Monday, April 20, 2015

Nicholas Saputra & Interchange

Headline: A Character Actor  
BY Bissme S 

Indonesian actor Nicholas Saputra shot to stardom in his first film, Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? in 2002. He was just 17. He played a lonely teenage poet Rangga who falls in love with a popular classmate, Cinta.
Since then, Nicholas, now 31, has transformed himself from a handsome teen heartthrob into a credible actor, taking home the best actor award for his portrayal of Chinese-Indonesian activist Soe Hok Gie in the 2005 biopic, Gie.
More recently, he appeared in Interchange, under award-winning director Dain Iskandar Said. In this supernatural fantasy thriller, Nicholas plays Belian, a mysterious and menacing man from  Borneo who is linked to a series of gruesome murders that the authorities are investigating. Nicholas based himself in Kuala Lumpur for a month before filming began to prepare for the role. 
He observed a strict schedule of script readings, rehearsals, movement choreography, learnt Borneo’s dialects, as well as doing stunt and fitness trainings. Before returning to Jakarta, Nicholas talked to the Malaysian media on the following topics


Explaining the reason for accepting the role of Belian, Nicholas says: “It is a great story and the script was well-written. I read the script I receive, and if I feel I would want to watch that film, I will probably say yes to the role.”
His role also required the use of prosthetics, and he was spending some three to four hours in  the makeup chair before filming.
The actor was full of praise for director Dain who had helmed the controversial 2007 film Dukun which was banned, and the drama thriller Bunohan, which won eight awards at the 25th Malaysian 
Film Festival (FFM) including for best actor, best picture and best director.
“Dain is awesome,” Nicholas says. 
“He knows what he is doing. He is very articulate in terms of the details of his story and his characters. He is also passionate about what he is doing and the best thing is that his passion can be contagious.”


With Hollywood keen to hire Asian actors nowadays, does Nicholas harbour similar dreams? After  all, his pan-Asian looks (his father is German and mother Javanese) would probably catch the eyes of Hollywood casting directors.
“Hollywood is not my main focus right now,” he says but adds that if an opportunity comes his way that offers a strong character and script, he will have no reservations.
“I am preparing myself to be surprised,” he says with a laugh.


As an actor, Nicholas is pacing himself to act in only one film a year or even sometimes, one film every two years.
“Once I accept a role, I put every ounce of my energy into the production,” he says.
“I will give the role 100%.”
When not acting, Nicholas enriches himself with experiences such as travelling or photography. These experiences will indirectly shape him to be a better actor.
He points out that everyone has his/her own style of working and he is the kind of actor who prefers not to overwork himself.


One of his hobbies is travelling and he has travelled to many places. “I have a big interest in people, culture and architecture,” he says.
When asked the best place he had visited, he said: “Rio de Janeiro ( Brazil). I love the forest, city and beaches. Rio has all of them in one place. The weather is never too hot or too cold.”
One of his future travelling plans is to go on a photo safari to Kenya and Tanzania in Africa. “I have a big interest in animals,” he says.


In this electronic age where everyone craves popularity and celebrities flaunt their lovers on social media, Nicholas is determined to walk a totally different path.
He has a strict policy of never discussing his love life with the media. His decision has not endeared him to some media and movie fans.
“I do not want my personal life to overshadow my work,” he says. 
“It has never been my intention to be popular. I became an actor because I want to express myself. All I care about is giving my best performances and hoping people like what I do.
“Popularity never lasts, but great works will. I want to be remembered as someone who gave his best.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Syaihan Syafiq

Yesterday theSun published my interview withe Malaysian author Syaihan Syafiq. Here is the full article 

Headline: From One To Three 
By Bissme S 

When Syaihan Syafiq came out with his first novel, Bisik, three years ago, he did not plan for a trilogy.But the thriller turned out to be such a hit – selling over 12,000 copies– that he was prompted to come out with a sequel, Koyak, in late 2013.
Bisik centres on a young man named Mikeal who is traumatised after watching best friend Amran accidentally falling to his death from the balcony of their apartment.
Syaihan said Bisik had a definite conclusion but as readers and the publisher were keen for a sequel, so Koyak was born. The second book picks up on Mikeal’s story and tells how the slowly recovering young man is being driven mad again by someone out for revenge.
This Kota Baru-born author has also written a definite ending for Koyak which sold some 8,000 copies. But his publisher suggested the ending should have a cliffhanger for the possibility of a third book in this series. That is how the trilogy came about, with the recently-completed M, the latest saga on the disturbed Mikeal. The book will be on sale at the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair at Putra World Trade Centre from April 24 to May 4, along with reprints of the first two books in the trilogy with new covers.
Syaihan thinks the letter ‘M’ is an apt title for the third book as it encapsulates the series in its entirety. He says the main character’s name, Mikael, starts with M and also that various Malay words such as ‘mati’ (death) starts with this letter.
Though this hints at the possibility that this will be the last book he will write about Mikeal, he says: “Then again, you can never predict the future.Who knows, several years from now, I might revisit the story and write a fourth book on it!”
Syaihan believes the title [M] also allows readers to interpret the book according to their own perception. 
“This interpretation will create a sense of involvement from the
readers,” he says.
When asked what motivated him to be a novelist, Syaihan says: “My father was a graduate of Creative Writing, so informally, I grew up surrounded by literature. I was exposed to writing
from an early age.I sent my stories  the school magazine and other publications but they weren’t picked up.It kind of dampen my spirit for a bit, thinking that I was not a good writer.”
But his interest in writing was rekindled when he went to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 2008 to study TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language).
Wanting to explore his passion in writing as well as fulfil the semester’s credit requirements, he took up Creative Writing in Bahasa Melayu as an elective.He enjoyed his writing
experience so much that he decided to explore it as a career option.
“My lecturer was very supportive and that helped nurture my interest in writing even further.”
Syaihan adds that he is open to both criticism and praise for his books.
“For me, the criticism given by my readers and reviewers not only helped in pointing out what is wrong with my writing, but also helped me to understand that we can never satisfy everybody in this world. I have had some harsh criticism regarding my first book, pointing out several flaws that I had previously overlooked.
“Therefore, for my following books, I have made a note on what to avoid, what to improve on, and what to study, so that I will grow as a writer.
“As for the compliments, it definitely made my day knowing that the time and effort I put in have being acknowledged and appreciated.”
Syaihan, who is currently based in Penang, has just started on a new novel which has a supernatural theme. It revolves around a man who receives a letter from his dead wife. So far, he has completed three chapters of this latest tale. 

The author is writing his fourth novel
the new cover of Bisik... his first novel
The new cover of Koyak...the sequel to the Bisik

His lates novel  M...