“I USED to carry nasi bungkus and air sirap in plastic bags for some 30 people while riding in a packed and speeding pink mini bus. Can you picture that?” veteran actor Datuk Rosyam Nor said. He was describing his early days of working in the film industry circa 1980s.
Now a multiple award-winning actor, television host, film producer and businessman, the millionaire is unashamed to have started from the bottom. He used to be an assistant crew member with production company, Berjaya Film.
“Back then, there were no catering services, so I was the budak who had to get food for the cast and crew,” Rosyam, 51, said.
“I did all sorts of odd jobs like cleaning toilets, being a driver, macam-macam.”
He grew up in a squatter settlement in Kuala Lumpur’s Kampung Kerinchi, and jumped at the chance to become an actor after completing his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia.
“I had always knew I wanted to become an actor; I wanted to be my own boss,” he said.
He made his big screen debut in the 1985 movie Gila-Gila Remaja, which featured his cousin Faizal Hussein in the lead role.
His rise to fame was a slow process, but his perseverance and screen presence were too hard to ignore.
In 1999, Rosyam, whose real name is Mohamed Noor Shamsuddin, received the Best Supporting Actor award at the Asia Pacific Film Festival (for Lenjan), and at the Malaysian Film Festival (Bara).
Since then, he has graced more than 50 productions on big and small screens, including playing a villain in the Indian-Tamil hit movie Kabali in 2016, which starred Indian superstar Rajinikanth.
“The new batch of actors are a fortunate bunch. There are a lot of production companies now, and more TV stations that air dramas and such, providing them with a lot of opportunities to hone and practise their craft,” he said.
He said he used to take the bus to get to his film sets, adding: “Those who had more money would grab a taxi instead.”
He said the local film industry was thriving and had attracted new talent, who were well educated and came from various backgrounds.
“That is a good thing. Some of them are really talented. People like Bront Palarae and such.”
Fans of thrillers will be able to see Rosyam in action in the new Syafiq Yusof-directed film, KL Special Force, which opens in cinemas on Thursday.
In the film, Rosyam stars as a veteran police officer in a special unit who has to work with a new and younger agent, played by Fattah Amin, in order to thwart a slippery villain played by Syafiq.
“I am thankful to be working with young and talented people with fresh ideas.
“They bring a vibrant energy to the scene,” he said.
Rosyam also plays Datuk Misbun Sidek in upcoming sports biopic Lee Chong Wei: Rise Of The Legend.