Pesta Perdana 2019 Media Conference

We are just a few days away from the actual Pesta Perdana event itself, relatively about 48 hours on the clock. Dunno why it took me this long to post this entry when the media conference event that took place to announce the nominees in the various award categories happened more than a month ago on 21st February 2019. A combination of being busy with several personal commitments, coupled with being lazy and procrastinating contributed somewhat to this very belated entry. I had half the mind to just skip doing it altogether seeing how short of a time I have to post this up with just a couple of days away. I just had to do it as the memory of the media conference itself, or rather its venue where it was held, was probably the best one I had attended in the history of this awards show. For the first time ever, the media conference was held at the beautiful Skai Suites on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford, one of Singapore‘s iconic buildings and once billed as the tallest hotel in the world.

Mediacorp Suria’s prestigious television awards show, Pesta Perdana, will be held this year ‘live’ on Saturday, 30 March 2019 at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp. The event will be graced by Guest of Honour, Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Manpower. The biennial awards show, now into its 15th edition, honours the very best in local Malay television. This year’s show will be hosted by multi-talented actor, director and host, Khairudin Samsudin. As a celebratory prelude, fans had the opportunity to meet and greet their favourite celebrities and nominees in a special event called Viva Pesta! that was held on Saturday, 16 March 2019 at Mediacorp Campus Town Square. Hosted by A B Shaik and Farhana M. Noor, the event featured an exciting line up of immersive and interactive activities with delicious food and many instagram-worthy moments for the fans. In addition, fans at Viva Pesta! also attended a special prelude TV show, Pesta Perdana Ekstra! hosted by recently-minted Elit Suria winners, Hans Hamid and Hana Rosli. This show will air tomorrow on Friday, 29 March 2019 at 9.30pm on Mediacorp Suria.

Warna 94.2FM‘s Aura Shai was the host at the media conference…

A total of 31 awards will be given out at the Pesta Perdana awards ceremony from over 300 entries received between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018. Shortman Films’ social drama Bantal Buruk Saloma leads with 11 nominations while Mediacorp Eaglevision’s “Tujuh Hariis close behind with 10 nominations. This is followed by Flipside Stories’ “Mekah Di Hati and Millenia Motion Pictures’ “Tekan Minyak which are tied with 7 nominations each. In a nod to the budding new talents of the industry, this year’s Pesta Perdana boasts a total of 30 first time nominees in the performance and creative categories. Interestingly, for five celebrity families, it is all the more special as they are all up for nominations in the various categories and they are:

  • J.A. Halim, Aminah Ahmad, Helmindra & Fizah Nizam (Father, Mother, Son & Daughter-in-Law)
  • Sani Hussin & Rosita Hussin (Siblings)
  • Seriwahyuni Jaes & R. Azmann (Husband & Wife)
  • Faisal Ishak & Umie Isa (Husband & Wife)
  • Haslinna Ja’aman & Danial Nazim (Mother & Son)

Ms. Sabariah Ramilan, Head of Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Mediacorp addressing the guests at the media conference…

Other nominees include Papahan Film’s “SR115, winner of Best Original Screenplay at the Asian Academy Creative Awards 2018 and finalist at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019 for Drama and Best Screenplay categories; Xtreme Media’s “Swap Kerja Sr 2, finalist for Outstanding Variety Show category at the 4th Asia Rainbow TV Awards 2018, as well as Filmat36’s “Kembara Kasih Sr 3, nominee for Best Documentary category at the Venice TV Awards 2018 and finalist in the Community Service Programs category at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019. Two other nominated programmes, “Bonda and “Projek Kasih, are also recognised finalists at the New York Festivals TV & Films Awards 2019 for Drama Special and Variety Special category respectively.

Ms Sabariah Ramilan, Head of Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Mediacorp, said, “For nearly two decades, Mediacorp Suria has been working closely with local production houses and talents to ensure our programmes entertain, engage and remain relevant to our audiences. We are proud to see our programmes receive recognitions at the regional and international stage, but it is right here at Pesta Perdana that we celebrate and embrace the achievements of our homegrown talents.”

Hisyam Hamid being sandwiched by his missus, Mel Hanafi, and veteran actor, J.A. Halim

Though I agree with what was said, I did have a chat with several local personalities in different fields whom I will not name, who said a lot can be done after 15 editions of the awards show. For one and this has been mentioned extensively amongst the people in the industry, it would be nice to have monetary cash rewards to go along with the trophies they receive, something that we tend to see on some awards shows across the Causeway. However, to put things into perspective, Pesta Perdana is like our own local Malay version of the Emmy Awards. If we were to put it along parallel levels of such awards show (the Grammys and Oscars included), monetary awards are not given out, yet the prestige in winning speaks volumes for the artistes’ or production houses’ reputation, potential and quality. Monetary cash rewards means we need big sponsors pumping in big money. In reality, do we have that in the first place???

From left: Ryan Sufiyan, Razi Salam & M.K. Kash from Flipside Stories, and Fadhli Abdullah

For the Most Popular Male and Female Personality categories which are decided by voting, a prominent personality mentioned that it would also be nice if we were to take a leaf out of Channel 8‘s Star Awards show and crown the Top 5 or Top 10 from each category. Voters can have an initial choice of 30 from each category, 10 from the veterans, 10 from the current and the remaining 10 from the up-and-coming cohort. This particular system makes it an inclusive category and not leave the veterans forgotten or feel as though they are cast aside for younger, more good-looking and marketable personalities. I know for a long time, our local television scene has this tendency to favour looks over talents in the name of marketability, but I think it would not hurt at all to have the more veteran ones have their day in the sun. At least they know they have a place in the hearts of viewers and not just the young ones with better social media outreach. For the record, the public may cast their votes for the Most Popular Male and Female Personalities on toggle.sg/pestaperdana. Voting has been opened since 15 March 2019 and will officially close at 10.00pm on 30 March 2019.

Erwin Shah Dawson was seated next to fellow award nominees Aien Aksan (middle) and Batrisya Soffian

Another thing I would like to mention and this I feel is repeated like a bad record on my end cos I’ve said the same thing before in the past, is that certain categories can be expanded or introduced to include more production houses and not just solely limited to one. I have nothing against Mediacorp Eaglevision cos they, like all the other production houses, produce good and quality programmes on television. But when one category is dominated by just them, it doesn’t look quite good on paper as it looks as though it is favouritism, since they are producing this awards show after all, though I do note that this is probably an (only) avenue to honour their amazing in-house writers and producers. They can probably tweak the categories in future or as what I had mentioned in the past before, to have other production houses produce more of these Variety and Variety Special programmes on Suria, not just limited to them and being an in-house production company of Mediacorp. I think once in awhile, a different and fresh injection of ideas from others can produce a different kind of show on television. At least then we can deny the brickbats on social media that local television shows are one and the same.

From left: Atyy Malek, Endang Rahayu, Andy Idris and Huda Ali

With that said, I am looking forward to attending and covering this Saturday‘s event, as it is looking more likely that this will be the only awards show this year that local television will witness. I’ve heard and this has been confirmed by several people that my favourite awards show, Anugerah Planet Muzik, has been consigned to the history books, a big pity really, as this was an event that I looked forward to fervently every year, not only for the array of stars coming to perform and win the regional awards on offer, but also an avenue for our local musicians, artistes and songwriters to be recognised for their contributions to the music scene. My appeal to the powers-at-be is never to forget nor cast aside our local acts. Even if we were to resurrect the one-time Anugerah Hitz SG, I will be more than happy because this domain of mine was afterall first conceived, in the aim of supporting local music acts, though I sometimes blog on other regional acts on show here as well. Doing away with APM took a big chunk out of my interest in blogging and seriously speaking, I really lost interest and almost called it a day when I first heard the news. I guess that partly contributed to why I hummed and hawed before finally deciding to post this entry up.

A beaming Fadli Kamsani, who is now the latest face in Warna 94.2FM‘s stable, seated alongside his good friends, Danish Ashraf (left) and Farhana M. Noor

Pesta Perdana goes live on Mediacorp Suria at 8:30pm this Saturday, 30th March 2019. The Red Carpet event will be shown live on Mediacorp Suria‘s Facebook page from 6:30pm onwards.

Pesta Perdana 2019 Full List of Nominees

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Graphics Posters of Nominees courtesy of Mediacorp Suria…

Snapshots of Pesta Perdana 2019 Media Conference

APM2017 Red Carpet & Post-Event Reception Snapshots

I’m back with the second instalment of my APM2017 series. Apologies for making you wait this long for this entry as I was juggling editing the rest of the photographs I took that night and revising with the kids for their final-year exams which will end this coming midweek. Even though I have finished editing the photographs, the proper review entry is still in the pipeline and will not be up till probably next weekend or slightly later. So I hope you can wait a bit more. I’ll try to do it as soon as possible as it has been three years since I last did one. Anyway, I have come to observe that people usually come to this domain of mine to view photographs of recent event happenings, or to look out for photographs of local personalities they would like to get to know, especially the new faces. You might also have stumbled upon my page cos you were Googling for some personalities and this page happens to be one of the top search hits.

For the regional readers, they might not know who is who in the Singapore Malay entertainment scene, so in a way I am providing that yeoman service of assisting your queries. I’ve even had feedback from production companies that my blog has been of great help for them to scout for talents. Just glad I am able to help in any way I can, that too without hoping for any rewards or payments. This is also another reason that gave me that wee bit of drive to continue blogging when I recently felt I wanted to pack it all in. I’ll stop blabbering for now and just share with you some selected shots I took during the Red Carpet segment and Post-Event Reception at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2017. Didn’t take that many shots but I guess they will do for now before I come up with my last instalment entry.

 

Sinar Lebaran 2016 Pre & Post-Event Snapshots…

sinar-lebaran-2016-3486The performing artistes of Sinar Lebaran 2016 (from left): Khairudin Samsudin, Huda Ali, Iskandar Ismail (Eiss), Fuad Rahman, Sarah Aqilah, Ziana Zain, Sezairi, Nurul Aini, Sufian Ahmad and Aisyaah Aziz

We’re in the final day of Tasyriq (three subsequent days after Eiduladha) and I thought it would still be fitting enough for me to share these long-held photographs during the night where Sinar Lebaran 2016 was recorded at the new Theatre @ Mediacorp situated at their new premises at Stars Avenue. Furthermore I was not invited to cover the recent recording of the Rayakustika programme, which was televised this past Hari Raya Haji holiday, so there seems to be a void somehow of Eid-related stuff. Anyway, I seldom post photographs of Sinar Lebaran recordings over the years so all the more I saw the need to share them. Since I had promised more stuff to be shared on my blog a few days ago, this post is dedicated to featuring some of the celebrity guests who had attended the Sinar Lebaran 2016 recording on 28 May 2016. Enjoy!!!

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 4 Recap…

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Shah Iskandar and Huda Ali welcoming us to the show…

Back again for the fourth instalment of my Anugerah Skrin 2016 entry series. I guess for this week, I will not be blogging too much in this entry as a lot of things have been said so far and I don’t think I need to blabber on unless I feel there is a need to. Continuing from where we left off last week, it was Group B‘s onus to show what they have learned from their Group A counterparts and to apply whatever knowledge and tips they had gained from watching the third episode. Expectations on the contestants were high as a result of how much they would have gained from their mentors, by watching their counterparts and having an extra week to refine their respective performances.

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Sharon Ismail was busy entertaining wobby Dyn Norahim when I snapped this photo of the judges during the commercial break…

As with last week’s episode, the show was aired live from Studio 4 and unlike last week, the number of audience was slightly reduced to fit in the small constraints of the studio. Where Group A did their outdoor hosting segment at the Kampung Glam area, this past week, Group B were taken to Chinatown to share interesting trivia on some of the landmarks found in the area, another week of empowering our general knowledge. For the fourth week in a row, the guest judge was a lady and she was none other than award-winning writer, actress, comedian and theatre practitioner Haryani Othman.

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Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani…

Ain Zainal and Fadli Kamsani opened the night’s competition as the two performed to a credible standard befitting of what the judges had wanted to see. I like the fact how Ain is comfortable with whatever role that is given to her. Given time, she will be able to carry them off with ease. If there are reference points she can take in and learn from from some of our local actresses who are quite prolific in a plethora of roles, she can look no further than to Episode One‘s guest judge, Masturah Ahmad, and Farhana M. Noor, who was coincidentally seated amongst the audience along with her beau, Shannon Berkett. Ain is also at ease as a host, a pleasant face to look at and calm with her delivery. With the night’s showing, Ain automatically placed herself as the standard bearer for all the other young ladies to emulate or do one better.

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As for her sparring partner Fadli, he has the looks and height that are pre-requisites of leading men the industry always looks out for. Not much flaws I could detect from his hosting segment, however he also has to back it up with a more natural delivery in terms of intonation and stressing of words. As a pair both in the hosting and acting segments, Ain and Fadli looked to have a very good chemistry going between them, even if judge Sharon Ismail did caution the latter not to stereotype his role too much, because not all “Mat Reps” speak in that lingo. Judge Khairudin also advised both of them to listen to the other and react accordingly during their hosting segment. It might look trivial to the general viewer, who might feel that it is not much of an issue and were not able to detect during their performance at a glance, but this is one technical aspect that they can learn to be better hosts on television.

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Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid…

Iskandar Shah and Yaya Hamid were next, hosting just opposite Pagoda Street where the iconic and 189-year old Sri Mariamman Temple resides. From observing their hosting segment, I note a much better and mature performance by Yaya as compared to the group’s first week. Her delivery came off natural, something which was not evident the last time out. Iskandar was also good with his delivery but like what Sharon had pointed out afterwards, he was swaying a bit too much and his slouching posture did not make for good viewing. As a pair though, I like their chemistry and Iskandar it has to be said, was a much better team player this time as compared to Episode 2. He did almost steal the limelight again with his wisecrack about the temple’s years of existence and Yaya’s age, but that banter came off nicely this time. I personally feel that bantering between the contestants has been sorely lacking during their hosting segments, the ability to poke fun at the other without being too demeaning over the other or those that come off naturally without looking as though they were rehearsed over and over again.

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On to their acting segment. Both were taken to task by guest judge Haryani Othman for failing to make necessary research on their respective roles, which ultimately did not come across as believable. While I more or less agree with Haryani‘s advice on a general basis, I think to give benefit of doubt to the contestants, when it comes to styling and what they wear for the night, I believe they only know what they will be wearing on the day itself. Yes perhaps they could have done some research beforehand with regards to their respective characters, but we have to remember, most of the contestants are still raw when it comes to looking and acting their parts. They still have not yet mastered the technique of improvising with the tools that they have or gotten there and then. It is a tough wake-up call but I believe they would be mindful and start to be more of thinking actors from now on. Overall, I found their acting generally ok and comfortable, enough at least for them to remain for another week.

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Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy

Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy were up next and their hosting segment brought them to South Bridge Road, just opposite the Jamae Mosque. In my Episode 2 entry, I noted that Farid needed to open his mouth a bit more, add a bit of zest to his voice and not come across as deadpan. Though he did try, but I felt it wasn’t enough and the seeds of doubt on his progression to the next round was sown, moreso when it looked as though he was trying to recall his lines or saying his lines word-for-word as though his target audience were children. This resulted in a less-than-natural delivery and was rightfully pointed out by Sharon Ismail. Suharti knows her strength lies with that pleasant tone of a voice of hers. But there was a distinct lack of chemistry between her and Farid, because there was little interaction between them. Sharon pointed out that Suharti looked less than comfortable with her fluency in the language no thanks to her slang, but I personally feel it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be after watching it again on Toggle.sg and rewinding at least five times just to observe on their flaws.

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Where I slightly disagree with Sharon‘s observations in the previous paragraph, I agree with what she said when she pointed out that Farid and Suharti‘s acting were actually much better than their hosting segment, in terms of chemistry between them, but it also did not mean that their whole performance was good. As a team they were endearing and actually looked quite a cute couple together, but when we separate their performance from the other, that is where I noticed the glaring flaws. Rule number one is to never forget your lines and if you do, improvise and ad-lib as best as possible, though when it comes to tripping of words, it does affect the rest of their performance somewhat. Both were guilty of it, especially Farid during the beginning of his act, whereas it looked like Suharti managed to cover up a bit when her character mentioned how long they have been married together. Farid did not put enough emotions into his voice intonations, sounding as though there was no life in his dialogue. It was easy to predict that he would be favourites to leave the competition that night.

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Syaiful Ariffin and Wirda Elliesa

Finally down to the final two, Wirda Elliesa and Syaiful Ariffin. I think if I were to make a comparison with their hosting segment along with the rest in Group B, they were probably almost on par with the featured pairing before them. Syaiful‘s strength is in acting and he can also definitely carry a mean tune when he sings. But hosting I feel is something that is not quite him feeling at home just yet. I find his delivery a bit bland and at times, he looked like he was slouching as well. Wirda on the other hand, needs to maintain the same level of energy right till the cameras stop rolling because it showed evidently the imbalance of it throughout her performance. I am not sure about how others perceive her performance. From what I observed, she looked a bit listless and less focused with too much hand movements. There was a moment when she tried to adjust her hair but decided not to halfway. There was also little chemistry between them, and at one point, their shoulders banged into the other, not aware of what’s going on around them and this was pointed out by Khairudin.

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With regards to their acting, Haryani chided them for not having enough imagination. Again, to give benefit of doubt, I believe the contestants would only have been exposed to their props on the day itself and would have only a few hours to improvise and make do with what they have. In terms of realism, I think the start when Wirda‘s character came into the scene before asking Syaiful‘s character which bus goes to Bedok, she could have at least gone over to the bus stop sign and see the service numbers that passed through the stop, just to create a ruse for her character to open a conversation with him. Overall, I think theirs was a performance that was quite disappointing because it felt as though one was waiting for the other to act and react. Even then, the reaction time felt a bit slow. For someone who is an undergraduate in Theatre Arts and a theatre practitioner, I expected more from Syaiful and I feared that both could be eliminated by the end of their performance. It was either them, the contestants before them or one each from either pairings.

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Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy clearly dejected after learning their fates…

As it turned out, it was the pairing of Farid Azhar and Suharti Amy who were eliminated at the end of the show. Personally I thought it was going to be Farid Azhar and Wirda Elliesa. I believe the latter also felt that way because she was already looking down and trying to fight back tears before the cameras started rolling for the final reckoning. It is tough for the judges to decide and I’m sure they would have deliberated over their decision. Wirda should take this reprieve and come out stronger in a week’s time because if someone like Yaya could improve between the second and fourth episodes, I believe she can too. It is going to be even tougher with another two from each group slated for elimination over the next two weeks of competition. Again I would like to tell the contestants to please look up to the cameras and smile more. When you have progressed to the next round and shedding tears or looking glum, you do not give the impression that you are pleased to have made it for another week. Show a bit of joy please and leave the crying backstage when the end credits have rolled.

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The Top 6 from Group B

I did say in the last entry, no one has actually stood out yet. After Episode 4, I believe Ain Zainal has staked enough claims to be at least in the semi-final rounds. I would like to say she is good enough for the Grand Finals but anything can happen between now and then, and I do not wish to jinx her in that respect. She just needs to maintain her level of consistency, grow as the weeks progress and everything will hopefully work in her favour. Anyway it was nice to see Haryani Othman playing the role of bad cop, brutally honest with her views and a fresh perspective at least for me, even if I disagree to some extent with some of her comments. It is a nice wake-up call for the contestants to constantly do their homework, research on their roles, be more of thinking actors rather than rely on every script given to them and taking them at face value. I expect the judging and assessments to be even stricter now that we’re into a month of the competition.

P.S. I will include snapshots of Episode 4 on a later date as I have other commitments to tend to and have no time to edit almost two thousand shots I snapped that night. So do come back soon to view them…

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… 😛