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Siti's father passed away

15 Feb

Hafidah Samat


Taruddin Ismail, the father of singing sensation Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, died of heart complications at the Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital yesterday. He was 67.

The retired policeman died at 10.45pm, three days after being admitted following his collapse at his house in Kuala Lipis, Pahang.

Siti’s sister-in-law and manager Rozi Abd Razak said Taruddin had complained of chest pains before collapsing.

She said he underwent a bypass on Friday and was in a coma since the operation.

Catch: Russell Just Gets Better

5 Dec

CLASSICAL singer Russell Watson has a new zest for life, having battled brain tumour twice (in 2006 and 2007) and survived.

The 42-year-old from Manchester, England is delighted to be performing in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with Starhill Gallery’s “A Journey Through Time 2008” (a 11-day exhibition of luxury watches and jewellery showcase).

He performs at Feast Village until tomorrow, showtime is from 10pm onwards.

Watson, whose meteoric rise to international singing stardom was due to his profound rendition of Nessun Dorma in 1999, promises a fresh and entertaining show this time around.

It also marks his first concert out of the United Kingdom in the last three years, having had to put his international career on hold because of his ill health.
In 2005, Watson delighted Malaysian audiences with his powerful rendition of popular cover songs and classic numbers at YTL 50th Anniversary Concert of Celebration, held on a custom-built three-level stage in Sentul Park, Kuala Lumpur in front of 6,000 people.

“It’s great to be back in Kuala Lumpur. I haven’t been able to perform anywhere else with me getting better and then falling sick again. So, yes, I am excited to return and entertain my fans here,” he said in an interview here early this week, adding that there are plans for a tour next year which will cover the United States and Asia.

Following a successful recovery from tumour, Watson performed a sell-out 17-day British tour this year.

He was also head judge on BBC’s hit show Last Choir Standing, where he helped select England’s favourite choir.

He released his ninth album entitled People Get Ready two weeks ago. The album, which is a collection of his favourite soul songs, has gone gold, with 108,000 copies sold to date.

“This album reflects a period of my life where everything seemed carefree. This is the material that goes back to my childhood. I grew up listening to this kind of music,” he said.

Watson will be back in Kuala Lumpur for the release of this album, early next year.

His earlier albums have all gone gold, platinum or double platinum. He has four Classic BRIT Awards and is recognised worldwide as UK’s biggest-selling classical artiste of the 21st century.

He has broken a succession of records, being the first British male to simultaneously occupy a No. 1 spot in the UK and American classical charts, as well as being the first artiste to have an album at the top spot in the UK classical charts for an entire year.

Describing his second battle with brain tumour, Watson who is known to his fans as “The People’s Tenor”, said that just when he thought he was recovering from the first one, he started getting headaches again and fell sick.

“The pain was worse the second time around as the tumour was haemorrhaging. I was rushed to the hospital and I was in the critical unit for days. I was very ill, my hair fell out and my face swelled up because of steroids.

“It was touch-and-go. Thankfully, I made it,” he said, adding that, only for the last eight months that he is feeling like himself again.

But, Watson, who has performed before presidents, prime ministers, the late Pope John Paul II and royalty, said that he could never feel completely recovered because he still has to take a daily concoction of medication.

Nevertheless, having gone through that period of uncertainty, he now embraces life like never before.

“I believe you can only truly understand life and have full appreciation of it if you have been on the brink of death. Now I value life more and have a complete regard for my friends and family. My life has changed for the better.

“I feel blessed. I don’t feel lucky at what I’ve been through but I feel fortunate to have gone through it. People say I’m heroic and brave, but I don’t see myself as such because this wasn’t something that I chose to have.”

Watson never stops thinking about his mortality. He is more spiritual, and that translates into better performances.

“I have a better understanding of life and what I do for a living… it has more meaning to it now. I have a real appreciation of what I do now, rather than what I used to do – sing a couple of songs, get the money and leave,” he said.

At “A Journey Through Time 2008”, Watson joins international and local award-winning music virtuosos such as renowned flutist Andrea Griminelli, multiple-award singer Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and R&B songstress Ning Baizura.

The event is the second collaboration between Starhill Gallery and Tourism Malaysia, following last year’s successful venture in hosting Asia’s largest luxury watch and jewellery showcase.

Backed by symphony orchestra Starhill Gallery Symphonietta, Watson sings 10 songs, a repertoire of classical music with a little bit of swing.

On whether he will be singing Nessun Dorma, one of the best known tenor arias in opera, Watson said: “I never get away with not doing it. Everywhere I go, audiences will be screaming for me to include it. The song follows me everywhere.”

Watson, an avid fan of Frank Sinatra, will also perform songs by the late crooner such as Strangers in the Night in his hour-long repertoire.

“I may make a few changes to my repertoire. But not too many because it’s a lot of stuff for a man who has had two brain surgeries to remember, you know,” he joked.

῕ Catch performance by Ning Baizura on Dec 8 and 9, Siti Nurhaliza on Dec 10 and Andrea Griminelli from Dec 11-14.

New Straits Times

Brazilian Movie About A Woman's Liberation Wins Top KL Film Award

30 Nov

Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and his wife Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib presenting a souvenir to Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Brazil’s A Casa de Alice (Alice’s House) won the hearts of the judges and emerged the biggest winner when it was chosen as best film at the 2nd Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival 2008 (KLIFF 2008) last night.

Directed by Chico Teixeira, this feature film, which revolves around a woman named Alice who longs for liberation from the monotony of her life, beat 22 feature films in the final selection, winning a trophy, a certificate of appreciation and RM20,000.

Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal presented the award.

It also bagged two other awards: Best South American and Best Actress (Carla Ribas), which came with cash prizes of RM5,000 and RM3,000, respectively.

The Best Director trophy went to a group of directors who call themselves Yes! That’s Us for their film, Divizionz.
It tells of four friends who experience obstacles that test their friendship and mission.

This South Africa/Uganda film also bagged two awards for Best African Continent and Best Music Score.

Best Asian Continent went to Jordan’s feature film Captain Abu Raed.

The movie, which tells a story of friendship, inspiration and heroism in Jordan also saw its leading actor Nadim Sawalha bagging the Best Actor award, beating local actor Eman Manan of Wayang.

Meanwhile, French production Darling was presented with the Best European Continent and Best Editing awards.

Other winners included Canada’s Fugitive Pieces, which emerged winner for Best North American award, while the Best Cinematography award went to Taiwan’s feature film Hai Jiao Qi Hao (Cape No. 7).

Egypt’s Hassan we Morcos (Hassan and Morcos) bagged Best Screenplay while Best Sound went to Iran’s Hamoon Va Darya (Hamoon and Darya).

Malaysia’s lone win came from Hatta Azad Khan’s feature film, Wayang, which tells of a respectable and wily master puppeteer who faces hurdles in passing down the age-old tradition.

It received the Special Jury award, winning a trophy, a certificate and RM3,000.

With the theme “Celebrating Cultural Diversity”, KLIFF 2008 was organised by the Malaysian National Film Development Corporation (Finas) and Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival under the patronage of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The festival, which ended yesterday, was hosted by Sarimah Ibrahim.

It saw participation by filmmakers from around the globe, ranging from independent production houses to major US-based companies, competing for awards in 15 categories.

The star-studded event was held at Merdeka Hall, Putra World Trade Centre and was broadcast live on Astro Kirana.

Performances included Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Ning Baizura and Dafi of Akademi Fantasia 6 fame.

Indonesian Melly Goeslaw performed a duet with Yusry KRU.

Present at the event were Finas director Mohd Mahyidin Mustakim, KLIFF chairman Datuk Abdul Rauf Yusoh and KLIFF director Wafa Abdul Kadir.

New Straits Times

RM15m Fund For Inspirational Films

27 Nov

Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (second from right) admiring the award that Malaysia director Saw Tion Guan (left) won for the Best Short Film category for ‘G16G17’ yesterday. Leng Tzu Jien (second from left) and Bjorn Jensen (right) took the awards on behalf of the winners of the Best Animated Film titled ‘Memory Loss’ and the Best Documentary, ‘Under the Ice’.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has approved the setting up of a RM15 million fund to make films of national interests.

Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal announced this at the launch of the three-day Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival at the National Handicraft Complex in Jalan Conlay here yesterday.

Shafie said the fund would support the making of films with historical, cultural and heritage themes.

“This will contribute to national unity and celebrate the stories of human courage and endeavour.”

Meanwhile, Wayang, a touching and inspiring story of a wayang kulit exponent who mentors a blind orphan in the fast-disappearing art form, is Malaysia’s representative at the festival.
The film, directed by Dr Hatta Azad Khan of sitcom Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu fame, and which stars Eman Manan and Zul Huzaimy Marzuki, is one of 22 films from 15 countries competing in the festival held at the Putra World Trade Centre here on Saturday.

The other films include The Last Lullaby (United States), A Casa De Alice (Brazil), Hamoon Va Darya (Iran) and Fugitive Pieces (Canada). Sixteen awards are up for grabs in the festival.

Besides the RM20,000 top award for Best Film, there are also the Best Asian, North American, South American, African and European Film categories, each worth RM5,000.

The Best Director, Actor, Actress, Cinematography, Sound System, Screenplay and Musical Score categories are worth RM3,000 each.

The festival’s director, Wafa Abdul Kadir, said it was the first time it was rewarding all categories with cash prizes.

Previously, only the top prize carried a cash reward.

“It is our incentive to filmmakers, locally and internationally, to produce quality films with universal appeal.”

Wafa said the organising committee received 191 entries from Malaysian filmmakers. The festival’s theme is Celebrating Cultural Diversity.

The winners of the Best Documentary, Best Animated Film and Best Short Film were announced in the festival launch. They were Under the Ice, Memory Loss, and G16G17, from Canada, Taiwan and Malaysia, respectively.

The main awards ceremony will see performances by Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Taruddin, Yusry Abdul Halim, Ning Baizura, Suki Low, Zahid Baharuddin and Dafi Ismail Sabri, as well as India’s Mallika Sherawat and Indonesia’s Melly Goeslow.

New Straits Times

Using Datuk K's Name Lands Man In Jail

22 Nov

KUALA LUMPUR: An entertainment business manager who used the name of prominent businessman Datuk Khalid Mohd Jiwa to cheat another businessman into parting with RM19,000 and a cheque for RM15,000 was sentenced to two years’ jail and ordered to be whipped once by the magistrate’s court here yesterday.

Magistrate Aizatul Akmal Maharani ordered Wan Hazrul Anuar Wan Hussien, 24, from Kota Baru, Kelantan, to serve the jail sentence from the date of his arrest on March 9, last year.

The accused pleaded guilty to cheating Mahmood Kamsani Mustapha, 56, at the KMK Restaurant, D’Sentral, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, at 1.20pm on Feb 6, last year.

Wan Hazrul Anuar had told Mahmood Kamsani that he wanted to sell four Suzuki Swift cars said to belong to Khalid, the husband of popular singer Datuk Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin and who is better known as Datuk K, causing Mahmood Kamsani to pay him RM19,000 and a cheque for RM15,000 in the name of Naluri Properties Sdn Bhd as deposit when he knew the cars did not exist. — Bernama

New Straits Times

Weekend Watch: Cities Honoured With Heritage Status

20 Nov

Jaclyn Victor will perform in Konsert Jom Heboh (TV3, Sunday, 9pm)

TOMORROW, there will be a “live” telecast over RTM1 from Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur at 8.30pm of the official commemoration of Malacca and George Town as Unesco World Heritage sites.

Wan Norazlin.

The Badminton Super Series: China Open 2008 airs “live” over RTM1 this weekend. Catch the semi-finals tomorrow at 2pm and the finals on Sunday at 2pm.

The popular Konsert Jom Heboh is shown over TV3 this Sunday at 9pm). “Live” from Penang’s Stadium Batu Kawan, the artistes performing include Krystal, Jaclyn Victor, Stacy (AF), Jeffridin, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Awie and Fazly Zainal.

New series Sonnria Pasta debuts over 8TV tomorrow at 4pm. It is about a girl whose short-lived relationships with men changes after an encounter with a celebrity.

This week’s instalment of Music On 8 (8TV, tomorrow, 10.30am) features all-girl group The Pussycat Dolls.

Midnight Movie (RTM1, 11.30pm) – Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Helen and Charles McCarter seem to have everything: a fine home, beautiful clothes and success. In public, they seem the perfect match. But behind the scenes, it is another matter… Starring Kimberly Elise and Shemar Moore.

Panggung Sabtu (TV3, 2pm)

– Ankahee

A couple marry and have a daughter and live happily – for a while. But the appearance of a young beauty changes everything. Starring Esha Deol, Aftab Shivdasani and Amisha Patel.

Saturday Nite Special On 2 (RTM2, 9.30pm) – Predator 2

The monstrous alien is at it again. He leaves a trail of corpses in Los Angeles and the only man who can stop him is Lieutenant Mike Harrigan of the LAPD. Starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey and Bill Paxton.


Cerekarama (TV3, 10pm) – I’Tikaf

A man finally remarries after his wife died 14 years ago. However, his eldest son disagrees with the plan and makes life difficult for the man. Starring Khairil Anwar, Remy Ishak, Jalaluddin Hassan and Wan Norazlin.


Hong Movie Saturday (ntv7, midnight) – Set To Kill

Bodyguard Nick is assigned to protect Connie, an assassination target. Meanwhile, there’s an embezzlement-related scam going on at Connie’s company. Starring Ning Jing, Raymond Wong and Isabel Chan.

TV3 Cinema (TV3, 12.30am)

– Rocky VI

In the fourth instalment of this popular film franchise about an underdog boxer, Rocky is brought out of retirement to challenge an almost invincible one-man killing machine from the Soviet Union.

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers and Dolph Lundgren.

Golden Premier (RTM2, 10pm) – Love Me, Love My Money

Richard, a wealthy and newly-divorced businessman who loses his fortune in a bizarre accident, plays up his “wealthy” status upon meeting a beautiful women named Ah. Starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Shu Qi.

New Straits Times

'suara Salehah' Shines At Skrin Awards

8 Nov

(From left) Murali Abdullah (best drama director), Su Lin Pillai (best film), Mamat Khalid (best film director), Yasmin Ahmad (special jury award) and Ziela Jalil (best drama) with their trophies last night.

KUALA LUMPUR: Suara Salehah won several top prizes at the Anugerah Skrin 2008 yesterday.

These included best drama, best drama actress (Fauziah Ahmad Daud) and best drama director (Murali Abdullah). Best drama actor went to Zamarul Hisham of Ihsan.

Best supporting drama actor and actress were Que Hai-dar and Normah Damanhuri.

Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang continued its winning streak with awards for best film director (Mamat Khalid), best film actor (Rosham Nur) and best film.

Newcomer Baizura Kahar won best film actress for her work in Sepi .
Bicara Aur Dengan Tebing won best serial drama and best comedy drama went to Mr Mama.

Also honoured yesterday was Yasmin Ahmad, who was presented with a special jury award.

Noryn Aziz, Adibah Noor, Jaclyn Victor, Faizal Tahir and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza provided the evening’s entertainment.

The ceremony, hosted by Adlin Aman Ramlie and Nurul Syuhada Nurul Ain Mohd Zin, was held at the Putra World Trade Centre and broadcast live over TV3.

New Straits Times

Imuda And His '40 Women'

5 Nov

KUALA LUMPUR: Call him the “poster” boy of Malaysian artists.

As a young boy, the multi-talented A. Rahim Muda, better known as Imuda, was fascinated with movie posters and would spend countless hours studying them.

“I would pester my parents to take me to the movies but ended up paying more attention to the posters hung in the lobby,” said the 48-year-old.

The posters, typified by images of a hero and heroine painted with a colourful background, ignited Imuda’s long love affair with portrait-painting and gave rise to his large collection of works.

“I was amazed at how detailed and lifelike the posters were. They were the inspiration behind many of my portraits today,” he said.
Imuda is celebrated for his acting stints in sitcoms such as Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu and 2+1, as well as feature films such as Mat Som, Hati Bukan Kristal, Kembara Seniman Jalanan and Gelora Cinta.

But his claim to fame was as a talented and influential cartoonist and artist. It comes as no surprise then that Imuda admits to drawing as his main passion.

Imuda’s works are on display during his fourth major exhibition entitled “40 Perempuan” at Balai Seni NSTP, Jalan Riong, Bangsar, this month.

“I find portrait-painting more challenging than any other art form as you need to capture the likeness and emotions of the subject.”

He said he chose women as his subjects because “women are the inspiration behind everything”.

The 40 acrylic-based and oil paintings portray local and international personalities, including Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Maya Karin, Saloma, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

Choosing not to put a price on his paintings, the self-taught artist prefers interested parties to call him at 014-6401372 if they want to purchase his artwork.

The exhibition is open from 9am to 5pm daily.

Admission is free.

New Straits Times

Weekend Watch: Brazilian FI 'Live' On Sunday Morning

30 Oct

THE Brazilian Grand Prix F1 race in Sao Paulo will be aired “live” over RTM1 early Sunday morning at 12.30am.

New this weekend is a Japanese serial entitled Hana Kim (8TV, Sunday, 3pm).

The drama is based on the popular manga of the same name by Nakajo Hisaya.

It revolves around Ashiya Mizuki, a Japanese girl in the United States. One day, she watches young athlete Sano Izumi on television compete in the high jump.

She begins to idolise him, and decides to move to Japan to attend the same school. However, Izumi goes to an all-boys school, so Mizuki disguises herself as a boy.
The series stars Horikita Maki, Oguri Shun, Ikuta Toma, Konno Mahiru and Kamikawa Takaya.

For a little music, catch Eksklusif… Siti Nurhaliza Bersama Peminat (RTM2, tomorrow, 11pm).

In this two-hour presentation, Datuk Siti Nurhaliza will sing such hits as Ku Mahu, Kau Ku Sayang, Wanita, Penawar Rindu, Bukan Cinta Biasa and Biarlah Rahsia, as well as more traditional numbers.

Learn about the making of comedy adventure Tropic Thunder, (8TV, tomorrow, 10.30am), teen musical film High School Musical 3: Senior Year (8TV, Sunday, 10.30am) and local film Budak Kelantan (ntv7, Sunday, 1.30pm) this weekend.

Tropic Thunder, starring Robert Downey Jr, Jack Black and Ben Stiller, is about the cast in a big-budget war movie finding themselves in the middle of the jungle where the enemy shoots real bullets.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year stars Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale.

Budak Kelantan, starring Danny X-Factor, revolves around two youths who are influenced differently by city life.


Midnight Movie (RTM1, 11.30pm) – Chances Are
A man dies in an accident but gets a second chance at life when he’s reborn. Starring Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey Jr and Mary Stuart Masterson.

Bollygood On 2 (RTM2, 12.30pm) – Abhiman
A pop singer finally settles down and decides to record a duet with his wife, only to regret it when she becomes more popular. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, G. Asrani, Bindu and Durga Khote.

Saturday Nite Special On 2 (RTM2, 9pm) – Alien Resurrection
After killing herself to prevent the government from taking a monster alien to Earth, Ellen Ripley awakens 200 years later to find she has been cloned…

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman.

Panggung Sabtu (TV3, 2pm) – Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota
Four strangers board a flight to the United States which makes a stop in Boston.

Here passengers board the plane – people who will decide whether they are to live or die. Starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Irfan Khan, Ayesha Takia and Jimmy Shergil.

Hong Movie Saturday (ntv7, Midnight) – Magic Touch
A con artist in “fortune-telling” one day coincidentally manages to predict what is to come. This time, he decides to put it to good use. This top-rated comedy stars Michael Hui, Leon Lai and Ricky Hui.

Chinese Movie (8TV, 8.30pm) – If You Care
Interior designer Chun-fai’s goal is to earn as much money as he can.

But he turns from a selfish person into one who is caring after a car crash.

Starring Eason Chan, Candy Lo, Gillian Chung and Eric Kot.


Spice Of India (RTM2, 12.30pm) – Naan Avan Illai
Annamalai ends up in jail for cheating several women by marrying them and then making off with their money.

However, the daughter of the judge who is presiding over his case is attracted to him.

This is a remake of K. Balachander’s classic film of the same title.

Starring Sneha, Malavika, Namitha, Jyothirmayi and Keerthi Chawla.

Golden Premier (RTM2, 10pm) – Big Shot’s Funeral
Director Don Tyler is getting sicker by the day while on location in Beijing, so his assistant hires a down-and-out cameraman, YoYo, to take the reins.

YoYo is determined to make an unforgettable movie.

Starring Donald Sutherland, You Ge and Rosamund Kwan.

TV3 Cinema (TV3, 12.30am) – Rocky
An amateur boxer from Philadelphia’s tough neighbourhood gets a shot at the heavyweight championship title.

Starring Slyvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young and Carl Weathers.

Sinema (TV9, 10pm) – Cantiknya Audra Laili
Audra falls in love with Awang Lekir. Unfortunately, her family decides to marry her off to Tengku Syed Osman, a man who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Starring Imuda, Aida Aris and Azean Irdawaty.

New Straits Times

Our Very Own Little Voice

27 Oct

Yana’s a natural!

Like the young girl in the British film Little Voice, eight-year-old Nurriyana Jamhari is a little dynamo with a big voice, writes DENNIS CHUA.

PETITE Nurriyana Jamhari may be only eight, but she has managed to impress many of her seniors in the music industry as a natural-born entertainer.

The youngest of businesswoman Herlina Jaafar’s six children, the Petaling Jaya-born Nurriyana, or Yana as she is affectionately called by family and fans, has been singing since she was four.

Herlina said: “Yana’s first song was Air Mata Ibu, a popular song by Datuk Siti Nurhaliza. After hearing it, I felt that my daughter was destined to sing.”

Yana’s siblings also enjoy singing but Herlina said her youngest was easily the most passionate about her God-given talent.
“Not only did she pick up singing at a young age, she also imitated the singers’ moves after watching her on television,” Herlina said.

Yana lists Siti Nurhaliza as her idol, besides Indonesian pop princess Agnes Monica and Canadian rock star Avril Lavigne.

Yana’s first major singing project was in 2005 when she came up with a nasyid-oriented album titled Lagu Doa Kanak-Kanak. It was produced by Hamparan Rezeki in aid of the National Cancer Council of Malaysia.

She won her first major singing contest last year. It was ntv7’s talent search programme Aiyoh!

She said: “I sang Agnes’ Tak Ada Logika, one of my favourite numbers.”

In the same year, she participated in Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s Bintang Kecil singing contest as its youngest participant.

“I picked Inul Daratista’s (Indonesian dangdut queen) Goyang Inul. I also did a patriotic number, Baju Hijau,” she said.

Yana subsequently performed with such big names as Adibah Noor, Amy Mastura and Jaclyn Victor.

She said: “I sang a duet with Adibah in the KL Tower and one with Jaclyn in Putrajaya, both this year. They are fantastic singers.

“I also performed with Azwan Ali in a Hari Raya concert. He’s really funny.”

Yana’s other memorable performances include singing aboard a ship on a Tourism Ministry promotion in Pantai Puteri, Malacca, last year, and singing with iconic rockers Jinbara at the Langkawi Stadium in Kuah, Langkawi in 2006.

Her most recent appearances include those at a Rakan Muda concert in Kuala Lumpur, a Karyawan buka puasa in the Putra World Trade Centre, on RTM1 children’s programme Selamat Pagi Sayang and on the channel’s Hari Raya special, Yeh Yeh Hari Raya.

Herlina said: “She also joined TV3’s Jom Heboh carnival in the Bukit Jalil Stadium, appeared in the TV3 programme Melodi and represented Malaysia in the Children’s Arts Festival in Istana Budaya.”

Besides singing, Yana also has a keen interest in acting and modelling.

In 2005, she starred in the musical play Rubiah alongside Singaporean actress Maizurah Hamzah and veteran actor Ahmad Tarmimi Siregar at Istana Budaya, and played the role of Aliya in RTM2’s family-oriented sitcom, Keluarga Adam.

Early this year, she appeared as an extra in the film Sepi, which starred Afdlin Shauki and Vanidah Imran, and participated in the Asian Broadcasting Union Short Drama Festival that was held in Angkasapuri.

Yana said: “I was a Dumex calendar model last year, too, something I share with Vanidah and her family.”

She has also appeared in print and television advertisements for McDonald’s, Digi and Mastercard, among others.

Herlina said Yana’s strength as a singer lies largely in her ability to memorise music and lyrics.

“It comes naturally to her. She does not need to practise much in order to sing on stage,” she said.

Yana would love to compose and write her own songs one day and master a musical instrument like the piano.

Herlina said: “While she enjoys singing, she is also committed to her studies as a student of Sekolah Kebangsaan Tasik Permaisuri in Cheras. I always remind her to do well in school too.”

Yana said: “My goal is to sing with my local and foreign heroes. And to make an impact on the local music scene.”

New Straits Times

Wanted: Fun, Fearless And Fabulous People

15 Oct

Ning Baizura

Cosmopolitan Malaysia magazine’s search for Fun, Fearless and Fabulous personalities culminates next month.

You can vote for Dr Liyana via SMS.

Maya Karin
Broadcast crime reporter Aisyah is among the candidates.
DO you know or admire someone who is fun, fearless and fabulous? If you do, Cosmopolitan Malaysia magazine wants you to nominate him or her for its Fun, Fearless and Fabulous (FFF) Award 2008.

The search for these individuals started in November last year and will end next month.

There are six categories in the award – the Ultimate FFF, FFF Radio Personalities, FFF Actress, FFF TV Personalities, FFF Singers and FFF Male.

Among those selected so far are actress Maya Karin, TV and radio presenter Fara Fauzana, TV personality Sarimah Ibrahim, singer Anuar Zain, songstress Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and Ning Baizura, actors Awal Ashaari and Zizan Nin, environmentalist Yasmin Rasyid, broadcast crime reporter Aisyah Asmadi, cancer survivor and doctor Liyana Zulkifli, and ice skater Shafinas Hashim.
Cosmopolitan Malaysia editor Izza Safinaz Ibrahim said the same event is being held in other countries through their own Cosmopolitan editions.

“In the United States, only Hollywood celebrities are eligible but our publication here has decided to include not only celebrities but just about anyone who has achieved something,” she said.

The winner will be named at the awards ceremony to be held on Nov 15 in Kuala Lumpur.

Readers can nominate their choices through short messaging services (SMS) and through the voting page provided in the magazine’s monthly issue.

The reader who votes correctly for the winner also stands a chance to be invited to the awards ceremony.

Apart from carrying the title of the most Fun, Fearless and Fabulous individual, the winner will also win a trophy and products from the beauty and fashion partners of the magazine.

New Straits Times

Malay Songs Are Winnie's Passion

8 Oct

Winnie K has released her fourth album, Kau Ada Di Mana

Winnie K loves Malay songs and her fourth album was first released in Indonesia recently. SHARIFAH ARFAH hears about her journey in the music world.

AN early start in singing, it is believed, is preferred for those intending to achieve stardom.

But after a placing within the top three in a regional singing contest and recording four albums, singer Winnie Kok aka Winnie K attests that it’s not as easy as it sounds.

“It does depend on luck as well. It’s not easy to be an artiste,” says the 28-year-old lass.

She has just released her fourth album Kau Ada Di Mana in Malay. It was released in Indonesia in March.
A collaboration between Malaysian and Indonesian composers, the album sees contributions from Malaysian composers Audi Mok, Cat Farish, Ajai, Ramli M.S., and Siew; while Dewiq and Yudis Dwikarono make up the Indonesian composers.

“I knew the Indonesian composers through a mutual friend there. They saw how passionate I was about singing, and that led to the recording deal signed with Trinity Optima, who also releases albums for Indonesian artistes such as Rossa and Ungu,” said Winnie.

Kau Ada Di Mana was released in Malaysia in June under the Warner Music label.

Her first single for airplay is a track after which the album was titled, followed by Kekasih Gelapku.

Jakarta is now her second home, her base for her promotional tours.

“I know it’s not easy for me to break into the Indonesian market where they have so many of their own singers trying to make a name, so I have to be diligent with my promotional activities,” she said.

It took three years to finalise her first Malay album to ensure that it met standards.

“It wasn’t easy selecting the songs to fit the concept I wanted – catchy, with easy-to-follow lyrics,” she said.

As a fan of Malay songs, Winnie doesn’t feel awkward singing in Malay.

“Since secondary school, I have loved Malay songs.” Her favourite artistes those days included KRU, Fauziah Latiff and Sheila Majid.

An exposure to Malay songs was also acquired while campaigning as an ambassador for Pepsi.

“I got to know Siti Nurhaliza and KRU back then, and I learned a lot about the local music scene from them,” said Winnie.

When did it all start? As early as when she was three years old, apparently.

“My mom said I sang every day at home,” Winnie said.

She took part in as many talent shows as she could fit into her days.

One of the turning points came in 1993, at 13, when she entered the Asia Bagus singing contest. She emerged runner-up in the grand championship final.

“After the win, many people recognised me,” Winnie said.

She was eventually offered a recording contract by PonyCanyon due to her sterling performance in Asia Bagus, but she had to decline.

“I felt I was too young, so I continued with my studies instead.”

She went on to graduate with a degree in Business Administration from Sunway University College, and did a six-month stint in TV presentation at Wesley College in Melbourne, Australia.

“I began to regret then not taking up the offer (by PonyCanyon). I wondered how I would have fared, with the exposure I may have had in Japan. I love singing, but I know that it’s not enough to just be a singer without something solid to fall back on.

“Many singers come and go, and it’s so easy for people to forget you when new stars arrive.”

New Straits Times

WordHasIt: Has Mawi Picked Astro?

7 Oct

IT’S no secret that popular artiste Mawi is getting married to TV actress/personality Ekin.

For the past month, amidst media frenzy over the much-hyped wedding ceremony, many in the entertainment fraternity are left wondering when the BIG day will be.

Earlier this month, this column highlighted news about the “tussle” between giant media company Media Prima Sdn Bhd (which, among others, operates terrestrial TV stations TV3, ntv7, TV9 and 8TV) and satellite broadcaster Astro over the right to broadcast the wedding ceremony.

The latest on the grapevine is that Astro has been given the thumbs-up.

“It was like a ‘custody’ battle between Media Prima and Astro,” said an Astro insider, adding that “Mawi being a product of Akademi Fantasia (AF), the reality show produced by Astro, it is only logical that the network obtains the rights.”
Sources reveal that Media Prima offered a staggering amount – between RM5 million and RM6 million – to acquire the rights to the ceremony.

Incidentally, Media Prima made history when TV3 carried the wedding ceremony of award-wining singer Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza and businessman Datuk Seri Khalid Jiwa. It was the first time that a celebrity couple’s wedding was beamed “live” on mainstream TV in Malaysia.

Though there is no official announcement, it seems the 27-year-old Mawi has enlisted Yamin and Cikgu Baha (of AF fame) as wedding planners.

Mawi and Ekin are expected to hold a Press conference on Oct 21 to announce their wedding details.

The question on everyone’s lips is, how grand will the wedding be?

n LATELY more Malaysian filmmakers have been making waves internationally.

The latest is director/actor M. Subash, who will be rubbing shoulders with the who’s who of Bollywood during the 39th International Film Festival (IFFI) in India next month.

His debut film, Pensil, has been selected to participate at the 11-day film fest which will take place at Beach City in Goa starting Nov 22.

Subash received the confirmation via an e-mail sent by the festival’s print coordinator, Ramesh Chandra recently.

Dubbed as one of the oldest and the largest film festivals in Asia, IFFI is accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Association (FIAPF).

To date, it has grown into a high-profile affair and received much coverage.

The movie is a heart-wrenching TV drama-turned-film about a physically-challenged aspiring artiste. It also stars Subash in the leading role.

Produced by Genius Parade Sdn Bhd on a modest RM400,000 budget, Pensil made heads turn when it received a string of accolades at the 21st Malaysian Film Festival in August.

Subash received the Special Jury Award for his efforts in highlighting the plight of the disabled.

Veteran actress Ruminah Sidek bagged the Best Supporting Actress award for her convincing portrayal in the movie. Other cast members included Maimon Mutalib, Khatijah Tan and Jalil Hamid.

n WE all love him. He’s charming, easy-going and adorable. Who are we referring to?

Que Haidar, that’s who. Recently the actor has been romantically linked to beautiful dance instructor-choreographer Linda Jasmine of Akademi Fantasia fame.

Que, who has 20 films under his belt, is adamant that it is just a rumour.

“I don’t know how the gossip came about,” said the actor, who had just returned from his Hari Raya celebration in Johor Baru over the weekend.

Previously, the lanky actor was linked to award-winning actress Sharifah Amani.

Earlier this year, he was linked to a member of a royal family after they were spotted attending a music awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

New Straits Times

Baby This Song's For You!

5 Oct

Fazley has been busy singing, hosting TV shows and giving motivational talks. Soon, being a father will keep him on his toes as well.

Soon-to-be father Fazley is also looking forward to working with an award-winning lyricist with whom he has always been dreaming of collaborating. SHUIB TAIB writes.

IT pays to be patient. And singer/motivational speaker/TV host Fazley can attest to this.

Since his involvement in show business 13 years ago, it has been his dream to collaborate with award-winning lyricist Habsah Hassan.

No stranger to local music fans, Habsah who is also a well-established scriptwriter and film producer (Hati Bukan Kristal), has penned hundreds of songs.

Her reputation as a sought-after lyricist resulted from her working with a string of top local singers, including Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Sheila Majid and the late Sudirman Arshad.
Habsah, who had a hand in chart-toppers like Merisik Khabar, Jauh Di Sudut Hati, Legenda and Dialah Di Hati, has finally written one for Fazley titled Rindu Tak Tertanggung. The song is composed by Ajai.

“I’ve been waiting for Habsah since I was 17! She is worth the wait though, as her lyrics are always poignant and moving. I’m targeting this to be my first single – but this depends on what happens after we’ve finished recording,” said the 30-year-old.

Fazley, who has been busy with hosting TV shows, is releasing an album of 10 new songs, plus four bonus tracks. The tracks are taken from his previous albums and are all about love.

The songs are Kerna Asmara, Cerita Asmara, Asmara Ini and H.U.J.A.N. or Harapan Untuk Janji Asmara Nurani.

Aside from Aja, who composed four numbers, Fazley has roped in the expertise of Mode of Ruffedge, who contributed three songs while the rest are written by him.

The yet-to-be-titled album is expected to hit the market by end of this month.

Elaborating on his album, Fazley said that Superheromu could be its title.

“The song Superheromu in the album is simple but catchy. It is about a guy who tries to save his girl by becoming a superhero. It’s inspired by a Harvey Malaiholo (an Indonesian jazz singer) number,” said Fazley.

The album will not be moving away very much from what he had done previously. The music will be contemporary and romantic. Lyrics-wise, save for the one written by Kak Chah (Habsah), the songs are simple.

Fazley has also been travelling a lot around the country, mostly to places he thought he would never set foot on.

As host of the programme, 3 Hari 2 Malam (airing every Sunday on TV9 at 8.30pm), which is already in its third season, Fazley has been to almost every corner of the country.

“I’ve been to places like Hutan Belum with Fauziah Latiff, climbed a mountain in search of the Rafflesia, went kayaking and diving in Pulau Kapas with Dr Faiz the astronaut (who was also his junior at school) and experienced all sorts of outdoor adventures.

“The travelogue also took us to Pulau Banding in Perak, Tasik Bera in Pahang and Gunung Santubong (the venue of the Rainforest Festival) in Sarawak.

“Since this is a programme for budget travellers, we usually travel by road and stay at 2- or 3-star hotels. Each artiste featured on the programme is given RM500 to spend during the three-day-two-night stay,” said Fazley, who also penned the theme song for the show.

Other celebrities who have appeared on the show include Cat Farish, Siti Sarah and Danny X-Factor.

Tune in to TV9 between 8am and 10am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you will see Fazley in a different role in the programme called Nasi Lemak Kopi O.

In the show’s motivation segment called Pedas Sedap, Fazley answers calls and offers advice.

Celcom mobile phone users can also get his daily motivational quotes by sending the SMS “S1” to 22600.

And soon Fazley will also be seen on TV2’s English talk show, Mr Motivation.

Although the singer has tried his hand at acting, he prefers hosting as it allows him to be himself.

But the one thing he is most looking forward to is becoming a father.

In fact, Fazley and his wife are expecting the arrival of their baby on the same date they got married last year: Nov 7.

Does he know his baby’s gender?

“Nope! Both my wife and I want this to be a surprise. When shopping for baby stuff we go for a neutral colour – white! We don’t care about whether we’re going to have a boy or girl so long as he or she is healthy.”

New Straits Times

Riz's Living His Dream

2 Oct

Despite the slow market, Riz hopes to record a full album.

Riz already has three singles under his belt, fresh from coming in first runner-up in this year’s Akademi Fantasia. But the lad is not resting on his laurels, as SHUIB TAIB finds out.

TAKING part in this year’s Akademi Fantasia (AF) was the best thing to have happened for Riz. He won prizes worth RM100,000 as first runner-up but it is nothing compared to seeing his parents back together again.

The reality TV star, who took part in TV3’s Gangstarz and 8TV’s One In A Million (first season) earlier on, was among the few AF students who performed consistently week after week.

But being completely cut off from the outside world, Riz (whose real name is Mohammed Idris Mohd Zaizizi) said that he was in limbo during his AF days.

“When I entered the academy, my parents had kind of separated. During the first week, my dad did not come to see me perform. Only my mum came. In the second week, I saw both in the audience but they did not sit together.
“By the third week, I spotted them in the audience and this time they were sitting together. Although my heart leapt, I wasn’t sure whether they had reconciled. Having no contact with the outside world didn’t help either so I assumed that they were back together,” said Riz.

True enough, his parents had reunited. For Riz, that was the best present ever.

Now, the singer, who is often likened to Indonesia’s actor-cum-host Nicholas Saputra, is living his dream.

His first single, Harus Ku Yang Pergi, composed and written by Ajai is enjoying regular airplay.

His second single, Bermula Semula (Ajai/Abie), and third, Ku Pinjam Satu Bintang (Ajai/Slen), are expected to follow suit.

Riz dueted with Alya, One In A Million contestant and former Fabulous Cat member, in Ku Pinjam Satu Bintang.

They recently flew to Jakarta, Indonesia to shoot a video clip for the song. It is believed that the video costs RM80,000.

“I feel that every sen was worth it. We hired famed Indonesian director Hady to direct the clip. He has directed music videos for Anuar Zain (Lelaki Ini and Ketulusan Hati) and Indonesia’s Agnes Monika (Matahariku),” said Riz.

Needless to say, he is pleased with the results.

Asked why he did not use local talents to shoot the clip, Riz, 21, said that Ajai and Hady go back a long way.

“Yes, we have local talents but Ajai and I wanted something different. Hady is well known for his work.”

While in Indonesia, Riz observed the professional work culture there.

“The production crew was alert and accommodating. Whenever someone called ‘cut’, we would be offered a drink or a chair. They treated us like stars.

“Hady always knew what to say to get what he wanted out of me and Alya,” said Riz.

The music video will be available for viewing by year end.

Apart from the three singles, and Hanya Sandiwara (Shaliza Abu Bajar/Dean), which was specially written for Riz for the AF final, he plans to record a full album.

“All I need is another four new songs before I can release a full album. I am still collecting material and I hope fans can wait. I don’t want to rush it and come out with a half-baked, half-hearted album,” said Riz, adding that it’s his dream to record songs by Aidit Alfian, Audi Mok, Hazami and Indonesia’s Melly Goeslaw.

Does he want to team up with any other female singer?

“Oh definitely! I really adore the vocal stylings of my former AF colleague Nadia, Jaclyn Victor and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza,” said Riz who flew to Gold Coast, Australia several months ago to shoot TV programmes for Astro in conjunction with Hari Raya.

(Fans can catch him on Konsert Superstar AF6, Rumah Terbuka AF6 and Corak Coret Raya, all over Astro Ria.)

Any tips for those planning to take part in next year’s Akademi Fantasia?

“First of all, you must have talent. Before you enter AF, karaoke as much as you can for practice. Don’t go for glamour; if you do then the show is not for you. It’s really for those who are passionate about the arts and knowledge.

“Try to get used to not having a handphone. Going without can drive you up the wall!”

New Straits Times

A 'QuieterῴRaya For Siti And Siblings

30 Sep

Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza and her sisters share with HAFIDAH SAMAT their memories of Hari Raya and their plans this year.

EVERY year without fail, the sight of marquees on the lawn of multi-award-winning performer Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza’s kampung home in Kuala Lipis, Pahang and the long queues outside were the usual indications that Hari Raya celebrations were in full swing.

Her die-hard fans, from all walks of life, usually thronged her open house on the first day of Hari Raya. Some folks also didn’t mind making the trip from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Lipis to meet her.

“It was fun as people started arriving at my parents’ house as early as 8am. They would come in excursion buses and taxis,” reminisced Siti.

With each passing year, the number of guests increased, with the 2002 figure showing a staggering 25,000 guests on the first day of Hari Raya!
Siti and her family would make sure they prepared enough food.

“We used to cook and my mother Siti Salmah Bachik was constantly replenishing food from the kitchen.”

Of course, there were some heart-stopping moments, including one occasion when they ran out of food.

“My family panicked because guests were streaming in non-stop. We were running around cooking, and going back and forth to the grocery shop to buy packet drinks,” she said.

Since that incident, her family has turned to a catering service for the special day.

These days, her Raya celebrations are “quieter”, especially after she married businessman Datuk Seri Khalid Jiwa a few years ago.

“I’d normally spend the first few days of Hari Raya at my husband’s hometown. I miss the chaos of Hari Raya in Kuala Lipis,” said the singer.

Her preparation for this year’s celebration is minimal.

Her ever-growing wardrobe means she doesn’t need to shop.

Also, her husband surprised her recently with a few traditional outfits from her favourite boutique in Ampang, Selangor.

“Our preparation is focused on the children (Khalid has four children from his previous marriage.),” she said.

She added that after Raya she plans to stage a charity concert in aid of Yayasan Nurjiwa, a charitable foundation she established with her husband.

The typical husband-and-wife squabble over which kampung to visit is never an issue with her and Khalid.

This year, she will be celebrating the festival in three States.

On the first day of Hari Raya, Siti and her husband will be in Kuala Lumpur before they head for Kedah to be with her in-law’s family. Then the couple will spend the rest of Hari Raya with Siti’s family in Kuala Lipis.

For Siti, Hari Raya is all about keeping traditions alive and, maybe even making new ones to complement the old.

“My family still follows the tradition of having breakfast together on the first day of Raya. That is the most special moment for us,” she said.

Balik kampung is about bonds and keeping family ties alive.

For Siti, reunions between families are even more special during Hari Raya.

“I do get a little mushy at times during Hari Raya. I guess it’s the best time to look back at my life and the journey to where I am today,” said the soft-spoken songstress.

Her younger sister Siti Sairah shares her sentiment that the festive celebration in Kuala Lipis are treasured family moments.

“Since Kak Siti became an artiste, Hari Raya is so much fun for our family. Normally, Kak Siti would be up and about the whole day entertaining guests and well-wishers herself,” said the cherubic Sairah, smiling.

“The last few years have been rather quiet because Kak Siti would normally return to Kuala Lipis only a few days after the first day of Hari Raya.

“In the past, I’d collect the most duit raya. This year, I’ll be giving duit raya instead,” she said.

For Sairah, this year’s celebration is momentous because it marks her first Hari Raya as a recording artiste.

She recently signed a contract with Siti Nurhaliza Productions and admitted to still learning the ropes of the music industry.

“Now I understand what Kak Siti experienced as an artiste. I’m glad that she is supportive,” said Sairah, adding that Siti has imparted valuable tips to her.

“Kak Siti is fussy about image. Time and again, she’ll reminds me that as an artiste, I’ve to look good and presentable,” said the friendly Sairah.

“You see, I’m not the girlish type. I’m a jeans, T-shirt and sneakers kind of girl. But becoming an artiste has been one of the best experiences of my life. A lot of changes have taken place,” she said.

For their elder sister Siti Saida, 32, the tradition and spirit of Hari Raya seems to be lost in cities.

Just like Sairah, this former contestant of reality talent series Akademi Fantasia 6, is celebrating her first Hari Raya as a celebrity this year too.

And what does Hari Raya have in store for the busy mother of four?

She is going to her husband’s hometown in Teluk Intan, Perak, and no doubt be feasting on her favourite festive goodies such as ketupat, rendang, lontong and nasi impit.

“I anticipate more guests and fans coming to the house. To me, there’s nothing like celebrating the festive season in the kampung,” said Saida.

From Hari Raya songs and delicacies to garments, Saida agrees that Hari Raya is about the present and the past.

“Most of our siblings are married and they have their own plans for Hari Raya. I miss the time when my brothers and sisters – including Siti – were ‘tortured’ to do house chores,” she said, laughing.


EFFERVESCENT Siti Sairah, sister of Datuk Seri Siti Nurhaliza, almost caused a stir at the interview-cum-photoshoot, parading in a pretty burgundy kaftan.

“I love this creation because it complements my complexion and it’s my favourite colour too!” Sairah exclaimed, as sibling Siti Saida smiled at her antics.

Sairah, who is in the midst of making a duet album with Saida, took out her handphone and played a song.

(The duet album comprises eight songs – four duets and four solo tunes. The album is slated for release sometime next year.)

“Do you like it?”, she asked, smiling. “I wrote the song myself.”

The catchy, upbeat tune, titled Hero Wayang which features harmony outfit V.E. and Dali of pop/rap group AhliFikir, is enjoying regular airplay.

Before becoming an artiste, Sairah gained both experience and exposure by singing background vocals for Siti (Nurhaliza) during her shows in the past.

“I get the jitters each time I perform with Kak Siti. Don’t worry, I’ll soon learn how to ‘outdo’ her,” she said cheekily, followed by rapturous laughs from Saida and her sister-in-law-cum-manager Rozi.

Saida’s debut duet experience with Siti was during the recording of Teratak Siti, a musical which is aired over TV3 today.

“It was nerve-wracking. I remember how I refused to look at Siti and forget the lyrics!”, said Saida, who will be working closely with Siti for the upcoming duet album.

According to Siti, Siti Nurhaliza Productions (SNP) aims to create a different concept of music, which is slightly off the beaten mainstream track.

So what makes a good SNP star?

“That extra touch. That something different and something special about your voice, image and presentation,” said Siti, who will be busy recording her latest traditional album after Hari Raya.

New Straits Times

Lots Of Specials For Raya

29 Sep

The students of Akademi Fantasia reunite in Konsert Reunion AF6 (tomorrow, Astro Ria, 1pm)

NUMEROUS TV shows for Hari Raya will be screened, from today through the first three days of the festival (Oct 1-3).

Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, accompanied by dancers, sings in Teratak Siti Nurhaliza (tomorrow, TV3, 10am)

Catch siblings Ziana and Anuar Zain in Konsert Fenomena Ziana & Anuar Zain (Tomorrow, RTM2, 3pm
Whether it’s over RTM, TV3, ntv7, 8TV, TV9 or Astro, viewers will be spoilt for choice.

The merriment begins with Bingkisan Aidilfitri (today, TV9, 8.35pm), which evokes the nostalgia of going back to the kampung for Raya.

Salam Lebaran (today, RTM2, 11.30pm) is an interactive programme where viewers can send or call to convey festive greetings on Sampaikan Aidilfitri 2008 (today, TV3, 11.30pm) and 8TV Quickie S.O.S (today, 8TV, 11.45pm).

Traditional and festive Malay songs will be performed in Bintang 2 Zaman (tomorrow, RTM1, 12.05pm) by veteran and new artistes, with Farawahida, Andre Goh, Mariam Ahmad and Izwan Plus among them.

Nite of Soulful Stars Raya Special Part 1 (tomorrow, ntv7, 8.30pm) features Dayang Nurfaizah and Adibah Noor, as well as Indonesian crooners Harvey Malaiholo and Tompi in this classy production.

The second part of the programme will air on Thursday at 8.30pm.

Konsert Amal Kasih Jamal Abdillah & Saleem (Thursday, RTM1, 11.30pm) has Jamal Abdillah and Saleem singing their classic hits. The concert continues the next day (Friday, RTM1, 11.30pm).

There will also be special shows by Malaysia’s favourite diva Datuk Siti Nurhaliza in Teratak Siti Nurhaliza (tomorrow, TV3, 10am) and Eksklusif… Siti Nurhaliza Bersama Peminat (Thursday, RTM2, 11pm).

If you are a fan of Akademi Fantasia, then catch Konsert Reunion AF6 (tomorrow, Astro Ria, 1pm) when ex-AF6 students like Stacy, Riz, Nubhan and Nadia will perform.

Konsert Fenomena Ziana & Anuar Zain (tomorrow, RTM2, 3pm) will feature the siblings belting out some of their evergreen songs, as well as new songs.

For something a little different, Astro Ria (Astro Channel 104) will air tomorrow Kelab Pop Raya (9.30am), a game show where local celebrities like Erra Fazira and Umie Aida answer questions about Raya culture and songs.

Deko Bersama Eric Raya (Astro Ria, Friday, 4pm) features host Eric Leong giving tips on decorating your home as well as how to entertain guests for the special occasion. He will be joined by celebrity guests such as Dynaz, Sarimah Ibrahim and Jaclyn Victor.

For the more adventurous and young-at-heart, indie bands such as Deja Voodo Spells, Estranged, One Buck Short and and Meet Uncle Hussain will perform in Konsert Indie Raya (tomorrow, 8TV, 11am).

GhazalRock (Thursday, TV3, 10am), a programme celebrating an interesting fusion of rock and traditional ghazal music, features performances by Ning Baizura, Faizal Tahir and Jinbara.

Movies to look out for during the festive occasion are The Fast and the Furious (today, ntv7, 11.45pm) starring Vin Diesel, Batman Begins (tomorrow, ntv7, 11.45pm) starring Christian Bale and The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers (tomorrow, 8TV, 10pm) starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and Ian McKellen.

Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang, the best film winner in the 21st Malaysian Film Festival recently, will air on Astro Kirana (tomorrow, Astro Channel 122, 9pm).

If you haven’t seen Jangan Pandang Belakang, the local film that broke the box-office record, will air over RTM 1 at 9pm on Friday.

Also worth watching is teen flick Dunia Baru The Movie (Friday, TV3, 9pm).

New Straits Times

WordHasIt: Time To Sharpen Film Marketing Strategies

23 Sep

Mizal (left) and Emylia posing at their restaurant Zucchero Cafe in KL.

With the progress of technology, buying and selling films and TV serials via the Internet creates a huge potential for Malaysian products to make it big internationally.

Siti will be featured in a TV serial to be aired over TV3 next year.

But you need a marketing strategy.

“At a time when Malaysian cinema stands poised to influence the global film arena, filmmakers need to embrace the importance of marketing their movies,” said Finas director-general Mohd Mahyidin Mustakim at a meeting held at the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) in Ulu Kelang, Selangor recently.

The meeting focused on the benefits of marketing strategies, sales and acquisitions of local films/TV shows for international film markets.

“If Malaysian filmmakers have the right formula to market their films abroad, there’s a lot of money to be made internationally. There are many local filmmakers who are interested to make films for the overseas market and to bring home big money,” he added.
Yet, he stressed, there is a big gap between how films are marketed locally and how they are marketed abroad. There is, however, a growing interest in film distribution abroad.

Therefore, it is crucial to provide the exposure and marketing practices to help these films make the crossover, said Mahyidin.

Understandably, taking part in a international film markets will help penetrate the international arena.

With the co-operation of Finas, Malaysian producers have, to date, participated in three major international film markets including Hong Kong FilmArt in Wanchai, Hong Kong; and MIPTV and MIPCOM (both held in Cannes, France).

According to Mahyidin, local producers who are keen to participate in the international film markets will obtain a RM5,000 fund from Finas. (So far, Finas has invested RM120,000 to assist 24 films in promotion and publicity aspects.)

He added that the total statistics on transactions made by local producers at previous international film markets was RM1.57million.

“It’s a modest figure compared to what the other big players such as Hollywood and Bollywood are making. Yet we have realised that Malaysian products are slowly getting the recognition. Normally, our products such as documentaries, animated series and TV serials are the hot-sellers among TV producers from the Middle East and Europe.

“Foreign film producers, on the other hand, will opt for action-packed movies and thrillers. What with the present gloomy climate of cinema-dome worldwide, foreign producers are cutting costs and have not been actively acquiring programmes from other countries,” said Mahyidin.

He added that film producers are able to obtain fresh and new knowledge of the international film scene.

“They can learn everything – from artistic trends and high-end technology to the market ecology and mode of operation, and thus have a wide and realistic frame of reference,” he added.

Mahyidin also revealed that Finas will be taking part in the American Film Market (AFM) at Santa Monica in United States from Nov 5 to 12.

Five production houses have confirmed participation including Grand Brilliance Sdn Bhd, Hez Communication, Les’ Copaque Production, Line Clear Production and Take One Production.

* Film actor/TV personality AC Mizal and his wife, Emylia Rosnaida, have followed in the footsteps of rocker Amy Search to set up a food business.

Mizal, who previously hosted the sixth season of Akademi Fantasia, recently launched his restaurant, Zucchero Cafe, which is located at Warisan Cityview in Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

The restaurant offers both Western and Asian cuisine.

According to Emylia, the idea to set up the restaurant came about two years ago.

“As we’re financially stable, we feel that it’s timely for us to invest in a profitable venture, which is naturally, the food business,” said Amilia, adding that the restaurant is operated by their share partners.

“Mizal will come to the restaurant three times a week to monitor its operations,” she added.

Zucchero Cafe opens from 11am to 1am and offers free wi-fi service.

Mizal will be starring in My Spy, a comedy directed by Afdlin Shauki. Produced by KRU Films Berhad, the film also boasts Harun Salim Bachik and Choy May Wan.

Apart from that, his fans will be able to catch the revamped version of his talkshow, AC DiSini, over Astro Ria (Channel 104) beginning November.

* THE nation’s most-loved songstress Datuk Siti Nurhaliza may soon be seen on TV – in a different role. Word is that she will appear in a TV serial over TV3 sometime next year.

* IT is rumoured that film actor/director/TV personality Adlin Aman Ramlie and his actress-girlfriend Emelda Rosmila may tie the knot some time next year.

The celebrity couple has been dating for the past three years. So far, no official announcement has been made.

New Straits Times

HEAR: Festive Season Fare

19 Sep

Siti Nurhaliza and others
(Suria Records)

SITI Nurhaliza’s popular rendition of Hari Raya songs is now way up there – together with other Hari Raya must-have tunes including Selamat Hari Raya (Saloma) and Hai Selamat Hari Raya (Datuk Sharifah Aini), Dari Jauh Ku Pohon Maaf (Sudirman) and Suasana Hari Raya (Anuar and Elina), to name a few.

So it came as no surprise when this compilation arrived on my desk. A quick browse through the 16 songs by Siti and other female artistes under the label revealed that it had left out one hit song – the upbeat Nazam Lebaran.

If not for her other hit Hari Raya songs – Sesuci Lebaran, Anugerah Aidilfitri, Airmata Syawal, Bila Hari Raya Menjelma – I would have been so disappointed. Besides, all songs have been previously released at various stages in the singer’s career.

The group song Aidilfitri di Alaf Baru, despite having Siti’s faultless vocals, still fails to impress me, especially when it gets to the line “lebaran dengan keazaman, melangkah menuju wawasan” loosely translated to mean celebrating Raya with a vision. Somehow, Hari Raya and politics just don’t mix.

The guitar-driven 5 Waktu by Indonesian singer Yuni Shara is a winner, for turning contemporary pop into a spiritual tune about man’s relationship with God. The album’s VCD version is also available. – FAF

Selected tracks: Anugerah Aidilfitri, Bila Hari Raya Menjelma, Sesuci Lebaran

Rating: HHH´

Warner Music)

UNDOUBTEDLY, Warner Music is responsible for putting nasyid back on radio and in listeners’ hearts with the release of Raihan’s first album, Puji-Pujian, in the late 1990s, decades after popularising the ’70s nasyid group Al-Mizan.

With the release of this compilation, featuring 16 popular spiritual songs from renowned established and new groups, fans will have plenty to thank the label for.

In the album are hits by Raihan (Puji-Pujian, Syukur), Rabbani (Muhammad Ya Habibi, Doa Pujian), Hijjaz (Rasulullah), UNIC (Hanya Tuhan Yang Tahu), Nowseeheart (Damai), In-Team (Impian Kasih) as well as a duet by Jay Jay and Mirwana (Aku Tanpa Cintamu).

Al-Mizan’s popular track back in the ’70s Junjungan Mulia, is also featured here – and what a difference in sound it is! After so long, to hear such crisp quality is a whole new experience. Too bad it’s not available for ringback tone mobile downloads.

Ya Nami Salamun ‘Alaika, by Raihan, Nowseeheart, Hijjaz, Brothers and Amaluddin, is an example of great vocal group singing. It’s richly textured and layered. – FAF

Selected tracks: Syukur, Junjungan Mulia

Ratings: HHH´

Al-Mizan, Al-Jawaher, Hidayah
(Warner Music)

THIS digitally re-mastered collection of 24 popular nasyid tunes (in two discs) from yesteryear carry much nostalgic and spiritual beauty.

Those who grew up in the ’70s will have plenty of reasons to rejoice with the release with this compilation. Now, in digital format, you can hear all the things you didn’t pick up when the songs were released on records.

For one thing, the vocal harmonising is all over the place and the vocalists tend to be too sharp or too flat. Pitching is another area that the record producers forgot to address back then. But never mind, they still warm up my hearts in this festive season and beyond.

Female nasyid groups Al-Mizan, Al-Jawaher and Hidayah were all part of the industry’s musical landscape before the more radio-friendly and ground-breaking Pop Yeh Yeh took over the airwaves and made themselves relevant to popular culture.

With these nasyid groups, there’s nothing glamorous about their image and their voices are rather plain, but the beautiful melodies and the vocalists’ earnestness won us over. And of course the retro tunes (some of which are penned by M.Nasir himself)! – FAF

Selected tracks: Doaku, Mari Bersembahyang, Perjalanan, Junjungan Mulia… and so many more!

Rating: HHH´

New Straits Times

Datuk K Quashes Rumours Of Second Wife

16 Sep

 Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza  at a press conference during a breaking fast function in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza at a press conference during a breaking fast function in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Did Datuk Seri Khalid Mohd Jiwa marry another?

When posed the question yesterday, Khalid, who was present at a breaking fast function organised by Siti Nurhaliza Production, was a picture of calm.

“It’s totally baseless; the so-called marriage never took place.

“If it was true, when did it happen and to whom did I get married to?

“In short, it was just gossip. The weird thing is, why do reporters like to blow things out of proportion over something that is completely baseless?
“I guess that’s the price I have to pay for marrying someone like Siti.”

Siti, who was seated beside her husband, was all smiles and composed.

“I know that these bloggers and gossip-mongers who started the rumour wanted to see me blow my top.

“But I have never doubted my husband’s loyalty.

“However, after so many friends asked me personally about it, I did ask Datuk Seri if it was true, and he denied it.”

At the event, Siti Nurhaliza Production took the opportunity to introduce the artistes under its stable.

They included her sisters, Saerah and Saida, and a band called Coda.

New Straits Times