Yes I know this is stale news by now and it’s more than a month since this prestigious awards show was televised live on our screens. This particular post was supposed to be up a few days after Pesta Perdana 14 had ended. Somehow I was faced with a few personal obstacles and challenges and focused on editing other photographs of the event that I shared on my own personal social media accounts. I was also involved with the coverage of the inaugural Singapore Modest Fashion Weekend over the recent Good Friday weekend. All that took a considerable amount of time, not to mention juggling daddy duties with the children’s examinations happening as I speak, till the end of this week.
So I really apologise if April 2017 had been an extremely quiet month on this domain or if you had entered just to view photographs of Pesta Perdana. I did not even have time to cover the weekly TeRaSeh programme, since I was active covering it during its first two editions, nor last weekend’s Projek Kasih charity show. Like past editions of the prestigious awards show, I will not make any reviews but just list the winners and photographs of their winning speeches. Hope this will kickstart a series of posts that I have postponed over the weeks due to my erratic schedule. Congratulations once again to all the deserving winners at Pesta Perdana 14!!!
Pesta Perdana 14 Award Recipients
Beto Kusyairi – Kisah Tok Kadi
Pelakon Lelaki Terbaik dalam Watak Utama – Drama Bersiri
(Best Actor in a Leading Role – Drama Series)
Ariati Tyeb Papar – Kemelut
Pelakon Wanita Terbaik dalam Watak Utama – Drama Bersiri
(Best Actress in a Leading Role – Drama Series)
Sufian Ahmad – Kisah Tok Kadi
Pelakon Lelaki Terbaik dalam Watak Pembantu – Drama Bersiri
(Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama Series)
Mastura Ahmad – Interns Sr. 1
Pelakon Wanita Terbaik dalam Watak Pembantu – Drama Bersiri
(Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama Series)
Pelakon Terbaik dalam Watak Komedi
(Best Actor/Actress in a Comedy Role)
Izzat Md Yusoff – Dua Wajah
Pelakon Lelaki Terbaik dalam Watak Utama – Drama Khas / Antologi
(Best Actor in a Leading Role – Drama Special / Anthology)
Dimensi Ke-4 Sr. 3
Pelakon Lelaki Terbaik dalam Watak Pembantu – Drama Khas / Antologi
(Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama Special / Anthology)
Siti Aishah Ahmad – Suara Takbir
Pelakon Lelaki Terbaik dalam Watak Pembantu – Drama Khas / Antologi
(Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama Special / Anthology)
Norsiah Ramly – Anakku Duniaku
Pelakon Wanita Terbaik dalam Watak Pembantu – Drama Khas / Antologi
(Best Actress a Supporting Role – Drama Special / Anthology)
Fazlyna Aziz – Kisah Tok Kadi
Pelakon Harapan Terbaik / (Most Promising Actor/Actress)
Khairudin Samsudin – Show Malam Ini
Pengacara Terbaik – Hiburan / (Best Host – Variety)
Rilla Melati – Rudy & Rilla Sr. 6
Pengacara Terbaik – Informasi / (Best Host – Info-Ed)
Freda Mel – Hari Raya Haji… Lagi
Bintang Cilik Terbaik / (Best Young Star)
Mediacorp Eaglevision – Aduh… Bibikku!
Drama Terbaik / (Best Drama Series)
Papahan Films – Anak Bulan
Drama Khas Terbaik / (Best Drama Special)
Filmat 36 – Kembara Kasih Sr. 2
Rancangan Informasi Terbaik / (Best Info-Ed Programme)
M. Raihan Halim – Anak Bulan
Arahan Terbaik – Drama / (Best Directing – Drama)
Skrip Terbaik – Drama / (Best Writing – Drama)
Fadila Abdul Wahid & Samri Badi – Anugerah Planet Muzik 2016
Arahan Terbaik – Hiburan / (Best Directing – Variety)
Linilidia Abdul Hamid – Projek Kasih 2015
Skrip Terbaik – Hiburan / (Best Writing – Variety)
Mediacorp Eaglevision – Anugerah Skrin 2016
Rancangan Hiburan Terbaik / (Best Variety Series)
Sinar Lebaran 2016
Rancangan Hiburan Khas Terbaik / (Best Variety Special)
Ruzaini – Anak Bulan
Suntingan Terbaik – Drama / (Best Editing – Drama)
Mimi Jasmine – Bunga Tanjong
Reka Imej Terbaik / (Best Image & Styling)
Jiwa Juara – Saga (Mediacorp Eaglevision)
Composer & Lyricist: Reyza Hamizan, Singer: Iskandar Ismail
Lagu Tema Terbaik (Best Theme Song)
Kisah Tok Kadi – Thinkplate
Rancangan Paling Popular / (Most PopularProgramme)
Personaliti Lelaki Paling Popular / (Most Popular Male Personality)
Personaliti Wanita Paling Popular / (Most Popular Female Personality)
Anugerah Perdana Emas
Nama Saya Kassim Selamat Sr 2 (Dua M)
Rancangan Kanak-Kanak Terbaik (Best Children’s Programme)
Ole Ole Temasya Sr 1 (Dzulkifli Sungit)
Skrip Terbaik – Informasi (Best Writing – Info-Ed)
Kasih Tiana – Noorman Noordin
Videografi Terbaik – Drama (Best Videography – Drama)
P.I.Z (B.O.S Pictures)
Desain Pembukaan Terbaik (Best Opening Title Design)
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.
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“.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Before I embark on this entry, I would like to apologise first and foremost to the organisers and good people of Gentarasa 2015 for this belated promo entry, as personal and family matters over the past three weeks or so have prevented me from posting it up. Oh and I doubt I would publish my post-Pesta Perdana thoughts anyway as the euphoria and backbiting have fizzled out within a week or two after the event. I’ll probably bring it up if some of those occurrences were to rear their ugly heads once again in the next edition. Anyway, I could have just kept quiet till the event ends this Saturday 30th May 2015, but I felt it will not be fair, especially since my old friend, Izzat Yusoff, had kindly invited me to the media preview event held at Goodman Arts Centre on 6th May 2015. So here I am with this entry and hoping that it will help in some way, entice you reading this to attend this much awaited annual event.
To be honest, I have never once attended a Gentarasa event in my lifetime, as the dates always fall on some prior engagement or commitment that I have planned or confirmed earlier. This year once again, is no different with much regrets, even though I thought I would be able to make it. Now in its fourteenth year, Gentarasa 2015 promises to be “The Production of the Year” as it commemorates the SG50 celebrations. This year Gentarasa will be a musical showcase that brings with it the question of “Nak Ke Mana” (Where Are We Going). It is an apt question to ask of our community, looking back on our past 50 years of nation-building, the difficulties and hardships faced and the direction that we are currently heading in the years to come.
Gentarasa 2015 depicts the story of the struggles of a group of youths, who in a bid to fulfill a project, reflect on the contributions and progress of the Malay community since Singapore‘s independence and reflect the unified Singapore Spirit of care, concern and support, especially in times of difficulties. This year, Gentarasa is directed and scripted by Haryani Othman, no stranger to our local Malay entertainment scene. She is ably assisted by producer Firdaus Faisal, artistic director Izzat Yusoff, head choreographer Osman Hamid and composer Zubir Abdullah. If I am not mistaken, all the songs featured in this year’s showcase are all fresh and original compositions from our well respected composer. No mean feat having to conceptualise and compose within a short time frame.
Maybe for those of you who have not been introduced to nor immersed into Gentarasa just like me, well here’s a bit of introductory summary for you. This annual show was initiated by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and Adviser to MESRA (People’s Association’s Malay Activity Executive Committees Council), in 2002, to foster awareness and appreciation of Malay culture in our multi-racial society. This arts showcase also acts as a platform for the Malay performing groups at the various community clubs to come together and showcase their talent in Malay performing arts. Gentarasa literally means “Chimes of Expression” and it translates the many voices of expressions from the heart of the Malay community. These voices reverberate from the vast talents that exist in the community activity groups in the hopes to raise awareness and appreciation of the Malay culture, thus elevating and developing the standard of Malay cultural groups.
The main committee members of Gentarasa 2015 – (from left): Omar Ismail (Chairman of MESRA), Osman Hamid (Head Choreographer), Ramlan Rasidi (Organising Chairman of Gentarasa 2015), Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim (MESRA Adviser), Izzat Yusoff (Artistic Director), Zubir Abdullah (Composer) and Firdaus Faisal (Producer)…
I watched with much interest and intrigue during the media preview event. Even though it was just a ten to fifteen minutes preview of some of the songs and acting segments that will be featured this Saturday, I applaud all the performers for giving their all. Most of them I believe, are not full-time actors or performers, but their professionalism and eagerness to entertain those who attended the preview event was very much evident and shone like a beacon. For their sake, I really really hope you can set aside some time this Saturday to attend Gentarasa 2015 at the NUS University Cultural Centre for either the matinee show at 2pm or the gala show at 8pm. They deserved to be watched and appreciated for the amount of hard work and time sacrificed to bring you a good show. I wish everyone involved in Gentarasa all the best for this Saturday‘s event…
(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)
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
Episode 3 of Te:RaSeh! 2.0 last Tuesday (22 April 2014) saw the Mats seizing the initiative to take the overall lead against the Minahs. Even though the Mats triumphed by about 70 points against their counterparts. In truth, the challenge from both camps was close and hard-fought, separated only by the final face-off (Boria) where the Mats went one better through the substance of their lyrics, that was in line with the night’s theme (Malay Icons). In my corresponding entry last week, I did say to expect the likes of Badang, Mahsuri, Munshi Abdullah etc. but some of those are more associated to Malay Folklore / Historical Figures. So I stand corrected that night when “Jeffrydin” (DJ KC), “Najip Ali” (Taufiq Salleh), “Sudirman” (Izzat Yusoff), “Rahimah Rahim” (Suriani Kassim), “Dato’ Sharifah Aini” (Nona Kirana) and “Anita Sarawak” (Sarah Aqilah) emerged from the back.
Personally I feel that the theme of the night should have been called “Malay Entertainment Icons” instead, since there were also “Dato’ M. Daud Kilau” (Khairudin Samsudin), “Ramlah Ram” (Dalina Jaapar), “Dato’ Ramli Sarip” (A B Shaik) and “Ziana Zain” (Nity Baizura). The term “Icons” is quite broad-based as we do have successful Malay figures in different fields and industries, icons in their own rights. Sarah Aqilah rightfully won her title for (Wo)Man-of-the-Match. She impersonated Anita Sarawak down to a T – from the pouts, the leg-swinging, the batting of the eyelids, a worthy winner even if her team came up short. I am expecting another close battle tonight when Episode 4 beckons. It is extremely interesting to see the husband-and-wife team of Huda Ali and Den Sabari squaring off against one another and if there will be sparks as a result. Well we just have to wait and see. 8:30pm, only on Mediacorp Suria…
After the euphoria of the previous week, when the Minahs claimed the first scalp in the very first episode of Te:RaSeh! 2.0, it was the Mats‘ turn this time to turn the tables, equalise so elegantly and bring the score to one win apiece. In truth, the win was never in doubt, no disrespect to the ladies, but I felt that with Suzairhe Sumari and Shahrin Azhar in the Mats‘ corner, a win for the guys seemed like a formality. This is not to belittle the ladies (Aura Shai, Mariam Mas’od and Nurul Nabila), but I did say in my previous recap that there is a certain distinct advantage for the men when the even weeks beckon, with regards to the final face-off (Dikir Barat). Based on last year’s edition, I remember Suzairhe coming up trumps, hence why I felt that this time, it would be no different.
The theme for the second episode was “Filem-Filem Klasik” (Classical Films), which seemed to suggest why we had Singapore‘s P. Ramlee impersonator, Shafii Hamzah, as the guest jury of the night. Amongst the many characters potrayed that night, I agree with the judges that Suzairhe deserved to be crowned Man-of-the-Match for his successful impersonation of Kassim Selamat, one of the late Allahyarham P. Ramlee‘s endearing characters from the movie “Ibu Mertuaku“. Even though the guys won by a landslide, the ladies did not put up a feeble attempt and tried to go toe to toe with their counterparts. But I believe the segment that brought them down and somewhat demoralised them was the charades segment. Even the guys claimed afterwards that that segment was rather tricky and that they were a little unsure. They just guessed wildly the dialogues from popular films (which were supposed to be the answers), whatever came to mind.
Post-show, I had the honour of joining Suzairhe and Nurul Nabila at Warna 94.2FM‘s conty studio for their post-show interview. I believe this will be a weekly routine for the next eight weeks of the competition, whereby the Man-of-the-Match, as well as his or her counterpart (one representative from each team), would go live on Malam 2 Mat with the wacky duo Dyn Norahim and Hafeez Glamour. Last week, Fauzie Laily and Nurul Aini were the ones who were up for the live interview session. We had loads of fun during the hour-long interview session, listening to Suzairhe reminiscing his time as a part-time radio presenter with RIA 89.7FM back in the 90s and Nurul Nabila describing her experience working with Sharnaaz Ahmad in last year’s Hari Raya telemovie “Cinta Ramadan“, amongst other things shared live on air.
This coming Tuesday (22 April 2014), the Mats will be represented by DJ KC, Taufiq Salleh and Izzat Yusoff, whereas the Minahs will be represented by Nona Kirana, Sarah Aqilah and Suriani Kassim. The theme for the week will be “Malay Icons“. Expect characters like Badang, Hang Tuah, Munshi Abdullah and Mahsuri to be possibly amongst those that will be portrayed. As for the guest celebrity DJ who will join Nity Baizura and Fiza O at RIA 89.7FM‘s conty studio, Tak2ut‘s Ashmi Roslan will be doing the honours of assisting both teams during the quiz segment. I’m expecting a closer challenge this time round since Boria will make its return and with the artistes seemingly on equal footing, as they are not quite accustomed to it. Till then…