setia Cinta” as well as Haqym Mokhtar with his current single “Semuanya Alright“, which has already risen up the local radio charts. For those not in the know, Haqym is a former member of trio SupaMusiq, which has so far been disbanded due to the group members having different personal commitments. Ironically, the last time I watched them perform as a group, was the media conference back in 2012 at Rendezvous Hotel.

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The husband and wife pair, Idi Hakim and Erma Maulood performed their hit single, “Setia Cinta“…

The organisers received about 639 song submissions this year, almost doubled from the previous year, but it has to be said that the qualifying period for songs produced to be submitted in this year’s event has been extended by an additional six months, so as to make it more concurrent with the times. As mentioned earlier, there is an additional category for this year’s awards event. The Best Collaboration category has now been segmented into two categories – Best Collaboration (Artiste) and Best Collaboration (SongArtiste, Lyricist, Composer). As highly expected from my review last year, “Kalau Aku Kaya” has been nominated for the Best Duo / Group and Best Collaboration (Artiste) categories, a testament to what a smart song it is and the equally panache delivery by both Awi Rafael and Altimet.

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Haqym Mokhtar didn’t disappoint when he performed “Semuanya Alright“…

But amongst the regional categories, it heartens me to see a number of our local acts making inroads when in the past, we wonder if our artistes or songs would ever make it along with their counterparts from the other two countries. Granted, the Best Male and Best Female categories still have a long way to go for our acts to challenge and be amongst the best five, but they are definitely bridging the gaps in other categories as seen by the nominations of Tujuhband, Aryan Band, Ryan Sufiyan, Sufie Rashid, Aisyah Aziz and Reyza Hamizan in their respective categories. Am actually pleased with Ryan Sufiyan‘s nomination. Here is an example of a guy who never gives up. I remember him being a serial reality show contestant, Anugerah, Singapore Idol and God knows what else, he has joined them all only to falter in the earlier stages. Even if he doesn’t win, it is a signal that hard work and patience will eventually pay off in due time. So for those wannabes out there, do not lose hope when you do not make it. There will always be other avenues for you to prove your worth.

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Dr. Edmund Lam addressing the guests during the media conference. Seated next to him were Mr. Hassan Salleh (left) and Ms. Zakiah Halim (centre)…

Speaking of wannabes, and even established artistes, Ms. Zakiah Halim made a very clear point that day. She urged all local artistes to maintain a degree of professionalism whether it is for rehearsals or during actual shows. Always give off your best, all the time and do not hold back, even if it’s a mere soundcheck or rehearsal. Of course, I would like to add about punctuality and respect as well. Respect for those interviewing you or those watching you. I did mention in my review back in 2011 for artistes to refrain from chewing gum before / during a performance or when accepting awards onstage and I believe the same reminder could be applied after attending the recent media conference event. Maybe those who attended the media conference and reading this will agree with me and understand what I am trying to convey.

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Group photo with all the local acts who attended the media conference event…

So who is performing on 17 October 2014??? As of now, I understand the likes of Sufie Rashid, Aisyah Aziz, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Hazama, NOAH, Tulus, Judika, Maria Calista and Cakra Khan have been confirmed and unconfirmed news that Malaysia‘s Raja Lawak second season winner, Nabil, will be one of the hosts for the night. More names will be confirmed in due time but just looking at the amount of star names on display is enough to whet my appetite as all of them are guaranteed to leave you astounded with their vocal capabilities and showmanship. Tickets priced at $28, $48, $68 and $88 (including GST) can be purchased now at all SISTIC outlets and online at www.sistic.com.sg. This year, the $28 tickets have been introduced to entice more students as well as full-time National Servicemen to attend the event. So what are you waiting for??? Grab your tickets now!!!

APM2014 List of Nominations

List of nominations graphic photos courtesy of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division

Snapshots of APM2014 Media Conference


Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Episode 9 Recap…

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The contestants might have felt uncomfortable performing the Boria during the earlier weeks but they seem to enjoy it as the weeks progress…

It has been a week since Episode 9 of Te:RaSeh! 2.0 was aired, but the high entertainment and humour aspects of that particular episode are still fresh in my head. I think it just edged the seventh episode as the most entertaining of the series thus far. The theme for the night (Horror), ensured that whatever costumes or make-up the contestants put on, were sure to tickle our fancy and scared those with faint hearts. Put in each contestant and how they immersed themselves in their respective characters, it was a laugh-a-minute fest that had people like me and my kids watching the re-runs and still laughing at the jokes days after. I personally feel that Fauzie Laily deserved the Celebrity-of-the-Match award as he was in character (dead World War II Japanese soldier) throughout from start till the cameras stopped rolling, and all the way, even after the show had ended.

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A. B. Shaik doing his best Michael JacksonThriller impersonation in front of his amused colleagues Khairudin Samsudin and Dalina Jaapar

I will not begrudge Azlin Ali as she too was also a deserving winner in her role as Makcik Keropok, when she appeared onstage at the start of the show munching on the Papadam in her hand and sharing it with the rest. When Danial Ashriq (Chucky) did his somersault from the stage during the Final Face-Off (Te:Ra! HabisBoria), Azlin responded in kind by jumping off the stage and treating the already-bewildered audience with her own dance moves. I thought there and then that she was to be anointed the Celebrity-of-the-Match for tickling our bones with her antics, and I was not wrong at the end of the show. For the record, Azlin joins Suzairhe Sumari as the only two celebrities who have won the award twice throughout this season’s competition. No mean feat, but it is also testimony to how good they were in their respective roles and characters given to them by the producers of the show.

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The Mats, always game for a fun shot like this…

It was also a good show as it put everyone at the edge of their seats and willing each team on to win. It was nervy, not only for the contestants but to the watching audience in the Mediacorp TV Theatre, as well as those at home. I felt that the fight between both teams were so close, anyone could have won it. Going towards the Final Face-Off (Te:Ra! Habis – Boria), both teams were separated by just ten points, with the Mats leading by that slender margin. In terms of showmanship, prose and creativity in delivering their lyrics, I felt the Mats edged the Minahs slightly, but with a guest judge who openly showed her support to the Minahs right from the first quarter of the show, I felt it was a losing battle for the Mats no matter how hard they tried and how good they were. I would like to believe that the show of support was deliberately done to shake the confidence of the Mat and dealt them a psychological blow, but no matter how I look at it, it’s not good viewing even for a show of this fun nature.

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The Minahs showing who was the number one last Tuesday

No, I am not saying the guys deserved to edge that last segment just because I’m a guy, but I think if we were to throw aside the bias and be more rational, we’ll agree that the guys showed better creativity when delivering their lyrics. Even some of the Minahs I spoke to post-show, agreed that the guys did slightly better. This is where I hope the Grand Finals tomorrow will be a fair affair. We already have two resident judges who represent each gender and can get away with the bias, though to their credit they have not been showing it so blatantly these past nine weeks. It’s the guest judges who hold the wild and trump cards. We could do without a repeat of last year’s mini-controversy whereby some of the guest judges showed whose side they were on. A judge has to be impartial afterall, even if this is a fun competition to begin with. One can show their quiet / gleeful support for their favourite teams via their votes during the Face-Offs, but not through openly-blatant display for the whole world to know. It somehow kills the spirit of competition and demoralises the other team, resulting in quiet discontent.

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Not surprised with the voting, with the Minahs clinching the overall win…

Though I am a bit disappointed with that particular aspect, I am still pleased to see the Minahs closing the gap as I had earlier predicted. Going into the Grand Finals tomorrow, from what I understand, the winner will win double the points, which means if the Minahs were to win, they would eventually leapfrog the Mats and end up being the dominant gender, not to mention the overall winner. As the score stands, the Mats are leading 5:4. With so much at stake for tomorrow’s Grand Finals, we’re going to see all the contestants giving their all in the special two-hour show. It’s gonna be another heart-stopping affair with the line-up ensuring there will be a good mix of contestants with differing abilities, capabilities and personalities. The Minahs will be represented by Nurul Aini, Huda Ali, Syirah Jusni, Azlin Ali and Nurfarhana M Noor. The Mats will have Suzairhe Sumari, Fauzie Laily, Fadhlur Rahman, Danial Ashriq and Hafeez Glamour fighting in their corner.

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Post-show interview with the Malam 2 Mat hosts Hafeez Glamour and Dyn Norahim. Azlin Ali stayed for the first ten minutes before going off as she had her daily morning show and needed to rest for the night. Nurul Aini and Danial Ashriq stayed throughout…

Before I end my entry, I would just like to commend Wawan Husen from Auraz Band for being the best Celebrity DJ throughout the nine weeks, at least from my personal standpoint. He did so much better and was so fluent as compared to some others who looked a little lost and unfocused, which resulted in some of the contestants and audience wincing and lamenting afterwards about points lost during the Q&A segment. For his reward, I believe Wawan will be back for another round tomorrow. Another three that did well so far and caught my eyes were Ashmi Roslan, Ryan Sufiyan and Shikin Imran. Not too sure though how many will be allowed in the radio conty tomorrow. But what is more important is that, I am hoping for a clean, fun, entertaining and fair fight from all contestants as they not only entertain us with their antics, but also channelling all their efforts for a good cause, winning points and monetary proceeds for their respective charity beneficiaries. I wish all the contestants all the best and play safe!!!


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