Through the musical Hoore! Hoore!, the artiste’s legacy lives on, writes Hizreen Kamal
HE witnessed the glory days of the late Datuk Sudirman Arshad, while she re-lived the great entertainer’s life through his popular hits.
Award-winning film director Saw Teong Hin, 49, and actress Kilafairy (real name Syakila Nisha), 20, may belong to two different generations, but one thing they have in common is their adulation of one of Asia’s top entertainers who died two decades ago.
Saw pays homage to Sudirman with his latest film Hoore! Hoore! which opened last Thursday.
Based on Sudirman’s hit songs, the rom-com musical features songs such as Bercanda Di Pasiran Pantai, Kasih, Merisik Khabar, Pelangi Petang, Anak Gembala, Balik Kampung, Hoore Hoore, Salam Terakhir, Milik Siapakah Gadis Ini, Basikal Tua, One Thousand Million Smiles, Terasing and Ayah Dan Ibu.
Produced by Real Film and Astro Shaw, it stars Kilafairy and newcomers Nurfarah Nazirah and Akim Ahmad of Astro’s popular TV reality show Akademi Fantasia fame.
A HUGE FAN
Saw has been a fan of Sudirman from the beginning of the singer’s career.
“I can still remember his first appearance on the Bintang RTM show — his Big Spender was brilliant. I was especially proud when I saw his performance of One Thousand Million Smiles at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where he beat big names such as Leslie Cheung and Anita Sarawak to clinch Best Performer at the Asia Music Awards in the ’80s.”
The idea for a musical came after Saw watched Mamma Mia! in 2008. He figured Malaysia should have a musical which features popular local songs which have survived the test of time.
He has always wanted to direct a musical but had to put it on hold due to lukewarm responses from local film producers who feel that a musical genre only caters to a small audience.
But he went on to work on the project anyway, holding on to a Sudirman quote that goes “Kita dalam menghadapi kehidupan, jangan taruh pagar mengelilingi kita” (never be restricted by limitations).
In February last year, Astro Shaw came to his rescue and agreed to co-produce the film.
“It’s a big risk but I took it as a challenge. As a filmmaker, I need to offer something different to our audience. There are just too many horror movies in the market,” he says.
“This is my little contribution to Sudirman’s music legacy. Those who lived during his era will have the chance to be re-acquainted with his music, while the younger generation will get to know more about this great entertainer.”
Filming took place in May last year in Janda Baik and the Klang Valley.
MAKING THE MOVIE
Saw discovered Nurfarah Nazirah (who plays Nurul Aiman) at an audition. She makes her acting debut in Hoore! Hoore!.
The supporting cast also features new faces like Shahila Shariff, Syafiqah Md. Jemey, Afi Faris and Nur Syazwana, among established names such as Harun Salim Bachik, Fauziah Nawi, Adibah Noor and Shahronizam Noor.
Nurfarah was picked as Saw wanted a fresh face, “someone who embodies the character and also sings, dances and acts well”.
Making this film with budget limitations meant that Saw had to put in long hours and achieve a lot in a short filming schedule. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic.
“This is my first time directing a musical. It’s nothing like directing a film. In a musical, everything is specific. It’s all about who sings what, when and for how long. Timing is critical. And everything has to be worked out beforehand. And, of course, there is the choreography, dance rehearsals, song recording and 1,001 more things to do!”
Renowned composer Audi Mok was roped in as music director. Under his musicianship, the songs underwent new arrangements without losing their original melodies.
“I didn’t want the reworked tunes to become unrecognisable,” Saw says, adding that Hoore! Hoore! is a fun family entertainment, and everyone can relate to the theme of self-belief.
“I hope new generation of music lovers will come to know Sudirman’s legacy through Hoore! Hoore!,” says Saw, who has several film projects in the pipeline.
SINGING SUDIRMAN’S TUNES
“I wish I had a chance to know him personally. He is one of my favourite entertainers because he put his soul into every song he sang,” says Kilafairy, whose mother is veteran singer Rohana Jalil.
Everything she knows about Sudirman comes from research, which include anecdotes shared by her mother, who during her heyday, had shared the stage with Sudirman in several shows.
“Mama told me that he was humble and down-to-earth. And every time he performed, all eyes would be drawn to him, and the audience was always guaranteed a good time.”
Her admiration for the late Sudirman was the reason for her involvement in Hoore! Hoore!
“Being part of a project which pays tribute to the biggest name in local entertainment is a big deal for me. I hope I’ve made him proud,” says Kilafairy, whose favourite Sudirman’s number is Salam Terakhir.
On starring in a musical where she had to sing, dance and act, Kilafairy says: “I never thought it was going to be difficult. Since none of us are trained dancers, mistakes abound. Imagine having to re-shoot a scene over and over again until everything looks perfect.”
In the movie, she performs One Thousand Million Smiles, which has been given a more edgy feel. “It gives the audience a little teaser to my vocal skills,” says Kilafairy who will launch her first single next month.
This graduate of Fashion Marketing & Management diploma from Raffles International College plays Rita who is the most popular girl in school. Rita has her eyes set on Johari (Akim), only to find out that he has fallen for someone else. (see following page)