Dennis Chua gives a round-up of the recent 25th edition of Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian
ON both sides of the Causeway, Aaron Aziz is the man with the Midas touch on the silver screen. Almost every film he stars in is “gold” to viewers in Malaysia and Singapore.
A dashing, muscular gentleman, he is deemed the ideal Malay hero to single and married women alike.
Macho Aaron sets every cinema screen on fire with his versatile acting, and is described by filmmakers and viewers as a super actor. He has played almost every role — romantic hero, no-nonsense lawman, ruthless villain and funnyman.
His best known characters in recent years are as a male chauvinist in the tear-jerker Ombak Rindu, a reformed gangster in KL Gangster and a dashing undercover cop in Datin Ghairah and Pisau Cukur.
Last Sunday night at the Arena Of Stars in Genting Highlands, Aaron, 36, garnered 87,000 votes from Berita Harian readers to win Most Popular Artiste in Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2011.
It was his first major win in the annual awards, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.
And he received the strongest applause from the audience each time his name was mentioned by the co-hosts and awards presenters.
Aaron’s strongest contenders were 2010’s Most Popular Artiste Shaheizy Sam, 2010’s Most Popular Film Actress Lisa Surihani, singers and songwriters Yuna, Faizal Tahir, Hafiz Suip and Aizat Amdan, and popular funnyman Zizan Razak.
“It’s so good to win. From the bottom of my heart, I’d love to thank all my friends, fans and family members especially my wife Diana Halik, who has always inspired me to excel in show business,” said Aaron, who also acts in television dramas in Malaysia and Singapore.
“Diana is my biggest fan and critic. She always tells me that I can be the best in Malaysian cinema if I believe in myself and hold on to my dreams.”
Aaron, who admits being recognised for his roles in Ombak Rindu and KL Gangster off-screen, always wanted to be an actor, and has spent more than a decade playing various supporting roles on the big and small screens.
“At times, it was tough. I was praised and skewered in equal measure by fans. But along the way I learnt that there is no gain without pain and I must take challenges by playing different characters.”
Aaron, a fan of Tan Sri P. Ramlee, Singaporean filmmaker Jack Neo, Shaheizy, Syamsul Yusof and Maya Karin, will be appearing in television series Adam Dan Hawa later this year. He will also appear in the films KL Gangster 2, Tycoon and Kerat 14.
“Syamsul is one of the finest directors I have worked with. I’d love to team up with Jack someday as he is the most iconic filmmaker from my hometown,” said Aaron.
“I love being ambiguous characters, men who are not perfect yet have redeeming qualities at the end of the movie.”
Aaron beat off a strong challenge from Shaheizy to win the Popular Film Actor title. Also nominated for Popular TV Actor, he failed to beat Fizz Fairuz of Nur Kasih and Cinta Kura-Kura. Fizz toppled his Nur Kasih co-star Remy Ishak who won Popular TV Actor last year.
The hugely popular Maya, who co-starred with Aaron in Ombak Rindu, bagged the Popular Film Actress title. Maya said: “I look forward to playing more diverse characters. I’d love to be an unrecognisable character next.”
Maya also paid tribute to Aizat, her favourite singer and songwriter. “I’d love to collaborate with him in TV programmes someday.”
Seven-time winner Fasha Sandha, known for being a hard-worker, defended her Popular TV Actress title.
Fasha, who was presented with her award by Syamsul, said: “There is no substitute for perseverance in show business. When you are down, the only way to save yourself is to climb back up by giving better performances.”
Syamsul said: “Fasha is a true professional. I love working with her.”
Soulful singers Jaclyn Victor, Ning Baizura and Shila Amzah, also known as Tiga Suara, won the Popular Group/Duo category. Jaclyn and Shila paid tribute to 8TV for discovering them via reality talent shows Malaysian Idol and One In A Million respectively.
The Popular Male and Female Newcomers were budding actors Johan Asari of Juvana and Tasha Shilla Razak of Klip 3GP respectively.
“I love working with Zahiril Adzim, one of the finest actors we have. Juvana will not be my last television series or movie with him,” said Johan, a staunch fan of Juvana star Zahiril.
“Competition was stiff because of Neelofa. She is a great friend and a promising actress and television personality,” said Tasha, who looks forward to collaborating with singer-actress Fina Jebat.
Fara Fauzana continues to reign as Popular Female Television Presenter and Popular Female Radio Presenter. Her close pals Zizan and Faizal Ismail were voted Popular Male Television Presenter and Popular Male Radio Presenter respectively.
Zizan received his award from his mentor Aznil Nawawi, last year’s Popular Male Television Presenter, who announced that he was making way for new blood.
Fara reminded her juniors in the industry to be known for their achievements rather than for the wrong reasons.
Veteran singer Datuk Sheila Majid was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to local entertainment.
She dedicated the award to her parents, children and husband Acis, who has supported her show business career from the start.
Pop queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza beat 11 other Most Popular Artistes to bag the special Anugerah Perak, which marks the annual awards’ 25th anniversary.
“Thank you so much. We must always remember to reach for the stars and bring Malaysian entertainment to greater heights,” she said, praising her fellow nominees as role models.
The awards, with Celebration as its fashion theme, began at 8.30pm with a celebration of American pop king Michael Jackson and pop queen Whitney Houston.
Sabah’s energetic pop and dance star Stacy Anam mesmerised the 10,000-strong crowd with an explosive interpretation of Jackson’s Thriller. The sweet choreographer and her dancers were joined by Malaysia’s top Jackson impersonator, Jordan Sam, whose moonwalking was flawless.
Dressed in royal blue, Siti came next, accompanied by Alyah Abu Hassan.
Alyah did justice to Lady Gaga’s infectious Bad Romance while Siti sang a beautiful Houston medley of I Will Always Love You and Queen Of The Night. They were joined by actresses Watie Sadali, Maria Farida, Ezlynn Ariffin and
Lisdawati, perfect guest dancers for the evening.
Lisdawati stole the show waltzing with her actor husband Fauzi Nawawi. The loving couple who once won dance reality show Sehati Berdansa proved they were the best celebrity ballroom dancers among the guests.
Hosts Zizan, Didie Alias, Raja Azura and Sharifah Shahirah subsequently entered the stage in sizzling silver, gold, red, green and black Makyong costumes.
Having teamed up for the first time last year, the “funny four” frequently kept the audience in stitches with their light-hearted banter generously peppered with show business news and gimmicks of the past few months.
Raja Azura reasoned that their Makyong outfits were specially to honour the country’s national heritage from Kelantan.
Several performances lit up the evening, the best of which was Ziana Zain’s duet with Azlan And The Typewriter’s lead singer Azlan Roslee.
The duo received a standing ovation for their flawless duets comprising Meet Uncle Hussain’s Lagu Untukmu and Ziana’s Anggapanmu.
Another noteworthy performance was the theme from Ombak Rindu, performed by Hafiz and Adira Suhaimi. What made it magical was the presence of Aaron, Lisa and Maya who acted out pivotal scenes from the movie.
Musical sifu Datuk M. Nasir performed his gem Tanya Sama Itu Hud-Hud, accompanied by Aizat and Tam of Spider. The talented trio had great fun on stage.
Sheila’s performance of her hit songs Sinaran and Antara Anyir Dan Jakarta was a hit with fans. Like Siti, she was elegant in royal blue.
Ziana’s brother Anuar Zain and Dayang Nurfaizah sang a romantic medley of Tan Sri P. Ramlee and Puan Sri Saloma songs, Tunggu Sekejap and Malam Bulan Dipagar Bintang, while Black and Najwa Latif had an equally impressive reinterpretation of Datuk Sharifah Aini’s and Broery Marantika’s Seiring Dan Sejalan.
Datuk Sudirman Arshad fan Bob Yusof was excellent with his idol’s Merisik Khabar, while Shila and Jaclyn delivered heartfelt renditions of Siti’s Nirmala and Zaiton Sameon’s Menaruh Harapan respectively.
Another class act was’s Datuk Sharifah Aini’s protege Shiha Zikir who performed Amelina’s dangdut hit Rindu.
She was joined by Ramlah Ram who got the crowd excited singing Selamat Jalan Romeo, and One Nation Emcees, who gave a fun-filled Kopi Dangdut.
The other performers for the evening, all of whom did not disappoint, were Mas Idayu, Salma Aziz, Hazama Azmi and Faizal Tahir.
The awards presenters were Ady Putra, Datuk DJ Dave, Rosyam Nor, Nur Fazura Sharifuddin, Eman Manan, Nora Danish, Syamsul, Syafiq Yusof, Afdlin Shauki, Harun Salim Bachik, Mustafa Kamal, Datin Seri Normala Shamsuddin, Nurul Syuhada Mohd Zin, Ridzuan Hashim and Wan Maimunah.
Aaron won a Nissan Teana 2.5 and jewellery from Rafflesia. The winner in each category received jewellery sets by Rafflesia worth RM10,000 each. The show was carried live over TV3 at 9pm.