Angah is a big guy who just wants to have fun, but Dennis Chua finds out that he has a serious side too
BEFORE he became a household name, Iskandar Shah Hashim was a wisecracking salesman in Johor Baru and Skudai. Today, viewers cheer him on the big and small screens because he is a leading name in homegrown comedy.
If Iskandar does not ring a bell, that is because he is popularly known as Angah.
“I’d always dreamt of becoming a comedian,” says the Skudai-born funnyman who has a 9-year-old daughter, Nurina Fasha, from a previous marriage.
“I was a salesman and I motivated co-workers with my humour and positive thinking,” he says.
The second of eight siblings, the 34-year-old is a close friend of fellow comedian Nizamuddin Ahmad or Along of Johor Baru.
Both found fame in the Astro reality comedian search show Raja Lawak — Angah was in the first season in 2006 while Along was in the second the following year.
“We met 10 years ago in Larkin, Johor Baru. Along was our resident DJ,” says Angah.
With their love for comedy and optimism, Along and Angah became best friends.
“There is a major difference between us — Along is slim and talkative while I’m big and quiet,” says Angah.
The duo often star together in films and their best known works are Metrowealth’s Adnan Sempit 1 and 2, and Alamak Toyol and Outloud Studios’ Satu Malam Kubur Berasap and Jidin Sengal.
Angah’s other films include Ngangkung, Nongkrong and Aku Ada Kau Ada with Shaheizy Sam. He will soon appear in Seram Sejuk, his second protagonist role after Satu Malam Kubur Berasap, Laki-Laki, Taikun and Wawa Semput, the last two with Along.
“Seram Sejuk scares as much as it tickles. I play a film editor who is in love with his assistant who is being pursued by the producer. We go to the location of our film and that’s where the haunting starts,” says Angah.
Seram Sejuk also stars Sabahan actress Wawa Zainal and veteran comedian Sabri Yunus.
“Sabri has given me lots of advice on how to excel in comedy,” says Angah who names Sabri, AR Badol, Afdlin Shauki, Datuk Jamali Shadat, Saiful Apek and the late Husni Rawi (Bob Kuman) as his idols.
“They were my critics during Raja Lawak and helped me grow as a funnyman,” says Angah.
As a “big boy”, Angah believes he has to work twice as hard to become a star. “Plus-sized talents have to be more than just actors. In the United States, American comedian Jack Black sings and acts, for example.”
The multi-talented Angah also emcees events, cooks, sings and does stunts.
“I made it to the finals of Celebrity Master Chef with Fazley Yaakob,” he says.
As a singer, Angah admits he is an amateur and credits Along, Nubhan Ahamad, Tomok, Ismaliza Ismail (Tomok’s sister) and Zila Seeron (Along’s wife) as his favourites.
“They are fun-loving and act well too. Along and I will be releasing our debut album soon,” he says.
Angah is at home with light stunts, since he is “bouncy”.
“I love getting physical, since it is exercise. My favourite stunt is the split and I was applauded for it in Aku Ada Kau Ada,” he says.
He admits that there is a serious side to his comedies. “While comedy makes us laugh, it’s a great way to educate Malaysians on human values,” he says.
The most important lesson viewers can draw from comedians is that humour is 1Malaysia.
“Showbiz brings the people together,” says Angah who is of Malay-Indian heritage and sees himself as Bangsa Malaysia.
Angah appears in dramas from time to time, but his characters are comical.
“As my career grows, I’ll play more mature roles but I’ll still be funny,” he says.
While he has yet to win an award, Angah sees good box office sales as “awards”. “I have a long way to go, but I’ll be there. Along the way, I’ll still have fun.”