Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nam Ron & Lembu

Today I interview Nam Ron who talks about his latest theatre production. The interview was published in the sun today. Here is the full article 

Headline:  25 Years of Nam Ron 
By Bissme S 

Theatre director Nam Ron will be presenting two of his previous plays – Lembu and Matderihkolaperlih – as a compilation for his latest production under his own banner Ayaq Hangat Entertainment. 
Teater Kompilasi Nam Ron Volume 2: Lembu & Matderihkolaperlih will be a 95- minute performance without an interval taking place at Damansara Performing Arts Centre from Dec 24 to 28.
Nam Ron is keeping his finger crossed this production will also enjoy the same success as last year’s Teater Kompilasi Nam Ron Volume 1: Laut Lebih Indah DariBulan, which stars Sofia Jane, Sharifah Amani , Vanidah Imran and Aqasha. That production also played to full houses in Singapore early this year.
In Volume 2, both Lembu and Matderihkolaperlih have been staged a few times before also to rave reviews. While they have different storylines and settings,they tackle the same themes.
“They talk about politics, Malays and gangsterism,” says Nam Ron, who is sharing directing duties with award winning director Ayam Fared on this production.
Lembu is about a cow which is to be slaughtered for a kenduri (feast) for a politician visiting a village. When the animal goes missing, everyone is soon pointing fingers at each other.
The play only features one actress on stage, Ameera Ramlee, playing 10 different characters who narrate the story.  On the basis of Lembu, the 45-year-old director who is also an actor and scriptwriter, says: “I am exploring how politics can influence and
tear apart a society. Society must learn not to let their different political views break them apart.
“Once the election is over and a leader has been chosen, then society must learn to put their difference aside and work as a team under the new leader.”
Meanwhile, Matderihkolaperlih centres on a politician who is caught for corruption and his connection with gangsters. In the lock-up, he narrates his life story to the audience. It’s a story about being abandoned by his father and a bad childhood with his
factory worker mum. When he fought off some gangsters who were terrorising the kampung folk, he became like a godfather to the villagers.
He then fell in love with a prostitute and have her a brothel to run. But he was soon destroyed by a secret that was revealed. Nam Ron will be playing the part of the politician and is supported by Pekin Ibrahim and actress Sara Ali. He reveals the play came about because he felt he was a “lousy actor”.
“I was extremely shy to face the public. I never managed to get into
the skin of my character.”
So, in 2003, he wrote this script as a monologue to break his shynessand force himself to be a better actor.One could say that he has since passed his test.Nam Ron is also not one who puts a lot of importance on the stage sets.
“I never over-decorate my stage,” he says. 
“I want the focus to be on the story, the characters and the performances.
“When the set is bare, you are asking the audience to visualise the setting in their mind. No two people will think alike. The set will look different in everyone’s mind.
“When you decorate the stage, you are feeding the audience what the set should look like. I do not want to feed my audience. I want to spark their imagination.”
When asked the biggest challenge he faces as a Malaysian theatre artiste, he says: “In the past, it was very difficult to get an audience to watch a theatre play. I have to give free tickets to my performances but I still only managed a small crowd.
“Now, the numbers have grown. People are willing to pay to see a theatre performance. But one must remember the number of theatre performances have grown,too. The public have more choices now. It looks like we are still fighting to get people to fill up our seats.”
Nam Ron is already looking to his next project, this time, in films. He is currently writing the script for the second film he will be directing next year called One. Two. Jaga.
“The film tells you that you can never build a successful country on afoundation of corruption.”
This year marks 25 years Nam Ron has been in the entertainment business.
Looking back on his career, he says: “I was self absorbed,restless and angry. I was not happy with whatever I had achieved.
“Even when people liked my shows, I would find fault in them. When my actors forgot their lines during rehearsals, my temper would fly and I would scold them terribly. Now I am more spiritual. I am calmer. I am more accepting of my failures and my
success, my strengths and my weaknesses.”           

Monday, December 15, 2014

Terbaik Dari Langit

The director  Nik Amir and the actor Bront Palarae talks to theSun excitedly about their latest film Terbaik Dari Langit. Today, theSun published their interview. Here is the full story. 

Terbaik Di Langit in the sun newspaper
Headline: About Frienship 

By Bissme S 

Last year, Nik Amir Mustapha created waves with his first feature film,KIL, which went on to win four awards at this year’s Malaysian Film Festival last month.The 29-year-old walked away with best script and best director while KIL grabbed best film and the film’s leading actress, Cristina Suzanne, got the mostpromising actress award.
Fresh from his triumphs, the director is now ready with his second feature film, Terbaik Dari Langit, that explores the theme of friendship. The film will open in cinemas on Christmas Day.
The story centers on four close friends – Berg, Ijam, Toyu and Ali – who studied in the  same boarding school. After graduation, each went his separate way to find his own fortune.
Years later, Berg has become an eccentric filmmaker who loves making bizarre films while Ijam is a celebrity actor who will be marrying his fiancĂ©e and rich man’s daughter, Zelda.
Meanwhile, Toyu has sacrificed his dream of becoming a visual artist to teach and Ali, who did not complete his studies, is now a struggling businessman. When Berg decides to make a movie about a UFO sighting, he convinces his former school mates to take a journey with him across the country in his attempt to capture an image of an UFO.
They also manage to recruit a budding actress who calls herself Sofia Jane. Bront Palarae takes the lead role of Berg with Ledil Putra as Ijam, Amerul Affendi as Toyu, Megat Sharizal as Ali and Naidya Nisaa as Sofia Jane.
Others in the cast are Sharifah Amani, Siti Saleha and Mamat Khalid.On this second film, 
Nik Amir said: “I’m exploring the theme of staying true to yourself. There is a lot of pressure to conform to society’s ideals and forget about what you want.
“My character Berg is a walking example of this. Everyone wants him to make the kind of film that is commercial and viable. But he is adamant about sticking to his principles and following his heart. He does not want to be a conformist.”
At a recent press screening of the film, many of us were rather impressed with the end product. There are many interesting symbolisms in the film.The scenes with Berg hallucinating between the real and reel world were interesting and captivating. A plus point for the film is the superb chemistry among the five
leads and kudos to Bront for his fantastic performance as the eccentric Berg.
"In my career as an actor over 12 years, I would say that this is the best script I have read,” said Bront, a best actor award winner for his role in Belukar in 2010.
The script is written by actorscriptwriter Redza Minhat, whoplayed the lead role in Nik Amir’s KIL.
“The characters are well developed,” Bront added. 
“One can see a lot of work has gone into the script. I turned down another movie offer just to work in this film and I have no regrets.” 
Bront admits he is not a big fan of his character. 
“I would not like to be in the same room with Berg because he is far too eccentric for me,” he says with a laugh.
But there are some qualities he admires in Berg. 
“He has a good heart. Berg appreciates his friends. Since he was orphaned and was raised by his grandfather, he regards his friends as his family. His dedication to his friends is something I admire.”
Bront also has the highest praise and respect for the director. 
“You feel safe acting under [Nik Amir] as you know he has your back. He takes a good care of his actors. He helps them to explore their characters.” 
When asked about his favourite scenes in the film, Bront points to the ones involving Amerul. 
“He really executed his scenes brilliantly. He is really very good but underrated as an actor in this country.He needs more exposure.”
Bront has his first attempt at directing in last year’s feature film, Kolumpo, together with Rozi Izma and Sheikh Munasar.
Currently, he is writing the script for his second film called Sabotage, which he hopes to direct as well. The Chinese film is set from the Japanese Occupation to theEmergency period and is about how the government recruited some ethnic Chinese to infiltrate and spy on the Malayan Communist Party. The film will start shooting
sometime next year. 

A scene from the film