APM2015 Snapshots…

APM 2015 - Media Release(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

I return once again with another APM2015 entry, my second instalment of this year’s edition. This time, I’ll be sharing miscellaneous shots I took during the “Red Carpet” event, the “Walk of the Stars” segment as well as a few shots I took post-event. Unfortunately there was no post-event reception this year and the “Walk of the Stars” segment had to be cut short due to time constraints before the event proper began, so there were not many photographs that I took and certainly less of a variety as compared to previous years.

Also since I am basically a one-man team, I had to leave the “Red Carpet” event at the hall’s entrance to take shots of the events transpiring on stage. In years past, I would have broken my entries into several postings, but this year, I’ll just post my miscellaneous snapshots under one entry, with my review coming much later, as I still have five thousand-odd photographs I need to sieve through and pick the best ones to be featured. Hope this filler entry before my review would help to satiate your thirst to view the photographs of the event. I will not put a timeframe to the publication of my review entry but I hope I will not take another month to post it up… 😛

#theSyarifs’ Wedding Dinner Event…

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Back with the third and final instalment of #theSyarifs‘ wedding. This entry will feature photographs of the wedding dinner event, which I felt resembled a mini Pesta Perdana event, with the local Malay entertainment scene’s personalities making their presence by gracing the occasion. It was a long day for the newly-weds as well as those who had worked hard to make the whole event tick, yet everyone was smiling throughout till the very end, happiness etched on their faces and sharing the joy of the newlyweds. The wedding dinner event was held at the same venue (Alkaff Mansion) as the earlier morning’s solemnisation ceremony and lunch reception.

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Like the solemnisation ceremony, those who had tuned in to the couple’s official Youtube channel, would have gotten a glimpse of what went on live via the webstream. Unfortunately I heard that the full clip has been taken down by Youtube due to copyright infringements of some of the songs featured. Though you will not be able to view the clip, I hope this entry would satiate your thirst to view some of the event’s happenings as well as see who’s who in the local Malay entertainment scene who had turned up. This was afterall THE “Wedding of the Year” for 2014, for me. It would be criminal not to feature this entry in my blog, especially when the groom took great pains to invite me and the wife to attend. For that I say “Thank You!!!” to Syarif and Malaque for having us, me in particular, for almost the whole day.

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The wedding dinner event was hosted by Ben Muthusalam, Syarif‘s intern-mate when he did his internship with Mediacorp back in 2009. Please don’t ask me why the host’s name has an Indian surname. Maybe his good friends reading this can help to enlighten me cos I’m in the dark myself. Guests were treated to lovely performances by local groups The Trisno Trio and Northbound, as well as a guest performance by Malaysia‘s Dina Nadzir, whose rendition of Katy Perry‘s “Unconditionally“, had my hairs standing. She is such an under-rated vocal powerhouse. We also witnessed Syarif singing a song titled “Malaque“, which he had composed with Trisno Ishak just two weeks leading up to the wedding event.

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The eleven-tier wedding cake was specially baked by Malaque herself, whom some of us know specialises in pastries, desserts and cakes. Also, the cheesecake recipe during the dinner event itself, was specially concocted by her, assisted and executed by Chef Siti Mastura and team. Female guests were fortunate to have received a make-up kit by Benefit Cosmetics, to go along with the main door gifts consisting of a Grey by Ortenhill bag, a lovely jar series, Sugee cake by Chef Siti Mastura and Calvin Klein parfum vials. The gifts oozed class in every sense, a reflection of the newlyweds. All in all, it was a wonderful and memorable wedding event and here’s wishing the newlyweds once again a blissful married life with filial kids in tow… 🙂

#theSyarifs’ Wedding Event

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I’m back with the second instalment of #theSyarifs’ wedding event held at the Alkaff Mansion on 22 November 2014. I have been looking at some of the photos shared in cyberspace with regards to arguably 2014‘s “Wedding of the Year” event, and most of them were from the marriage solemnisation ceremony as well as the dinner event. Correct me if I am wrong please, but I don’t see that many photos from the main wedding event shared amongst the media portals. Good thing that I hung around long enough to capture some of the memorable moments during the afternoon session, though not long enough to capture the couple in their second outfit nor the celebrity guests who turned up. I was fortunate to witness what went on during the traditional customary routine where the groom and his entourage made their way to the wedding dais, only to be stopped at various points to “pay their dues”, either through monetary means or through simple physical challenges.

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One of the checkpoints required the groom and his groomsmen to perform Taufik Batisah‘s trademark “#awakkatmane” dance steps while the last checkpoint was the most challenging in that the groomsmen were subjected to perform various Yoga poses, of which the bride, Malaque, is known to be an avid practitioner. Guests who were around during that period were also fortunate to have been serenaded by local group Northbound (who in actual fact was having their own soundcheck for their evening performance), as well as the Arabic-influenced group Samra Alwehdah, led by local actor / comedian Mohammad Alhindwan (you would have noticed him playing the ring announcer role in Saga or as one of the funny characters in Warta Heran). Right I will not blabber more and let my photographs do the talking… 🙂

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…

Suria Elektra Post-Event: What You Did Not Get To See…

As promised, I’m back with this entry which I’ve promised to upload before Monday. For those of you who are linked to me in Facebook, this post is perhaps very much redundant as you would have seen the photographs I uploaded on Suria Elektra and its post-event reception about a week ago. But of course I have not forgotten those who are not in my contact list. That is why this entry is published specially for you even if I don’t upload all the photographs I took that night.

If you had watched the live telecast show from the comfort of your home, then you would have missed seeing the cutting of Suria‘s 10th Anniversary cake when the rolled credits had ended and Suria was showing “Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang“. Our distinguised guests-of-honour were invited up to the stage by the pre / post-event emcee, A B Shaik, to cut the 10kg cake sponsored by Prima Deli. Just before the cake was cut, everyone in the auditorium was asked to join in the singing of the birthday song. Even stars like Dato’ Siti NurhalizaRamli SaripTaufik Batisah and Hady Mirza amongst others, were not spared from being asked to sing when the microphone was passed to them.

The artistes waving and thanking the audience and fans who had come to watch…

Nurul Aini was seen blowing kisses to the crowd. She really enjoyed herself as a host that night…

The look on Fadly Awaludin‘s face was classic…

 

The cake is then wheeled out from the backstage…

“Happy birthday to you!!!… Happy birthday to you!!!”

Blowing away the flames on the candles…

And cutting the cake…

And then it was time for the food to be served at the post-event reception…

Suhaimi Yusof, food connoisseur, tucking in…

Hady & Taufik were still game for photographs even though they wore tired looks on their faces…

A mixture of old and new, from left: Taufik Salleh, Roslan Kemat, Noor Atika Kamaludin & Joe Lazarie

Imran Ajmain looked dashing, while Nurul Aini was stunning…

The ladies who sat together in a row and held their own party that night. Any performer would love to have them as part of their audience. From left: Rosita Hussin, Ariati Tyeb, Rahimah Yusof, Rita Zahara, Mastura Ahmad, Seri Wahyuni Jaes, Elfaeza Ul-Haq & Dalina Jaapar.

Here’s Pianka and their manager Jihan Jauhar

Three beautiful ladies whose talents have been discovered by Suria over the past decade, from left: Azzah Fariha, Kunjung and Huda Ali

Ashmie, Elfaeza and Shahril Wahid demonstrating how to be toothpaste commercial models, while Suhaillah Salam, Dalina & Taufik kept it cool…

The guys looked slick while the ladies were demure. You gotta hand it to Imran Ajmain, Syarif Sleeq, Fauzie Laily, Norfasarie, Rosita Hussin, Nurul Aini, Elfaeza, Dalina & Najip Ali

Suhaillah with the ever loving couple, Rafaat Hamzah and his wife Ziz Za

Catty (Anugerah 2009 semi-finalist) and Alyph Sleeq  flanking the cast of the new series Cinta Ixora – Syarif Sleeq, Nurul Nabilah, Setia Vegawati, Nadiah Mohd and Shenthy Feliziana. Cinta Ixora will debut on Suria on 27 February 2010 at 09:30pm

I’m sure fans of Syah Ibrahim (second from right) would love this photograph. Here he is with, from right: M. Saffri A. Manaf, Roslan Kemat, A B Shaik & Jorah Ahmad‘s chaperone…

Sani Hussin (second from left) was initially hesitant to take this photograph alongside the younger generation of Suria artistes like Ashmie, Taufik, Haizad Imran, Fadhlur Rahman, Sufiyan, Azzah Fariha & Elfaeza as he felt out of place, but he joined in after much coaxing. I’m sure the younger cohort look up to him as a mentor and inspiration…

Rita Zahara, ex-newscaster of both English & Malay news got my vote as the best-dressed that night. She was simply gorgeous in her dress, which was designed by Lulu Alhadad, an up and coming fashion designer…

And before I end this entry, I would just like to thank Imran Ajmain for taking the time to record this for my readers on that night itself. Please do give him your utmost support and visit his official website www.imranajmain.com for the latest news on his upcoming shows and single / album promotions. Also, for more news on our local entertainment scene, promotions on upcoming shows, concerts and events, you can get your bites at Gumbira.com, a company set up by none other than the man himself…