Funnyman Saiful Apek believes in forgetting negative episodes and cherishing positive ones, writes Dennis Chua
THE name Saiful Azam Yusoff, or more famously Saiful Apek, is synonymous with comedy. However, this year has been a bittersweet ride for the funnyman.
Early this year Saiful, who recently turned 43, was cleared by the courts from alleged drug-taking and had a minor “war of words” on Facebook with acclaimed filmmaker David Teo.
Saiful also lost his close friend Husni Rawi (or Bob Kuman) who died after a long illness; Saiful was then still mourning the demise of his mentor, veteran actor-comedian Zami Ismail late last year.
“When the seas are rough, I have to try my best to navigate them,” he says, “and I guess I’ve done it.” Saiful appears in his latest comedy, Hantu Air, on Sept 6.
“The disagreement with David was very minor, really, and it’s regrettable that some fans made it out to be a ‘royal argument’. We patched up very quickly and I look forward to being in his movies next year.”
Hantu Air was Saiful’s last collaboration with Zami, whom he grew up idolising.
“Pak Zami was a father figure to me. Without him, there would be no Saiful Apek. He showed me the ropes and offered constructive criticism all the way.”
Saiful is spending Hari Raya Aidilfitri with his wife of 18 years, Roslina Hassan, and their sons Aslam, 12 and Aiman, nine.
“It will be a simple Raya at our Subang Jaya home. While I have relatives in Parit, Perak and Segamat, my immediate family is in the Klang Valley.”
Besides visiting relatives, Saiful will also visit his actor friends, most notably Yasin Yahaya, who is under his Gitu-Gitu Productions.
“Yasin is taking things easy as a behind-the-scenes mentor to new comedians but he is very much still an actor. We will be appearing in two movies soon, the first is with the rock group Sofazr,” says Saiful.
Saiful, Yasin and Sofazr will star in Sofazr Jiwa Kacau, which premieres on Sept 27. Next year, the duo will appear in Mana Mahu Lari? A Senario comedy troupe reunion will be taking place at year’s end and Saiful is excited about it.
Besides Yasin and Saiful, Senario founder members Ilya Buang Shahrum and Hamdan Ramli will join the troupe’s remaining members Azlee Jaafar, Mazlan Ahmad and Wahid Mohamad in the showcase.
“Ilya and Hamdan were the members whom Yasin and I replaced. I was reunited with them in Hantu Air, where Ilya and I play employees of a resort and Hamdan, a visitor.”
Both Saiful’s sons are talented in their own ways. “Aiman is musically inclined and has his own band. Aslam loves football,” says Saiful. “While they are free to pursue their passions in future, my wife and I want them to go on to university first.”
Saiful is delighted to work with Hantu Air director Murali Abdullahas he is full of ideas and encourages his actors and actresses to develop their respective characters on their own. “It is the same with Ahmad Idham whom I’ve known since my Senario days. I’d love to collaborate with him again, and my most cherished moment with the man is when he ‘injected’ me with a giant syringe in the movie Senario Lagi,” he says.
Saiful would love to star in cross-border collaborations in future.
“I had a small but important role in The Wedding Game, a popular Singapore movie. I made good friends with some very talented actors and actresses from the Lion City and I’d love to work with them again,” he says.