Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo Gala Premiere Screening Event

We are slightly more than three weeks into the new calendar year. It’s been three months since my last post and I know I still owe entries on Anugerah Planet Muzik 2018 as well as originally-planned reviews for Ruffedge‘s and Anuar Zain‘s concerts. Unfortunately, my home PC picked an inauspicious time to go bust, so I was rendered PC-less for some time, hence I was unable to do any updates till I’ve gotten myself a new one. However, it’s been a quarter of a year gone by, and frankly speaking, whatever I owe my readers are old news by now. So I’ll keep my thoughts on APM2018 till the next one comes around (if it does) or maybe I’ll hold my peace forever, if rumours of it being consigned to history books are true. As for the Ruffedge concert, all I can say is, it was a blast and one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended for the fact that I had absolute access to snap photos from close-up without having security or organisers stopping me from doing so. Even the fans had a whale of a night. How many sit-down concerts here can you say that audience are allowed to stand up, dance and sway without having security bugging you to sit down??? Can’t wait for the next Shiraz Project concert here in March with a certain number one singer from Malaysia

The cast of the “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” seen here with their executive producers, Safiyuddin Razif and Nusaibah Abdul Rahim (fourth and fifth from the left)…

Sorry for taking a whole paragraph rambling. Now that I got the explanation for my missing-in-action out of the way, let’s start 2019’s first entry with a gala premiere screening event I attended slightly more than a fortnight ago on 4 January 2019 at the Gallery Theatre of National Museum of Singapore. This screening event was jointly held by Mediacorp Suria and local production company, Poetry In Motion, to promote the blockbuster drama series, “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo“, which has already been aired on the national free-to-air channel since 9 January 2019. This drama series stars award-winning actor, Hasnul Rahmat, Nurul Aini, Norman Ishak, Jeff Catz, Hamidah Wahab, Fir Rahman, Adlina Adil, Shenty Feliziana, Bella Putri as well as sees the return of Rima Melati Adams on our television screens after a decade-long hiatus. The show also sees the introduction of Malaysian model-host-actress-rapper Amelia Henderson, who bears a very striking resemblance to international film star Gal Gadot as well as several Bosnian actors and actresses. This drama series is directed and written by the husband-and-wife team of Faisal Ishak and Umie Isa, no strangers already on these shores.

RIA 89.7FM‘s morning show presenters, Nity Baizura and Hans Ashrie, were the hosts at the gala premiere screening event…

Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” drifts between modern day and flashbacks from the 90s when Bosnia-Herzegovina was plunged into a civil war and mass ethnic cleansing. The aforementioned war serves as the backdrop to the story being told in this drama series, centering on its main protagonist, Rahman Iskander (played by both Norman Ishak and Hasnul Rahmat) and how he was separated from his Bosnian wife Zana (played by Alisa Brkic and Olivera Blazevic) when the war broke out in Sarajevo where he was based. He was tortured at the hands of the Serbs but was eventually released and returned back to Singapore after being found and rescued by the United Nations‘ peacekeeping force. He went on to rebuild his life and eventually got married to supermodel Ramona (played by Rima Melati Adams), but he continues to pine and yearn for his lost love, slipping into depression as a result. Well that’s the gist of the story that I can relate to you having watched the brief 70-minute screening on the gala premiere night where a bulk of the scenes shown to the audience were from the first three episodes.

Director Faisal Ishak relating to the audience some of the challenges faced during the filming. With him are Executive Producers, Safiyuddin Razif and Nusaibah Abdul Rahim

What I am impressed about the drama series are the breathtaking scenery of Sarajevo, the cinematography, the visual quality of the series which resembles more like a movie than a drama series and of course the pace of how the storyline is being told, which feels just about right. If there are some shortcomings or minor lackings, I would have to say, the CGI effects could have been done much better. But we all know to implement CGI-effects into a production is not cheap and will probably take several production or animation houses to get it right. I think with the budget that they were working at, it should be applauded that a local production house was able to achieve the kind of positive qualities that I mentioned at the start of this paragraph. The gala screening event also had several sections of displays showcasing some of the props used in the drama production as well as serving Bosnian delicacies to go along with the main spread. Truly they pulled all the stops for us to immerse ourselves into the drama series even before it was shown proper on television.

One for the album with the main cast, writer, director, executive producers, soundtrack singer, hosts of the event and new Mediacorp Head Malay Audience & Eaglevision, Community and Content Groups, Mdm. Sabariah Ramilan (centre)…

Some of my closest friends who know my character and how much I appreciate beauty might say I would have been smittened by Amelia Henderson. They might probably be right, having seen and talked to her up close and personal that night, but they are far from the truth actually. The one who caught my eyes the most with her innocence and honesty in delivering her lines was none other than young Bella Putri, the child star who is making her acting debut in this drama series, her first foray in the local Malay entertainment scene, having done several commercial ads and voiceovers for other productions. One could easily hear the audience warming to her with sighs of “Awwww…” every time she came onscreen to speak, moreso when there was a particular scene where she was scolded by her uncle Rahman for dropping his prized painting on the floor. I think this little girl’s career is just about to get a major upturn henceforth and we’ll probably be seeing more of her on television. Try looking out for the commercial advertisement on Changi Airport‘s Terminal 4 and you’ll see this cute little one prancing around in the trailer.

Marcell singing the official soundtrack titled “Cinta Tersembunyi“…

The gala screening of “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” was not complete without the presence of Indonesian heart-throb and soul crooner Marcell Siahaan, the singer of its soundtrack titled “Cinta Tersembunyi“. It’s like a nice package when you get Rima Melati to act in the drama series, you complete it by involving her husband to compose and sing the soundtrack to the series as well. And what a lovely composition the song is! I instantly fell in love with the song and as I watched the scenes unfolding during the screening as well as the first two episodes that have already been aired, I began to understand the meaning of its lyrics better. I won’t be surprised if this song is to be nominated in 2021‘s Pesta Perdana for Best Soundtrack. For the record, “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” airs every Wednesday evenings at 9:30pm on Mediacorp Suria.  Would just like to say well done to the whole production team at Poetry in Motion and let’s hope they will produce more good programmes like this! Thank you too Mediacorp Suria for inviting yours truly to the gala premiere screening! 🙂

Snapshots of “Hilang Kasih Di Sarajevo” Gala Premiere Screening

 

Pesta Perdana 13 Snapshots

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It has been a fortnight since Pesta Perdana 13 was upon us. A lot of post-event thoughts and comments were made on the winners or what happened during the event itself, some of which have been downright vile and preposterous in my opinion, but that is something I will discuss on another day. I am still in the midst of editing the 3400-odd photographs I snapped that night but just to satiate your wait, I’ll be sharing selected photographs I took during the pre-event cocktail reception, during commercial breaks as well as during the post-event reception in this entry. Hope this will be a good filler before I share my after-thoughts… 🙂

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Episode 4 Recap…

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From left: Den Sabari, Dyn Norahim, Fadhlur Rahman, Dalina Jaapar, A. B. Shaik, Huda Ali, Siti Hajar Gani and Azlin Ali

Episode 4 of the second edition of the Te:RaSeh! series saw the Mats pulling away and giving themselves a healthy lead over the Minahs. As of now, the scoreline reads 3-1 in favour of the Mats. I had expected the Minahs to equalise the scoreline or at least close the points gap between them and the men, but two moments of folly during the quiz round sealed their fate. But it was not at all a one-sided affair. The ladies put up an extremely commendable fight and just looking at the intensity displayed by Azlin Ali, the celebrity-of-the-match, that night was enough to show they meant business. But alas it was not to be. The guys I observed, did not put up much of a sweat and seemed confident at their chances of winning. Though it has to be said, the first round was questionable cos nobody penalised them for going back again to take more bottles to hit. I think they should have been penalised for that round.

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Huda Ali put up a valiant fight in the final face-off, but husband Den Sabari‘s experience in Dikir Barat won the battle…

In a quirky twist, the Mats were made to be cheerleaders and the Minahs took on the roles of Muay Thai fighters, a role-reversal when we are accustomed to seeing males as perennial fighters and females as cheerleaders. I truly enjoyed the final face-off round when the husband and wife team of Den Sabari and Huda Ali squared off against the other. Also when they were at Warna 94.2FM‘s conty for the post-show interview, their chemistry and bouncing off one another in their replies made for a very lively and enjoyable session with the Malam 2 Mat hosts Hafeez Glamour and Dyn Norahim. But will the Mats pull further away tonight or will the Minahs close the gap that seems to be widening??? For competition’s sake, I hope that the Minahs can close the gap as it would no longer be fun watching the Mats “bullying” them all the way till the Finals

Launch of Dunia Sinema Channel

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I’ve gotta admit, I’ve had a nice three week break since the last entry. I’ve managed to catch up on a lot of me time, with family and friends. So much so that laziness had crept in and I was beginning to delay this particular entry that I’m about to embark on. I think two weeks since the event launch of the Dunia Sinema channel on Starhub TV is long enough and I cannot delay any longer since Pesta Perdana 12 is just less than a fortnight away. Speaking of Pesta Perdana 12, I will be posting an entry on the nomination list pretty soon, but I’m sure some of you might already known or have seen it on your respective social media accounts. Hand to heart I have not been keeping myself abreast and don’t even know who is nominated in which category, which shows how much I have switched myself off from the local entertainment scene since the Ratu competition ended.

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Ms. Sandie Lee and Major (Hon) David Teo officially launched the Dunia Sinema channel…

Touching on the topic of Ratu, well the launch of the Dunia Sinema channel held at Fairmont Hotel on 2nd February 2013 felt like a reunion of sorts all over again, as at least ten of the contestants attended the event hosted by Metrowealth International Group (MIG). Familiar up-and-coming local actors and actresses like Erwin Shah Dawson, Lydia Izzati, Atikah Suhaime and Erni Aidil also graced the occasion with their presence. Even radio personality Hafeez Glamour, came to support the launch. Prior to the event, a closed-door auditioning session was being held next door to the event venue. It was the perfect opportunity for the Ratu contestants and our up-and-coming acts to show their potential and perhaps be the next face to be featured by MIG in their upcoming productions, be it on the silver screens or for television viewing. At a time where some bigwig in the scene across the Causeway is making all the negative noises about welcoming acts from outside their country, MIG should be applauded for welcoming them with open arms.

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The Ratu contestants with Hafeez Glamour and Major (Hon) David Teo

Anyway, back to the topic of the Dunia Sinema channel. MIG has been entrusted to manage the newly-launched channel, where there is a collection of Malay films produced by them and can be viewed through this collaboration with Starhub TV. The high demand for Malay films in Singapore in recent years, convinced Starhub and MIG to create this channel. This collaboration hopes to trigger a new history in the world of broadcasting, in turn further strengthening bilateral relations between Singapore and Malaysia, particularly in the field of publishing. Subscribers to the channel (Channel 120) can enjoy watching ten films of different genres every month at a flat rate of S$8.56 per month. The launch of the Dunia Sinema channel was inaugurated by Major (Hon) David Teo, CEO of MIG and Ms. Sandie Lee, Vice President for Content Services, Starhub TV.

Ratu Suria Grand Finals Review…

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I purposely post this entry a week after the competition series ended for the fact that I do not foresee much entries that I will be making between now and March, so a little breather is more than welcome. Afterall, I have been quite diligent with my weekly reviews over the course of the competition. I know most of you who are not linked to me via social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram would not see the photographs I snapped, unless you follow the contestants themselves. So fret not, because this penultimate review on Mediacorp Suria‘s inaugural beauty-cum-talent search competition will have hundreds of them featured, even more than what I normally upload for your viewing pleasure. So where do I begin??? With the choice of the winner, Fatin Amira, of course!!!

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Like the first episode, Sezairi Sezali opened the show, this time performing Dato’ Sheila Majid‘s “Ratu“…

Fatin‘s coronation as the first winner of Ratu was in truth, no surprise to yours truly, and I’m sure to regular viewers of the series as well. She has been very consistent since Episode 4, has a very strong grasp and understanding of the Malay language, confident, composed and dare I say, a certain air of nonchalance which sets her apart from her fellow competitors. I did not say explicitly who were my favourites to win but along with Wida Alisa, both of them were my personal two choices to win the competition, with no disrespect to the other finalists, even though physical beauty-wise, the others had the edge. It was a matter of who was to blink or make that odd mistake that would sway the odds against their favour. I did say in my preview of the Grand Finals, the one who would win would be the one who maintained their poise and composure and not be let down by small mistakes and this was true, as Fatin aced almost every segment that night.

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Fauzie Laily and Marina Yusoff‘s onstage chemistry was one of the plus points of the competition series…

I saw several comments online from sour grapes who questioned the choice of anointing Fatin as the winner as she is not as pretty as some of her fellow contestants. The aim of this competition was not merely to choose who is the most good-looking or who is the most popular. The aim was to choose an all-round winner, someone who is not only good-looking but a person of holistic substance. She has to be intelligent and media savvy, confident in the way she carries herself and have a certain degree of raw potential that could be polished in time to come as a television personality in hosting or acting. In Fatin Amira, I have no doubt that she was the right choice by the judges who carried the heavy responsibility of choosing a winner who could be someone we can be proud of in time to come – a beauty with brains. Above all, I am convinced that Fatin is ready to face the media across the Causeway, whom we all know are more harsh than our own and will always be ready to find faults and not give an inch, what more a yard.

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The Top 6 Finalists!!!

Why I said I am convinced, is how consistent and calm she has been at answering questions throughout the competition. Even when she was interviewed by Hafeez Glamour in his Go Glam radio programme the day after her win, she answered several difficult questions with ease, even those questions that were posed to her fellow finalists during the Grand Finals itself. When she appeared a second time during Dzar Ismail and Nity Baizura‘s Personality Zoom segment last Friday, I posed a challenging question on how she would react if the President of Seniman were to question her credibility and presence in their scene. Her answer suitably impressed me, saying that she is new and will no doubt learn from the people she is working with to improve on her flaws. Opportunities are also available everywhere for people to work and add value to a certain industry, no matter which country they are working at. She ended by saying that people should just widen their mentality and not be hampered by selfish interests. No doubt she is ready and feisty, willing to face the challenges in store.

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The panel of judges sharing a laugh when Aaron Aziz (hidden) made his point across…

I will not put down Wida Alisa for her gaffe that night. I think enough of criticisms online have been hurled at her and I am sure she did not mean what she said on purpose. We all make mistakes, it was just unfortunate that such an error was made on live television, under such pressure-cooker situations. Most of those who have hurled their criticisms are the same people who will equally freeze or make mistakes themselves if they swapped shoes with her. It is not easy to look pretty and answer random questions thrown at you. What more to translate in Malay when we think daily in English. Likewise there was not much wrong with Wan Anisah‘s final answers, other than the fact that it did not resonate with our community and culture. The prerogative was hers to answer as best she could and one that suited her personal interests and personality. No one should put her down for her honesty, at least she did not lie her way just to score points with the judges.

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The suave Awi Rafael performing “Bila Aku Jatuh Cinta“, his second hit single after “Pulanglah“…

It was also good that the finalists were put through a short acting segment to suss their potential in this particular area, since they will after all, go on to star in a movie produced by Metrowealth International Group. They are raw as evident from their voice intonation and static delivery, having no prior background before this, hence one cannot expect a flawless performance. Even most new actors and actresses in Malaysian movies have been panned as wooden before, but they built on the opportunities given to them and improved over the years. Likewise the same can be expected from our Top 3, with Fatin Amira and Wan Anisah the better performers that night in the acting skit they were involved in. Even though the camera was not focused on them, what impressed me was they kept the scene flowing with their facial and body expressions. For that, we have to thank the likes of Mastura Ahmad, Zaidi Ibrahim and Seriwahyuni Jaes for imparting useful acting knowledge to the girls.

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Fatin Amira, the deserving winner of Ratu!!!

Ratu has been a relative success in my opinion, no matter what the critics might say. Critics are always willing to give their piece of mind at anything and everything, but almost always failing to give substantial alternatives and suggestions on how to better the show. This is the first of its kind which Mediacorp Suria has embarked upon, and naturally, glitches are to be expected. Definitely the producers will do a review on how they can better the next edition or if there is another one of its kind, but for the males instead. This is a new venture on uncharted waters, which no matter the storm they faced, at the end of the day, the ship still reached its harbour safe and sound, if I were to put it in such analogy. The opportunity and experience given to up-and-coming beauties was definitely enriching for all the contestants and I am sure they came out better and confident ladies. This was evident in their catwalk during the Grand Finals. Oh how beautiful all sixteen of them looked, especially the opening segment and one wondered why were they not dolled up like that since the first episode???

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Group photo of the contestants, judges, hosts and guests-of-honour after the show ended…

It has been fun covering the competition over 61 days, from the time the media conference was called to introduce the sixteen of them, right down to the Grand Finals. I gained sixteen new friends as a result, all charming and sweet ladies and I wish nothing but the best to all of them on their subsequent endeavours henceforth. If they still harbour hopes on entering the entertainment industry, then I suggest that they sign up with the various local performing arts / theatre groups to hone their craft, learn the ropes from experienced hands and come back for another shot when another reality competition comes around. It does not have to be in acting, because I know some have talents in dance or having the voice for hosting. Do not limit themselves to just acting because with their respective strengths, they can expand and try viable alternative avenues. Anything is possible. To Fatin Amira, congratulations once again on being crowned the first ever winner of Ratu in Mediacorp Suria‘s history!!! I do look forward to seeing her grace our television and silver screens very soon!!!