Hafeez Glamour – Doktor Kereta Ambassador…

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I was kindly invited by bro Hafeez Glamour, my mentor back from my internship days with our local Malay radio stations, to cover this momentous event in his career – being appointed an ambassador for Doktor Kereta, a renowned local car dealing company, which is no stranger to the Malay community. This event was held on Saturday 12 March 2016 at the company’s new premises at Woodlands Horizon, where they recently shifted from their old place at Yio Chu Kang Road. Besides the appointment of bro Hafeez as ambassador, this event was also held to thank the customers of the company for their loyal patronage. I felt with the grand scale of the celebrations they had that day, it also felt like an event to celebrate the official opening of the new premises.

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The new premises of Doktor Kereta Pte. Ltd

There was a sizeable crowd that turned up, not only to watch the official announcement of bro Hafeez as the company’s ambassador, but also to meet and greet artistes like popular Malaysian actress, Yana Samsudin, our very own Aziz siblings – Aliff and Aisyah, Alias Kadir, as well as entertained by Kelly Azman and Luqman Damanuri, the latter two from Malaysia. Aisyah Aziz was on hand to pass free copies of her new single, “Titik Merah“, to the first one hundred visitors. The single which won the first prize in a local song composition contest held by Berita Harian and PERKAMUS, was composed by Sallys Music Production and written by Madam Amanah Mustafi from Mediacorp Eaglevision. It was released in conjunction with our recently-concluded SG50 celebrations.

Hafeez Glamour Appointed Doktor Kereta Ambassador 026 The artistes on show: Aisyah and Aliff Aziz, Yana Samsudin, Kelly Azman and Luqman Damanuri

Yana Samsudin, whom I’ve taken a liking since I watched her in “Bini-Biniku Gangster” back in 2011, did not come empty-handed. Accompanied by her husband, Fadzil Zahari, she was also there to promote her new line of hijabwear called “Ayana“. It was hilarious seeing her and Kelly Azman playing games with some of the audience, getting them to wear her fashion line and making them do the catwalk with it. Aliff Aziz, who was accompanied by his fiancee, Bella Astillah and mother Madam Hafiza, entertained the crowd with his first ever hit, “Sayang-Sayang“. For a free event, the audience got their entertainment’s worth and got to meet popular names from both sides of the Causeway.

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Hafeez Glamour seen here with Ms. Aisyah Amirah and Mr. Haji Ismail Yusof, Assistant Director and Director of Doktor Kereta Pte. Ltd. right after his official announcement as Doktor Kereta Ambassador…

I understand that over the past month, there was some controversy pertaining to the local car dealing company. I don’t think it is appropriate for me to comment on the matter, as I am not involved directly at hand nor have read in detail what has transpired. However, the company has taken great pains to appoint a consultancy company, HalalHub Consultants Pte. Ltd. to help look into whatever grievances and shortcomings that might have occurred when dealing with their past customers. The consultancy company’s CEO, Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad, lamented in his opening speech that he saw many complaints being made on Doktor Kereta‘s Facebook page but when they invited to meet those who had complained of poor service and claimed to have been “misled”, only a few have come forward so far. He, along with the car dealing company, hope that more will come forward, so that they can settle whatever misgivings, shortcomings and unhappiness amicably.

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Hafeez Glamour, posing in front of his newly-minted limousine with Mr. Sujimy Mohamad from Screenbox Pte. Ltd., Mr. Haji Ismail YusofMs. Aisyah Amirah, and Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad, CEO of HalalHub Consultants Pte. Ltd

Bro Hafeez in his brief speech, expressed his gratitude at his appointment and hoped that it will bring back the confidence of the general public towards the company which has recently gone through a testing period in its existence. Passing useful advice to young artistes like Aisyah and Aliff Aziz in attendance, he said that such accolades are achievable through patience, hard work and to look beyond the hate that comes with the territory, to the point of forgiving, moreso in the unforgiving nature of the entertainment industry. As someone who is a veteran of the scene and has seen and experienced his fair share, those words certainly rang true. Congratulations to bro Hafeez Glamour on his recent appointment as ambassador of Doktor Kereta!!! Thank you once again for inviting me to cover the event as well as to the staff of Doktor Kereta for the kind hospitality… 🙂

Anugerah Skrin Episode 8 Recap…

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I foresee another short entry just like the last one. This past Tuesday (15 March 2016) saw the competition saying its goodbyes to four contestants, thus leaving the Top 6 to duke it out in the Grand Finals episode in a matter of nine days from the day I published this entry. As the same format applied from the previous week, the male contestants who were up against one another had to act out scenes from popular drama shows on Mediacorp Suria over the past year or so, with another established actor from the opposite gender. This week saw them collaborating with the likes of Farhana M Noor, Izyan Mellyna, Hashimah Hamidon, Era Farida and Mariana Yati. The guest judges from the previous week, Ariati Tyeb Papar and Zaidi Ibrahim, returned once again to the hot seats.

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Farhana M Noor and Fadli Kamsani…

Fadli Kamsani was first up with Farhana M Noor, from a scene taken off Rempuh. Judge Sharon Ismail was not quite impressed when she commented that Fadli‘s acting was one-layered and he needed to find more reasons for his character to be unhappy. I personally found the performance quite average because there were times when his body language and dialogue delivery did not quite sync. For his hosting segment, I actually like hearing his voice tone, calm and measured, though I also agree with judge Khairudin that his intonations could be better expressed when stressing of certain words. I also note that Fadli looked a bit tensed and that he was trying to maintain his presentable outlook more than trying to get himself messy. The least he could have done for his segment was wear an apron, or better still, donned the chef’s hat, even if his involvement with decorating the cake was minimal. I was thinking, what was so scary or fearful about decorating a cake???

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Iskandar Shah and Era Farida…

Iskandar Shah was next as he paired with Era Farida in a scene from Bubur Masjid Air Katira season 3. Guest judge Ariati pointed out that Iskandar‘s performance seemed rushed and his emotions at the start of the skit, were not in tune with his dialogue. I found the comments a bit too harsh as I thought he gave off a confident performance, though not as the same level as the one he had when he sparred with Syaiful Ariffin a fortnight ago. I liked the way he mouthed off his lines, with firmness, clarity and authority, just what the role called for. His hosting segment felt a bit odd though, in that they classified learning to dance the Zapin as something to be “feared”. Judge Sharon noted that he overacted and that singing during the introduction did not quite suit what was required of him. While I agree that singing was perhaps redundant, moreso because he did not get enough “lenggok” to his tune, actually it was something different and unique that he injected into his style. On the part of overacting, it was minimal if you compare Iskandar‘s style to Danish Ashraf‘s.

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Izyan Mellyna and Kamarul Arifin…

Izyan Mellyna reprised her role as Farhana in the recently-concluded drama series of the same title. She was paired with Kamarul Arifin. I tried to get a feel of their scene, both when watching live at the Mediacorp TV Theatre and upon watching it again via Catch-Up TV, but both instances I felt a certain feeling of emptiness at Kamarul‘s character portrayal. It felt one-dimensional and hollow, even if he tried and gave off his best to inject emotions and sadness to his character. The dialogue delivery failed to leave an impact on those watching and this was also pointed out by guest judge Zaidi Ibrahim, who said it lacked character. Kamarul‘s hosting also did not quite impress me that much because I felt he was more concerned about how he looked onscreen and his diction, than being natural and getting himself hot and sweaty for his rigorous activity. My mind was made up after watching his acting performance that he would be one of the two male contestants to be eliminated.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Hashimah Hamidon…

If I was squirming when I watched Yaya Hamid and Fir Rahman last week, that same feeling returned when I watched Syaiful Ariffin in action with Hashimah Hamidon from their scene taken off Mengejar Mentari. What was most eye-catching about this acting performance was Syaiful‘s intense eye-contact with his sparring partner. It felt so natural even if the whole situation felt a bit wrong. Like what judge Ariati had said, there was sincerity in Syaiful‘s acting though I have to caution him that his intonations can sound a bit off, but it was minimal for this performance. Based on his academic background alone, Syaiful seems the strongest when it comes to acting and he needs a very good sparring partner for him to give off his best as we have seen two weeks ago with Iskandar Shah and this week with Hashimah. His hosting though needs lots of improvement. At times it feels as though I am watching an “orang lama” because he has a kind of style of presenting, complete with facial expressions, that remind me of the actors and personalities from the glory days of Jalan Ampas. Actually he wouldn’t look out of place if he were to be cast in shows depicting that era.

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Mariana Yati and Danish Ashraf…

Last but not least, Danish Ashraf. I did say in one of my previous entries, he has been quite fortunate to have been getting roles that fit his personality. In fact his similarities to Anugerah Skrin 2006 alumnus, Junaidi Sali, are uncanny in that they both tend to excel in comedy and antagonist roles. Which is why I felt he has not been properly challenged yet up till this point. Danish teamed up with Mariana Yati from a scene in 2014‘s popular Belah Hati series. For the first time, I saw a weakness in Danish‘s acting performance and this had more to do with him being challenged out of his comfort zone. He looked a bit off trying to balance his emotions which required him to be exasperated, angry and eventually sad by the scene end, which was not easy. Personally I did not quite like his acting performance for this round and thought he looked vulnerable for the axe, but that is me being a bit harsh. However, I felt he was the best amongst the rest when it came to the hosting segment. He has a distinct style of presenting, full of natural wisecracks and funny quips, even if the cynic in me would say he tends to overact. The only complaint I have is the same as the one I made with Fadli Kamsani‘s, in that he should have used an apron and wore a chef’s hat, not only for realism’s sake, but also hygiene purposes cos both of them were dealing with food.

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Seconds before the elimination…

I had envisaged in my last entry the ones who would leave the competition amongst the young ladies who competed last week, even though I did not identify their names. I was half correct when I guessed Wirda Elliesa‘s elimination right, but I was caught between Syafiqah Shahlan and Shida Lestaluhu. I think what tipped Syafiqah‘s favour was her hosting segment which she aced amongst her fellow competitors. As for the guys, I had Kamarul‘s elimination spot-on, but I did not see Iskandar Shah‘s coming. It hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I believe, just like Ain Zainal‘s elimination a fortnight ago, a number of people were left reeling in shock as well cos we did not see it coming. I had actually thought the other elimination would go the way of Fadli Kamsani or Danish Ashraf, but both of them made it to the Grand Finals.

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Presenting to you the Grand Finalists of Anugerah Skrin 2016 – Danish Ashraf, Fadli Kamsani, Syaiful Ariffin, Nurul Nadia, Yaya Hamid and Syafiqah Shahlan…

Next week, there will be no live broadcast from the Mediacorp TV Theatre nor Studio 4 as footage from the Boot Camp, which the finalists have gone through over two days this past Wednesday and Thursday at Changi Civil Service Club, would be aired instead. Which means, I get a much-needed break from my weekly entries on the competition. Please do not expect any entries on the Boot Camp episode as I will not be making any, but I believe there are other self-styled critics out there who will be doing it, complete with scene-by-scene takes and comments on everything and anything they see. And so we say congratulations to the six finalists – Syafiqah Shahlan, Danish Ashraf, Nurul Nadia, Fadli Kamsani, Yaya Hamid and Syaiful Ariffin. Commiserations are due to the four eliminated – Wirda Elliesa, Iskandar Shah, Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin. I think it’s too cliche and oft-repeated, but it is never the end of their journey once they are eliminated. There will always be avenues and opportunities for them. They just need to improve and hone their craft on their own. Others before them have done that, who is to say they cannot follow suit??? 🙂

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 8

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7 Recap…

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7 1643The female semi-finalist contestants (from left): Nurul Nadia, Shida Lestaluhu, Syafiqah Shahlan, Wirda Elliesa and Yaya Hamid

It was all about “Girl Power” this past Tuesday night (8th March 2016), as the first semi-final episode of this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition was aired live from the small confined space of Studio 4. In line with the International Women’s Day celebrations that day, the five young ladies who have progressed thus far at this stage, were given the opportunity to take centrestage. For the semi-final rounds, the contestants are required to act with a renowned actor from the opposite gender and from scenes of popular drama shows on Suria, which these more established actors have acted in. As for the hosting segment, they were tasked to host outdoors and alone, unlike previous rounds where they had a sparring partner amongst themselves. This past week, their hosting tasks brought them to the island of Sentosa. Last Tuesday also saw an addition of two guest judges in Ariati Tyeb Papar and Zaidi Ibrahim, two previous Pesta Perdana winners, no slouches in their respective crafts.

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Jeff Catz and Nurul Nadia

Nurul Nadia was paired with Jeff Catz for the first acting segment of the night and they acted a scene from the four-part series, SAGA. Khairudin Samsudin commented that Nurul Nadia‘s performance was superb and I feel that it was justified. I think it helped her a lot in terms of putting in the sad emotions when Jeff‘s character blew his top and raised his voice at her. The only downside was her lack of eye expressions which looked as though they disappeared somewhat when she cried. As for her hosting, it was a bit of a hit and miss for me, good in patches and having less confidence during the rest of the takes. At this stage, one’s confidence should be up there already and not stuck with the jitter bug. At times I see Nurul Nadia a bit too meek. She has to come out from her fear and comfort zones if she wants to win this competition. However, I think she might be good enough for a grand finals spot by virtue of her acting performance alone. Finally, the judges realised her voice resemblance to Huda Ali‘s which I had pointed out weeks ago when the competition first started.

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Norman Ishak and Wirda Elliesa

I personally thought Wirda Elliesa did slightly better than previous weeks, when she was partnered with Norman Ishak for their scene taken from Firasat. However, she was told that her character’s supposed firm traits had more anger instead. This is where the finer technical details of their acting are scrutinised by the judges as we get closer to crowning them as winners. For the laymen like us who watch from the comfort of our screens, we feel that it was believable to an extent, but perhaps not in the eyes of the judges. I personally felt a bit uncomfortable watching the preview scene when they were interviewing both of them, cos when Norman was being interviewed, Wirda was looking down and adjusting her hair, instead of towards the camera, a slightly bad habit I noticed since the earlier episodes. Some viewers might view that as lacking in manners, but to give benefit of doubt, I believe she might have thought that the focus of the camera was on Norman alone. As for her hosting, it felt quite ordinary and the questions posed were too basic though I dunno if it was part of the script or they had to think of the questions themselves. Instead of “promoting” the Luge, I think the attention of the viewers was more on her than what she was presenting about.

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Fido Ahdross and Syafiqah Shahlan

For the first time in the competition, I detected a lack of confidence in Syafiqah Shahlan’s acting performance. She has always been a model of consistency but during her segment with Fido Ahdross, when they played out a scene from A&E, I could sense that her mind was probably not focused with what she had to deliver, thus resulting in a lack of emotions and an overall average performance. Not for the first time that night that the judges pointed out the lack of expressions in the contestants’ eyes. Syafiqah‘s saving grace was her hosting performance which had the word “FUN” spelt out in capital letters to indicate her personal experience and even the audience who might have felt the same, just by watching her segment. The only grouse I have is they could have gotten a better instructor who could speak the Malay language fluently. It felt odd watching a Malay-sounding named person speaking in English for a Malay programme. Worse, his grammar was atrocious for someone who is more comfortable speaking in English. I’m sorry, it’s my OCD kicking in…

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A. Mahadi and Shida Lestaluhu…

I did say in my Episode 3 entry that Shida Lestaluhu was probably not ready for a comedy role yet. A month has passed since I made those remarks and even though I feel that she is still not yet ready, I note a better performance from her alongside A. Mahadi. They had reprised a scene from the highly popular Menantu International drama series. At first glance, the ad-lib of the tie on the mannequin in the scene felt normal, but upon watching again, I agreed with the judges that it sounded a bit off. Shida‘s intonations could also have been expressed better especially on the parts where she had her verbal joustings complete with traditional Malay idioms. For her hosting, I think she did better as an individual as opposed to having a sparring partner. But like what judge Sharon Ismail had pointed out, she has to be aware of her camera angles and not be seen as though she is looking down on her interviewee.

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Fir Rahman and Yaya Hamid…

Finally we come to Yaya Hamid. If you compare her performance as well as Nurul Nadia‘s, whom I felt were the better performers of the night, I am more inclined to say I enjoyed Yaya‘s performance with Fir Rahman more. Their scene taken off Kosmopolitan, was a public display of affection (albeit in a private office setting), which had me feeling uncomfortable and squirming, for the fact that it seemed almost believable. I liked the way they interacted with their eyes towards the end, I thought it felt quite intensed and electric. I feel that Yaya‘s acting has steadily improved as the weeks progress, though I would also caution her that she can still improve on her stressing of words along with her emotions. Her hosting segment was good to a certain extent. There were times where vibrancy and zest were missing in her presentation delivery but overall I thought she still did ok. She was brave enough to let her hair down just going through the motions of the trapeze act.

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The guys ready to rock Episode 8: Syaiful Ariffin, Danish Ashraf, Iskandar Shah, Kamarul Arifin and Fadli Kamsani

As expected, there were no eliminations in Episode 7. However Episode 8 will be slightly more brutal and intensed than previous weeks, in that four contestants will be given the axe, two each from the guys and ladies. I am not sure who amongst the ladies will be eliminated at this stage, because my personal observations might not tally with the judges. However based on the judges’ comments, I more or less know who will be saying goodbye to the competition this coming Tuesday. I will not say it here because I do not want to make the young ladies’ respective morale drop even before Tuesday has arrived. They left Episode 7 still smiling, which was a rare sight, and I do not want them to come into Episode 8 all sad and gloomy. Before I end, I just want to say, I love this particular entry as it is the shortest to date for this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition!!! 😛

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 7

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 6 Recap…

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Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali welcoming us to Episode 6

Back again with another round of recap of this year’s Anugerah Skrin competition. However I’ll try to keep it brief. The keyword here is “try”, and not “brief”. Hahahaha. Episode 6 saw the return of the Top 6 in Group B, who again have had the advantage of seeing their Group A counterparts slugged it out the previous week. Based on the first four episodes alone, these advantages did not necessarily mean they gave better or stellar performances. I note a certain degree of nervousness amongst the contestants, the fear to express themselves and just let go. I do not blame them because they are relatively young, still getting to grips with this newfound attention on them, and it can be very pressurising judging by the small conversations I had with some of them. Oh and also the matter of having to remember their lines which can be lengthy and wordy.

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Seriwahyuni Jaes (right), joining Khairudin Samsudin and Sharon Ismail on the judging panel…

Before I proceed further, I would just like to apologise for saying that Episode 5‘s guest judge, Izzat Yusoff was supposed to make another appearance in Episode 6, when in fact it was Seriwahyuni Jaes who was in the hot seat. I was actually half right, because Izzat was indeed backstage and was part of the deliberating process between the judges when it came down to who was to be eliminated at the end of the show. He had told me after Episode 5 that he would be back the following week, but at that point of time I guess he himself didn’t know whether it was appearing on television or otherwise. I only found that out after Episode 6 had ended. Continuing from the previous week’s theme, the acting segment required the contestants to act in period / classic roles from films of yore and hosted a fictitious variety show titled “Pop Skrin“.

Anugerah Skrin 2015 Episode 6 364Fadli Kamsani & Wirda Elliesa…

First off, the pairing of Fadli Kamsani and Wirda Elliesa. If I were to chart a graph of their hosting performance, it would look like a steep mountain. They actually started off well, even if Wirda‘s energy when she said, “Pop Skrin“, could have had a bit more zest to it. After that, it went downhill as Wirda stumbled and forgot her lines, with Fadli having to save her, but got lost himself along the way. As hosts, both have the looks which you do not easily reach your remote controls to switch channels. However, alleviating pressure from within and learning the art of ad-libbing are some things that they could work on and this comes only through countless experiences over time. To give them the benefit of doubt, it was only their third such outing and without any teleprompters nor cue cards. Even seasoned hosts tend to trip on their words, with cue cards in hand.

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Iskandar Shah as Laksamana Bentan and Syaiful Ariffin as Sultan Mahmud

The first acting segment of the night saw Syaiful Ariffin and Iskandar Shah taking on the roles of “Sultan Mahmud” and “Laksamana Bentan” from the film “Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang“. I don’t want to say much other than this was the best acting performance throughout the six episodes of this year’s competition. 2010‘s winner, Syirah Jusni, tweeted that she had goosebumps watching them and she was not alone, as I had also felt the same thing watching them live. They had stage presence, the lines were delivered in tones that were required according to their respective emotions and the energy both of them gave off literally bounced off the other. Finally I got to see Syaiful producing something which I know he is capable of and was equally reciprocated by Iskandar. Well done guys, but do take note of guest judge Seriwahyuni‘s advice. It’s minor technical stuff which would be lost upon most viewers, myself included when I was watching, but it was sound advice indeed to make you even better actors.

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Ain Zainal and Yaya Hamid…

Back from the commercial break and we had Ain Zainal and Yaya Hamid up next with the hosting segment. Both actually did not begin on a good footing, with Yaya slightly tripping on her lines and Ain momentarily forgetting what she had to say. To their credit however, they kept going without missing a beat. I can see that Yaya‘s confidence in hosting seems to grow as the weeks progress, even if at times her saccharine voice and way of presenting still belong to children’s programmes. Ain on the other hand seemed to be holding back for reasons only known to her and also I detected and forgive me for being slightly harsh, a lack of sincerity in her presentation style that night. It could be the reason why Seriwahyuni had commented that presenters should know and have a feel of what they want to say and in turn the audience should feel it as well. I did not get to feel it watching Ain‘s performance live as well as afterwards when I was studying their performance again.

Anugerah Skrin 2015 Episode 6 1198Wirda Elliesa as “Permaisuri” and Fadli Kamsani as “Datuk Bija Sura“…

The next acting segment brought back the pairing of Fadli Kamsani and Wirda Elliesa as “Datuk Bija Sura” and “Permaisuri” from the classic film “Dang Anum“. I believe both contestants had been hampered and affected somewhat by their earlier hosting performance as they somehow did not express themselves fully. Emotions were somewhat lacking at vital points and there was a distinct lack of stressing of words and intonations, especially on the part of Fadli. A waste really given his role as a scheming minister could have been better with better delivery of his lines. His facial expressions could have also been expressed by being more sinister rather than looking like a pervert. Wirda at least tried to do better by showing different facets to her character, a distressed-turned-vengeful queen. Judging by the way she played with her facial expressions, I think she might do well if antagonistic roles were given to her. Still overall, it felt like an average performance and the judges also said the same thing.

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Iskandar Shah and Syaiful Ariffin…

Iskandar Shah and Syaiful Ariffin returned for the last hosting segment of the night. Watching them host felt like watching their earlier acting segment all over again. Iskandar especially, I felt, was still in his character mode as he mouthed off his lines complete with melody. He was also moving his head a bit too much. I did not notice this on the night itself as I was snapping photographs away, but I realised this when I watched their performance again on Catch-Up TV. This pairing also fell victim to the tripping of words felt by the others throughout the night with Iskandar the main culprit. Syaiful‘s hosting is not that spectacular, but he delivered them in calm and measured tones. His energy however needs to go up a notch because I noticed that his general hosting style lacks a bit of vibrancy at times from the first time I observed him in Episode 2. Still I thought they were both good to progress into the semi-finals by virtue of their virtuoso performance earlier in the night.

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Yaya Hamid as “Mak Labu” and Ain Zainal as “Mak Kundur”…

Finally the last acting segment. Yaya Hamid and Ain Zainal got the roles of “Mak Labu” and “Mak Kundur” respectively from the film “Bawang Putih Bawang Merah“. Watching them act felt as though I was transported back in time when I was an avid fan of programmes involving Bengkel Kanak-Kanak TV SBC. Yes, I am sure you know what I am trying to get at, it felt like watching a children’s role play show. I was disappointed that Ain did not maintain her level of consistency from the previous rounds we’ve seen of her. There was a lot of holding back by both young ladies in their roles, a lack of feel, emotions and grasp of the lingo required to deliver their lines. In terms of realism, Yaya was supposed to be the elder sister but ended up looking like the younger one. The whole performance felt amateurish at best and too much over-the-top facial expressions by Ain, which was not matched by Yaya.

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Yamin Yusof and Ain Zainal upon learning their fates…

Truth be told, I was generally shocked at the end of the show to see Yamin Yusof and Ain Zainal eliminated, partly because I felt they did just enough to progress. This sentiment was felt by many others and a quick scan on social media showed a lot of unhappy voices at the judges’ decision. Yes I was quite shell-shocked that night and told myself I had to re-watch their performances again, especially that of Ain‘s. Watching it live whilst snapping away their photographs, my attention on their respective performances might not have been given its full focus, hence that feeling of being surprised and disbelief. However after reviewing over again, I believe the judges had made an astute decision. Whoever performs on the night, they go through, simple as that. Ain‘s performance was lacking in a number of aspects. Even if many, including myself, initially felt Wirda was supposed to be eliminated by virtue of her hosting debacle, the fact remains, the acting segment carries 70% of the overall marks. That could have probably saved her from elimination and by the skin of the teeth.

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The semi-finalists…

I would like to apologise to Ain for perhaps making her jinxed when I remarked in my Episode 4 entry that she was good for a semi-final appearance. When I said it back then, it was my personal view, not to mention confidence, that she was good and consistent enough, but I had also cautioned on jinxing her with my praises. Perhaps she might have put unnecessary pressure on herself to perform that night, maybe the expectations got to her, but I believe this is not the end of the journey for either Ain and Yamin. Privately, I have heard a lot of positive things about the latter, his quest to better himself, to do a lot of research, improve his diction etc. These are the kind of attitude that will endear themselves to directors and producers out there. So long as they remain humble, have a sincere attitude, positive work ethics, they will do well, God-willing. They might have ended their journey in the competition but their actual journey in the scene has only just begun…

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 6

Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5 Recap…

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Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali along with the Group A contestants at the start of the show…

We’re halfway through the competition and frankly speaking, I was in two minds whether to do an entry for this episode or wait till the sixth one is over before I combine both into one recap. Why I decided against doing it in the end is because I don’t want my entry to be too lengthy for you to read and digest. By the way, the Top 6 from Group A once again returned to the fore last Tuesday (23rd February 2016) on our television screens. The two earlier rounds showed that they were still relatively raw and had many rough edges that needed polishing. Personally I felt that Group B had a distinct edge over them in terms of knowing what is to be expected of them when it was their turn to be in the spotlight. Episode 5 was Group A‘s third foray and I was hoping it will be third time lucky for those still in the competition to produce much better performances than what we have seen in Episodes 1 and 3.

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The judges grinning away at the hosts’ banter when introducing them…

For the first time in the competition, the judging panel welcomed a guest judge who was not from the fairer gender. Izzat Yusoff, who will forever be remembered for his breakout role in “Soldadu” close to two decades ago, a “Pesta Perdana” winner back in 2013 for his supporting role in “Anakku Sayang“, as well as part of the stellar cast of “Di Pinggiran Ramadan“, which had also bagged the Best Drama Series award, took his seat alongside Khairudin Samsudin and Sharon Ismail. The unique thing about the guest judge for this particular round is that, Izzat will again be in the hot seat for tonight’s episode with Group B. I believe his scheduled presence for a second consecutive week is to have a certain standardised continuity in terms of the judging and evaluation, since there was no elimination afterall by the end of last week’s episode.

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The live hosting segment from the TV Theatre returned last Tuesday with the contestants paired up as hosts of a fictitious variety show titled “Pop Skrin“. The same pairings were also tasked to perform the acting segment together. Again, there was a first for last week’s episode. There were no more rigid boy-girl pairings from the ones we saw in the first four episodes. Instead we saw only one mixed pairing in Yamin Yusof and Syafiqah Shahlan, coincidentally both kicking off the night’s competition, with the other two pairings, up with those from their respective genders. The acting segment threw up a challenging proposition for the contestants to act out scenes from period / classic dramas of yore. The challenge meant there were to be no stones unturned in terms of researching and doing lots of homework for the roles given to them, especially the lingo that they should speak and is expected of them.

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Yamin Yusof and Syafiqah Shahlan…

As mentioned earlier, Yamin and Syafiqah opened the night’s competition with their hosting segment. I like their chemistry that night as there was a certain synergised coordination between them that was timed to perfection. There was also the element of listening to the other and reacting accordingly as mentioned by the judges in previous weeks. Syafiqah is a natural and every time I see her host, she seems to grow in confidence. Likewise, there was an improvement in the way Yamin presented, but he has to be aware when his lines are long, he needs to know the right points when to stress on his words and take a quick breath so that the delivery comes off as natural. Also when it comes to banter, Yamin has to learn the art of making it sound natural. Overall, I believe they made a credible start to the night’s competition and I was eager to watch how they would perform in their acting segment next.

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Shida Lestaluhu (as Tengku Halijah – standing) and Nurul Nadia as Raden Mas

Nurul Nadia and Shida Lestaluhu were next with the first acting segment of the night, acting the roles of Raden Mas and Tengku Halijah respectively. I dunno if it was jitters, but Shida paused momentarily when she was uttering a Malay idiom in her lines, somewhat making me wondered that night if she had uttered them correctly, which fortunately she did. But the momentum of building up her anger went down a bit I feel when I watched their performance again on Catch-Up TV.  The lingo needed for this performance could have been improved, though I note that both of them did try their utmost. I liked the way Shida stressed on her words when she was angry. I thought they were spot on and like what Izzat Yusoff mentioned afterwards, there was clarity in her dialogue delivery. Nurul Nadia, on the other hand, needs to improve on her facial expressions. When she looked distressed, her expressions betrayed her a bit and she looked angry instead. I also have to agree with Izzat that both needed to open up a bit more and be more expressive at this stage of the competition.

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Kamarul Arifin and Danish Ashraf…

Back from the commercial break and it was the turn of Kamarul Arifin and Danish Ashraf in the hosting segment. I remember just seconds before the cameras went live, I had signaled to both of them to sit up straight but only Danish saw my actions and by the time he nudged Kamarul to be aware of his sitting posture, the cameras had started rolling. As a result when they eventually went live, one could be seen slightly slouched and too comfortable on his seat and the other looking every bit confident with what he was supposed to deliver. I also did not quite like the tone which Kamarul had begun the segment as it sounded as though he was reading straight from the script with little energy and emotions, and this continued throughout with his energy going down as he went on. A pity because I’ve always liked his tone of voice since the first episode. Danish seems to love presenting shows of this nature where he could let his personality shine through and I note that he did not do much wrong, other than be slightly over-the-top than his partner. In that respect, Danish should be aware not to upstage his partner, because it is nicer to see a pairing that is well-balanced than one that is slightly lop-sided.

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Yamin Yusof as Aduka and Syafiqah Shahlan as Dara…

If there were any mistakes or shortcomings that were evident in Yamin‘s earlier performance in the hosting segment, he atoned them with his acting delivery as Aduka from the classic and popular Semerah Padi movie which he and Syafiqah re-enacted. It was an intense and emotional love scene which I enjoyed, more so because I felt the role was tailor made for Yamin in which he could exploit his low voice tones to great effect and he definitely did. I felt that both of them grasped what was needed of them from this performance, especially the lingo aspects. Other than Ain Zainal from Group B, I am beginning to warm to Syafiqah. Slowly but surely, we are beginning to see who is able to perform in a number of roles well. Her confidence speaking in the Malay language during the introduction clip prior to their acting segment, is proof that she is possibly set for a long career in the local Malay entertainment industry, no matter where she ends up eventually in this competition.

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Shida Lestaluhu and Nurul Nadia

As hosting individuals, I like both Shida and Nurul Nadia. They have shown in Episodes 1 and 3 that they have the voice, the calm presence and articulation to be good hosts. However, I was left slightly disappointed by their showing in the hosting segment last Tuesday. They did not start off on a good note with both of them not synchronising their introductory greetings and at the end of their segment, Shida was seen clapping alone which I thought was a bit unnecessary for a studio show with no apparent physical guest artistes. Their performance raised quite a bit of question on my part, whether they had enough practise between them or was it just jitters that let them down. There was a distinct lack of teamwork, understanding, coordination and cohesion between them even though as separate entities, they were still pleasant to look and listen to. For their benefit of doubt, I would say hosting live for them took a bit of wind out of their sails. I tried putting myself in their shoes and I can more or less understand the pressure they went through having to remember their lines and trying to get their acts right.

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Danish Ashraf as Hang Jebat and Kamarul Arifin as Hang Tuah…

Down to the final performance of the night. I believe the judges enjoyed Kamarul and Danish‘s portrayal as Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat respectively the most that night, as it was the most intense. I thought Kamarul redeemed himself well from his earlier hosting performance, though the first part when his character called out Hang Jebat, it felt as though he was giving commands at the parade square rather than calling out his adversary. This is where they should learn to refine their voice tones, record their voices a few times during rehearsals and note the differences. Danish continued where he left off and maintained the level of consistency in his performance, though I would like to caution him when Kamarul brandished the Keris in front of his face, he was shown gulping down his saliva. In terms of realism, it showed that his character was afraid which I doubt it was meant to be so, though to give benefit of doubt, I assumed his throat was dry then. Also, the end when his character laughed, it did not quite sound off as natural. The energy between them though was good.

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Surprise… Surprise… No eliminations were made in Episode 5

Again as I had mentioned earlier, there was no elimination in this episode. All their marks will be put together alongside Group B and from there, two will eventually be eliminated. What do I make of that decision??? I think it was a nice surprise as I had expected two from either Kamarul, Yamin, Shida and Nurul Nadia to have said their goodbyes, had they retained the same format last Tuesday. Honestly, I would be loathed to see any of them eliminated at this stage because I believe that minor details separate them. To rank their performances alongside Group B would be a much better comparison and the onus is now on the latter group to go one better tonight to avoid being eliminated. I believe from Group A, Danish and Syafiqah are safe enough to enter the semi-finals. They must maintain their level of consistency and challenge themselves to do even better now that the group stages are almost over. We shall see tonight if the competition will be more intensed or otherwise…

Snaphots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode 5