Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Actors from OlaBola

OlaBola is a Malaysian movie that is everyone is waiting to see. Today, theSun published an interview I have done with the three young actors from the movie.  

Headline: Reel Football Heroes
By Bissme S

The New Movie by director Chui Keng Guan (of The Journey fame) may turn quite a few first-time actors into national heartthrobs. Opening in cinemas this Thursday, OlaBola follows the trials and tribulations of a team of young footballers in the 1980s as they struggle to reconcile their personal relationships with their love for football. It also showcases their journey towards international glory as they strive to win a place in the Olympics. The ensemble cast features a mix of familiar and new faces. Among them are Bront Palarae, Marianne Tan Poh Yee, Katrina Ho Fooi Tin, Daphne Low Sin Mun, and Mark Williams. At a recent preview of the film, local media were introduced to three of the fresh-faced actors who have been gaining positive reviews for their work – J.C. Chee, Luqman Hafidz, and Saran Kumar. These young actors from different backgrounds stood out thanks to their convincing performances. theSun spoke to them on their reel ambitions to make a mark in the Malaysian film industry.

From left, Saran, Luqman and JC 

*JC. Chee J.C. (short for Jun Cherng), 26, plays Chow Kwok Keong, the captain of the Malaysian national football team who is torn between wanting to give his family a good life and pursuing his dream as a footballer. The Perlis-born J.C. started his career as a model five years ago but decided to switch to acting last year.
“You cannot be a model forever because there are always new faces who will replace you,” he says. “You need to branch out and try other things.”
So he chose to be an actor. His first film was the Taiwanese comedy drama, When a Geek Meets with a Serial Killer, released last year. OlaBola is his second film.
“Modelling and acting are totally different ball games,” he admits.
“As an actor, you will have to be in character all the time and you have to use a lot of imagination.”
 J.C. cites one scene in OlaBola where they were shooting a football match, but there was no crowd in the stadium. The crowd would be added in later using computer- generated imagery (CGI).
 “We had to pretend that we were playing to a crowd,” he recalls.
After OlaBola, J.C. will next be seen in Girl Generation, a Taiwan-Malaysia production where he plays a handsome boy who is the object of desire of all the girls in his school. The film will be due out this year. However, J.C. doesn’t want to depend on his good looks alone to shine as an actor. He says he does not mind taking on challenging roles where he doesn’t have to look dashing.
“I love eating and I could easily put on weight,” he adds with a laugh.

*Luqman Hafidz Luqman, 24, plays dedicated footballer Ali who wants to be the best player in his team. But that driving ambition somehow makes him come across as an arrogant overachiever.
“I love football,” says Luqman.
“When I heard there was a movie being made on football and the production team was looking for extras, I decided to attend the audition.”
As it was his first attempt at acting, he never expected to be offered one of the lead roles. Since then, he has been bitten by the acting bug. After this experience, the quantity surveyor is seriously considering pursuing a career in acting.
He says: “In acting, you are constantly expressing your emotions and when you do that, you are being truthful to yourself. And I loved that feeling.”
He appreciates the fact that director Chui had put his young cast through an intensive acting and football training before the cameras started rolling. Chui had three acting coaches from Taiwan to train his young cast.
“As a result, we could [deliver] a believable performance,” says Luqman.
“We worked hard, but the director worked even harder on the film.”
 Luqman also has a keen interest in music and would love to try singing.

*Saran Kumar Saran, 21, plays Muthu, the best goalkeeper on the national football team. Unfortunately, his love for the game has caused a rift between him and his father.
“I have never been interested in acting,” confesses the Kuala Lumpur-born lad who is currently pursuing a degree in electrical engineering in Universiti Tenaga Nasional. Saran was playing a friendly football game with his friends when he was spotted by a talent scout. Eventually, he bagged the role of Muthu as his first film role.
“Muthu and I are very different,” says Saran.
“Muthu is a very serious guy, and I can be funny.”
Like Luqman, Saran has also been bitten by the acting bug.
“I hope OlaBola will open up opportunities for me,” he says.
His favourite actor is Indian veteran Rajnikanth, whom he regrets not being able to see when the actor was in Malaysia last year to shoot his latest film, Kabila.
On OlaBola, Saran says the movie’s greatest strength is its multiracial cast and indirectly, that gives the film a Malaysian touch.

“OlaBola is not only about football,” he says. “It is a movie that highlights our unity as Malaysians.”

The cast in costume ... from left JC Chee, Saran and Luqman

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