Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ayam Fared & Pada Sebuah Ketentuan

Today I am highlighting  an interview I did  Ayam Fared in 2011 and the story appeared in the sun newspaper on June 1, 2011 
Here is the article 

Headline: Voice Of Dissent  
By Bissme S 

Ayam Fared is not one to keep his thoughts to himself. In his second book, Pada Sebuah Ketentuan (It is Fated), he lashes out his anger and pours out his sadness and disappointment about the society he lives in.    
“Many of us prefer to close our eyes to the wrongdoings that take place in our society,” says the author, who is also a theatre artiste and an activist and prefers to be known by his assumed name, Ayam Fared.
“We don’t want to stick our necks out and jeopardise our comfortable life to right a wrong. We’re constantly living in fear. We’re selfish and we only think about ourselves.
“But what is the meaning of life if we don’t take risks and try to make the society that we live in a better place?” 
Pada Sebuah Ketentuan covers a series of poems and short notes, with some witty and sarcastic recollections. It follows in the same vein of his first book, Stabil, where he also sounds out his thoughts about life and society.
But in Pada Sebuah Ketentuan, Ayam gets more personal and inward-looking. He questions about the roads he has chosen to take in life.
He finds himself asking the question: “Should I stay in this line and continue with what I am doing. Or should I just quit.”
He adds: “I have still not found the answer to that question. But writing this book has given me some kind of motivation to stay stronger.”
In a lighter note, Ayam also lets loose with some humour in the book.
One of the gems in Pada Sebuah Ketentuan centres on a conversation he has with a pirate DVD seller who, surprisingly, prefers to watch movies in the cinemas.
Another anecdote tells of two girls who want to borrow Ayam’s clothes for a TV shoot. It turns out that they are playing beggars and his clothes, according to them, are just right! 
Another classic gem involves an incident that takes place at Ayam’s cousin’s wedding.
An uncle pesters him to get married, and Ayam tells his uncle that since he is dead against the monarchy system, he has no intentions of becoming ‘king for a day’ (the groom in a Malay wedding is often called ‘raja sehari’).
Despite these amusing anecdotes, Ayam has pulled no punches in the bold statements he makes in the book about life and society in general.
He openly writes about experimenting with weed and whisky. Such episodes have been included in the book because he wanted to show that not all who smoke weed and drink whisky are bad people.
“I don’t want to be a hypocrite and paint a false picture of my life,” he says, adding that life is not always black and white.
“It’s very narrow-minded when people judge you bad just because you consume alcohol. There are worse things in the work.
“Life is not that simple. People who divide their lives into black and white are wasting their lives away. I want people to realise this and celebrate the multi-colours that exist in our lives.”
Yet, he points out that society tends to stereotype artistes like him with the notion that they cannot write if they are sober.
“Well they are wrong,” he states. “I wrote this book when I was sober.”
However, not everyone can digest the frankness in Pada Sebuah Ketentuan and some may accuse Ayam of courting controvery.
“I write not because I want to become famous,” says Ayam. “I write because I want to express my emotions and vent out my frustrations.
“Even if nobody wants to publish my books, I’ll still write and I’ll find other ways to get my work read. Perhaps, I’ll resort to Facebook.”
Going against the mainstream seems to be in his nature. Even the cover of this book smacks of controversy. It has a picture of him in the nude looking up.
He explains: “I am just looking up at the sky and waiting for God to come down and make everything okay.”
Despite the labels he has been given, Ayam insists: “I’ve never called myself an artiste, activist or an author. Those words are just labels to me.  Maybe, it’s fated that I walk this line (being an artiste).
“My intuition always tells me that if you follow the road that the majority has chosen, then the risk of being on the wrong road is very high.
“The majority always has the power and ultimately, we know power corrupts. I would rather be standing on the outside.” 

The cover of Ayam's Book 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Rosyam Nor & Balistik

Today the sun highlighted one of  interview with Malaysian actor Rosyam Nor who is acting and producing a movie called Balistik. Below is the interview 

Headline An age-old question
BY Bissme S 

In 2006, actor Rosyam Nor took a bold step in producing his first film, Castello. It became a hit, collecting RM2.8 million at the box office. Seven years on, he has come out with his second production – Balistik – under RK Screen and Asia Tropical Films. The movie will open on Jan 9 in 91 cinemas including those in Singapore and Brunei.  
Produced at a budget of RM2.5 million, Balistik is directed by Silver and stars Rosyam,  Rita Rudaini and Adi Putra as Saga, Salina and Nizam respectively.
Saga and Salina fall in love, marry and have a son, all the while unaware that their good friend, Nizam, has been secretly in love with Salina.When Saga becomes a hired killer, Salina urges him to repent but in one of their intense arguments, he pushes her down the stairs, takes their baby and goes into hiding.
Six years later, Saga learns that Salina has survived the fall and has since married Nizam, who is now a police inspector out to apprehend Saga at all cost.
In a recent exclusive interview with theSun, Rosyam, 46, talks about his latest movie and why veteran actors here do not enjoy the same respect and job security as their counterparts in Hollywood and even Bollywood.

* What can we expect from Balistik?  

“Love, tears and lots of action. I brought in a stunt coordinator from Hong Kong to handle the action scenes in the film. I wanted the stunt scenes in this movie to look different from other Malay movies. 
"I have also included well-known Malaysian Chinese entertainers such as Gan Mei Yen, Jack Lim and Jason Phang. I’m hoping they will lure in the Chinese audience to watch my film.”

* You have not appeared in many films in the last few years. Why is that?

“Our film industry is youth-oriented and producers have the habit of giving older actors like myself insignificant roles where we have nothing much to do.
“I do not want to accept such roles. I only want to play roles that excite me. I have the luxury to be choosy [about what roles to take] as acting is not my bread and butter. I also produce TV dramas.
“Veteran actors in Hollywood like Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep are still playing meaty roles. Why can’t the same thing be applied here?”   

* Do you think audiences here would want to see an older actor in a leading role?

“Yes, why not? Older actors in Hollywood from Sylvester Stallone to Bruce Willis are still pulling in the crowd. In Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth, who are pushing 70, are still playing lead roles.   
“In February, I will be a grandfather. At 47, I’m probably the youngest grandfather in Malaysia! I’m not afraid of getting old.  The only thing is that I must look after myself well. I do look good for my age though. This is because I watch my diet.
“So I must also choose my roles carefully, befitting my physique and age.
“In four years’ time, I will turn 50 and  my dream is to play a lead role in a movie when I’m 50. I am determined to make this dream come true.”

* Why do you think audiences accept older Hollywood and Bollywood actors as the lead but not Malaysian?

“Foreign actors do not act in any other medium except in films. You rarely see Meryl Streep or Robert DeNiro in TV shows. If you are a big fan of these actors, you have no choice but to go to the cinema and catch them in their movies.  
“Our older actors, however, often appear in television shows. Their fans do not feel the need to go to the cinemas to see them.
“In the last two years, I have cut down on my television appearances. I am trying to create a hunger for my fans to watch my films in the cinemas.”     

What is your next movie?

“It is a sweet love story between a mute guy and a blind girl entitled Isyarat Cinta. Adi Putra and Liyana Jasmay will be playing the lead roles. The movie will open in cinemas in June next year.”

Rosyam Nor plays a hired killer 

Rita Rudaini  is torn between loving two men

Adi Putra is a man torn between his duty and his friend
The poster of the film

A scene from Balistik : Rosyam Nor as a hired killer ..

A scene from Balistik  

A scene from Balistik - Expect love, tears and action 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Kolumpo opens the cinema today. I have watched the film and I really enjoyed the film.  There was never a boring moment... I would suggest people to catch  the film. The film simply proves Malaysian film makers  can tell  good stories that touches your heart.  Any way I had opportunity to interview the cast and crew of the film and the story appeared in the sun newspaper today . Here is the full article   

Suggested : A Trio Of Heartfelt Tales 

THREE touching stories by three directors which show the plight and dilemma of three people caught in situations that are beyond their control – that is what you get in Kolumpo.
The combined feature cleverly showcases a multiple of languages spoken in this country such as Bahasa Malaysia,Cantonese, Tamil and English all in the one  film.
Otto Films Sdn Bhd recently held a special screening of Kolumpo for the benefit of media and invited guests which garnered quite a lot of positive response. Opening in cinemas today, Kolumpo talks about the hopes, dreams and love of three individuals set in the backdrop of city life, each separately helmed by three directors – Bront Palarae, Rozi Izma and Sheikh Munasar. 
In Bront’s piece, an Indian immigrant Rahul (played by Azad Jazmin) arrives in Kuala Lumpur only to discover that the company that has offered him a job has gone out of business.
A restaurant owner listens to his plight and then decides to help him out. But the owner has his own agenda – he wants Rahul to work at his restaurant. And so, Rahul begins his new life as an illegal immigrant.
“Immigrants are a part of our city now,” says Bront, an actor who has directed short films in the past. 
“They came to this city with big dreams only to find disappointments. People do not want to listen to their kind of story because it’s not a success story.”
Bront will next helm a movie entitled Sabotage – on how the Chinese are recruited to infiltrate a communist party with the aim of turning those commandos into normal citizens. He hinted the film will be along the lines of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.
The second story by Rozi is about Gienna (Nell Ng), a Chinese woman in her 30s, who has mother issues but finds herself spending an afternoon helping a stranger, an old Malay makcik
named Nek Wok (Ruminah Sidek) find her house.The problem is that Nek Wok cannot remember where she stays. 
Rozi was not available for comment earlier but her lead actress, Ng, has this to say: “This movie is to show that there is still goodness and good people in our society. The movie gives us hope.”
 Ng who gave wonderful performances, credits her co- star actress Ruminah, for helping her. “She is so easy to work with and she is always sharing her knowledge with me.”
Sheikh Munasar’s piece centres on the shy Hafidd (Amirul Ariff) who meets a pretty stranger (Sharifah Amani) after missing the last train home. For someone who has never had a date in his life, this is a life-defining moment and his only hope of a glimpse of love. Sheikh Munasar hinted that the film, in some way, is a reflection of his life. Ten years ago, he came to Kuala Lumpur from his hometown in Johor Baru to study filmmaking. Like his character, he felt homesick and lonely.
When asked if he met his love at the LRT station, just like in the movie, he laughs and says: “I am not going to tell you that.” 
He says, the next film he is planning to direct will touch on his childhood years. As a child, he used to stay in the government flats called Flat Lumba Kuda in the centre of Johor Baru. 
He says: “The flat has been demolished several years ago. But the place will always hold a special place in my heart. It is the place where I learned about life.”

Bront on the set of Kolumpo .... 

Rozi Isma on the set of Kolumpo 

Sheikh Munasar on the set of Kolumpo 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Afdlin Shauki , Papadom 2 & Sandakan Tears

On Nov 26 the sun ran a story  where I interviewed Afdlin Shauki who talked about his sequel to his hit film Papadom as well as co directing a Hollywood project that

Suggested Headline : The Return Of Undercover Dad

A father's love for his daughter is beyond question and comparison.Comedian and director Afdlin Shauki explores this emotion in the sequel to his hit film Papadom. Although the sequel was completed in 2012, it will only open in cinemas on Dec 12. When Afdlin’s Papadom hit the cinemas in 2009, it became a big hit. The story centred on a widower Saadom (Afdlin) who is over-protective of his daughter Mia (Liyana Jasmay). Feeling stifled, she moves to Kuala Lumpur to pursue a course on film-making.
Without her daughter’s knowledge, Saadom gets himself a job as a gardener in the university where she is studying to keep an eye on her. And the doting dad’s new job created the comedy moments for the movie.
Papadom made a huge impact at the 22th Malaysian Film Festival, grabbing the best film award as well as the best actor and best actress awards for Afdlin and Liyana respectively.
In the sequel, Afdlin and Liyana will reprise their roles as father and daughter. This time, Mia is working as one of the crew members at a film set. Through reliable sources, Saadom learns that three men on the set are interested in Mia and are trying to woo her.
He goes undercover as one of the extras on the set to investigate the men. He wants to make sure that only the best candidate gets to wed Mia. Once again, Saadom finds himself challenged and that makes for truly hilarious and chaotic scenes.In an exclusive interview, Afdlin shares his candid views on the film.

*Some sequels are never as successful as the original film. Are you afraid of that with Papadom 2?

“When I made Papadom, many people had doubts of the movie’s success. Our cinemas were flooded with gangster and ghost movies as the critics believed the audience was not keen on films about
family relationships. But Papadom turned out to be a success. I had invited a test audience to watch Papadom 2 and they liked what they saw.There are more conflicts and dramas in Papadom 2. All I can say is to bring lots of tissues to watch this movie.”

*Tell me what kind of a father are you? Are you anything like your character Saadom in Papadom?

“Like Saadom, I am also a workaholic. My children (he has three daughters, age between three and 14) complain that I do not spend enough time with them. But I work hard because I want to give them a better life. Saadom can be overbearing and overprotective and I am the same.
“In future, my daughters’ boyfriends are going to have a tough time dealing with me. I will scrutinise them like an FBI agent (laughs).”

*Do you prefer to be a comedian in front of the camera or working behind the scene as a director?

“No one wants to see an old actor like me on the screen any more (laughs). The audience are more interested in younger faces. So it is better that I move behind the camera as a director. I have no complaints as I enjoy my work. But there will come a time when no one wants to watch the kind films that I direct. Then I will have to change, again. Perhap by then, I will wear the hat of a producer. And if the time comes again when noone wants to see the kind films that I produce, then I will have to stop being a producer and put my mind into doing something else.”

*What is the next film you will be directing?

“I have two film projects currently in my mind. One is called Angkasawan that is set in a futuristic Malaysia – where we will send a second astronaut to space. There will be some comedy elements in the film.
“My next film may be called Jin Tiger, and it’s a black comedy about a gangster who finds faith, religion and wants to reform. But his gang members try to pull him back into a world of crime.”
All your films have comedy elements.

*Do you have any plans to direct a serious film?

“Yes. Next year, I plan to co-direct an English film called Sandakan Tears with a Hollywood director. Most of the cast and crew are going to be from Hollywood and Australia.The film is loosely based on our history of the so-called Sandakan Death Marches. Australian and British soldiers captured by the Japanese during WWII
were shipped to war camps in Sandakan (Sabah).
“They were tortured and given little food and medical care. Some prisoners were even forced to march through the jungle and as they reached the foot of Mount Kinabalu, the Japanese soldiers
shot and killed them.
“I am also the executive producer of the film and we have plans to distribute the movie, internationally. I believe it is story that the world would love to see.”