Saturday, May 31, 2008


This is it ladies and gentlemen. The first teaser promo of the second season of my TV series Bilik No. 13. If all goes well, the series will air within two months.

Friday, May 30, 2008


May 29 has been declared Hari Artis (Seniman would have been more apt). The Prime Minister, YAB Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi, officiated the launch of the said Day at the Putra World Trade Centre this morning. The new Culture, Arts and Heritage (plus Unity) Minister Y.B. Dato Seri Shafie Apdal was also present.
Why was May 29 selected to be the said Hari Artis? Well, it is the day our Seniman Agung Tan Sri P. Ramlee passed away over three decades ago. Thirty five years ago to be exact.
Wait a minute. We are celebrating his death? We mark the day he died as Hari Artis? Hmmmm...interesting concept choosing a date of a person's death for a day of celebration. Can you think of any other celebration that marks someone's death?
Do we celebrate Hari Pahlawan (Warriors' Day) on the day of a famous warrior's day of death? Do we select Hari Guru (Teacher's Day) to mark the death of Za'aba or former top educationists?
Wouldn't it better if the date selected commemorated the birth of that person instead of his death? We celebrate Maulud Nabi right? That's to celebrate the birth of our prophet Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. Come to think of it, do we celebrate the day of his kewafatan or his passing?
Whatever it is, it's been done. May 29th, the day our greatest artiste passed away, has been declared Hari Artis. So be it.


I want to take this opportunity to apologise to all the long-time bloggers for my 'appearance' in Malay Mail's Blogspot today. Maybe many believe that as a young blogger (one year this July), I shouldn't be featured. Well, you know what? Tough luck. Hehehhehehe.
Anyway, I would like to thank Sheila Rahman for picking on me, oops, I mean picking me. When you told me you actually read my blog, the visitor statistics jumped 100 percent. Me - one. With Sheila - two!! Hundred percent leap in visitor numbers!
And now with the plug in Malay Mail, I'm sure the numbers will increase threefold - to six!!! Hehehehe.
Seriously, folks, I really would like to say thank you to Malay Mail for blogspotting me today.
The article was one of the few bright things that happened to me today.
I took time off with the Home Affairs Minister (my wife) and my number two son, Hadi, to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center for the Bookfest. I had missed the National Book Fair recently so I didn't want to miss this one. Heck, I should have. The Bookfest was just a big Popular Bookstore fair. Nothing much else. I think 50% of the hall was Mandarin books! And to top it all off, I had to pay to get into the hall.
There was nothing much for me to buy in terms of books, since the interesting ones were in Mandarin. The other books on display or for sale are those readily available in any other bookstore in town, so it was nothing great being there. Nevertheless, I got a couple of DVDs that were on sale and nothing much else. The wife bought a DVD on Chinese Tea Preparation (no English subtitles and in Mandarin) and I bought an old live TV recording of the Rat Pack (Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra) in action.
After the visit, I wondered - would a Malay book exhibition or fair draw the same kind of crowd like this one did? I'm sure the National Book Fair had plenty of BM books on display and for sale - but compared to what Popular Bookstore did at this Bookfest of theirs, I just wonder you know?
Anyways, its going to be a long night for me as I need to rewrite my scripts for Bejalai and Ronggeng since the location owner has increased his price to something I can't afford - not on my measly TV budget. So it's gonna be a sleepless night whilst I try to solve my own Gordion Knot. Arggggghhhhh!


i was pleasantly surprised when I received a call today from Den Wahab who said that my old comedy series Gado Gado is being screened on AstroRia. I just caught one episode a few minutes back on AstroRia. I guess, the series is sold to AstroRia by my former production comapny Double Vision, since the rights may have reverted back to them from RTM.
As most of our fans remember, Gado Gado began way back in 1992 and lasted til 1994 on RTM. It came on air for the first time on Deepavali in 1992, a few months before Jangan Ketawa appeared on TV3.
Gado Gado was just an irreverent comedy series inspired much by Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches and Rowan Atkinson's Not The Nine O'clock News and Benny Hill. It became a cult hit and still has many fans.
I was lucky to have the best actors on set - the original line up were Jalil Hamid, Den Wahab, Ebby Saiful, Ebby Yus, Imuda and Sheila Rusly. Others who became part of the series over the two years include Sofia Jane, Wan Maimunah, Ramasundram, Hamid Gurkha, Herdawatie, Zainal T.J., Thorpe Ali, Nora Den Wahab and Isma Aliff.
It was one of my favourite series to produce until RTM came up with a list of things we couldn't make fun of. This included no Malay actors playing Chinese or Indian characters, cannot make fun of politicians or political events, cannot make fun of the news format.
After three seasons, I gave up even though the crew wanted to slog it out. But the writing was on the wall, and in the fourth season the comedy fell flat. We decided enough is enough. We instead began developing a new comedy series in the same vein as Gado Gado for a short lived TV station - MetroTV. The series was called Ya Bendahara. I can say for sure that the series was one of the most funniest series ever made for TV, but MetroTv was only a KL TV station at that time, so the series couldn't get the following it required. In fact, Ya Bendahara! became a big hit when screened on Singapore TV.
Ya Bendahara! was basically a spoof of all the classic Malay purba movies - from Si Tanggang to Hang Tuah to Semerah Padi. In fact, I hope Double Vision would re=sell it to AstroRia so that the public can see how good Harun Salim Bachik and Sheila Rusly are as comedians.
Anyway, do catch Gado Gado on Astro. Some of the sketches are crap but most of it are really good. For screening times, go to and key in Gado Gado in the search engine.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


We are currently shooting episodes 9 (Pelawat Malam) and 10 (Topeng) in Kuala Lumpur. My son, Buddy, is directing Pelawat Malam, which he also wrote, whilst Thorpe Ali will direct Topeng. I'm just busy finalising the on-line edits for the first four episodes for delivery to RTM and overseeing some more off line edits for episodes 5-8.
I will return to Melaka this Sunday night as we start shooting Bejalai (Ep 11) and Ronggeng (Ep 12) Monday onwards at Mini Malaysia again.
The team is excited with these last two as it would be the most complex and most ambitious of all the 13 episodes. We are also very pleased to have Eman Manan and Harun Salim Bachik in the Ronggeng episode. Cico Harahap, the son of singer-actress Uji Rashid, will be acting in Bejalai whilst Melissa Maureen will appear for the second time in the series acting beside Cico.
Bejalai is about the appearance of a vicious head hunting spirit in a small remote village in Sarawak. Two competing teams of ghost hunters visit the village to find out if the incident of the head hunting ghost is a prank or something very real.
Ronggeng is about a group of gangsters who want to party after making a big score. In order not to be discovered by the authorities, they decide to go to the border to party at illegal nightclubs. They are however attracted to go to a mysterious nightclub in which the joget and ronggeng dancers are sexy and goes by the names of colours (Hitam, Biru, Hijau and Kuning).
Unknown to these gangsters, the nightclub is a trap for unwary travellers. The club is run and operated by vampires.
Let's hope what I envisage will become reality on your TV screens.
Meanwhile, I am also developing stories for the third season of Bilik No. 13...and also...but with a big IF...a screenplay for Bilik No. 13 - The Movie.
On a sad note, Razi, a good and close friend of mine, lost his father this morning. His father suffered a massive stroke last week. He was 81. Razi and family left for Kedah this morning to attend the funeral which was to be held after asar. To his late father we offer our doa's and Al Fatihah.
Another close friend of mine, Shukor, also had a sad day two days ago when his driver, Pak Harun, who has been with him for many years, died of a heart attack just after reporting to Shukor's house for the day's work. According to Shukor, his maid found Pak Harun sprawled on the floor of the guard house. To Pak Harun we also offer Al Fatihah.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


With apologies to Monty Python, I now present to you some of the funniest videos on U-tube....reallyy...and these are not made up ok? These are serious clips from feature films....hehehhe....I challenge you not to smile or laugh!

Monday, May 26, 2008


I'm sure most of you movie freaks are just waiting for movie's like Batman, The Mummy Returns, X files - The Movie, Hancock, Star Trek and maybe Get Smart. I thought I'd let you see this teaser trailer of a movie called Will Eisner's The Spirit. It's the one movie I'll be waiting for. Will Eisner is considered the granddaddy of modern comics (in fact, the Oscar Award equivalent for the comic industry is called the Will Eisner Award). If you like great comics, buy his work - including The Spirit.
This movie is conceptualised and directed by current comic guru Frank Miller - the guy who gave you Sin City and 300 (The Spartans). It will be out next year.


I was checking my older posts and found out that some of the videos I posted are no longer available. Especially the song You've Got A Friend performed by The Brand New Heavies.
So, I searched the net for the song and found this one. I hope you guys out there enjoy it. I dedicate this song to Razi, whose father recently suffered a stroke and in a coma, to Nasir, whose beloved mother passed away recently, to Mizan, whose beautiful 4-year old daughter lost her battle to cancer, to Diana, my continuity girl, whose father passed away a couple of days ago ( a day before her sister's wedding), to a wonderful and dear friend, Nik Elin, who isn't allowed to be with her kids on her birthday next week, and to all my other friends, Amer A.B., Amir Hamidy, Nabir, Iqbal, Suharti, Nurjannah, Norana, Addie, Wan Fauzy, Wan Bari, Abang Hamzah, Shukor, Shakir, Ayoub, Zaki, Tengku Annuar, Anis, Dato Nazeri, Raja Hizad, Dato Simon, Melvin, Colin, Wan Shafie, Tengku Faisal, Hamid Karim, Tiar, Harun S. Bachik, Ebby Saiful, Sabrina, Den Wahab, Zaidi Mohamed, Ruslee Ariffin, David Oh, Jaspal, Rafique, Lat, Ken Yap, Anne, Catriona, Sofia, Fatimah, Syed Rashid, Justin, Hayati, Umi Habibah, Tasnima, Rahman, Jamal, Zaki, Mussadikh and Mala R., and everyone else who knew me or knows me. If only our leaders can be friends amongst themselves - we would be a happy nation.

You've Got A Friend---carole King,Celine,Gloria,Shania

[via FoxyTunes / Carole King]

Sunday, May 25, 2008


We have a break today and tomorrow. A deserved break after a long and tiring two weeks. For the past six days we were in Melaka - shooting the mental hopsital scenes in Peringgit, Melaka and in Regal Hotel, along Jalan Munshi Abdullah.
I haven't been to Melaka City for a long while and the development I see is quite overwhelming. What used to be the all Padang, is now a shopping Mall and the empty space in front of Equatorial Hotel is a new building that house Carrefour.
The roads are now mostly one way traffic and all my road-knowledge of the town has been nullified with the new traffic system. I was not the only one who got lost - many of the artistes and crew were trying to learn the new routes as fast as possible.
The Persatuan Bulan Sabit Merah building in Peringgit replaced the old Seri Menanti Resort as part of the Mental Hospital in Bilik No. 13. Regal Hotel where we stayed became the night interiors for the series' mental hospital.
Shooting was trying, and mentally exhausting. My AD Thorpe was also suffering from a back pain that hurts everutime he tries to get up from his seat.
My continuity girl, Diana, also suffered a family tragedy when her father passed away Friday night and had to rush home for the funeral.
My crew again suffered from 'resignations' and by Friday, the technical crew had only four people again (from six). So things slowed down quite a bit.
One of the good things about the whole of last week was the appearance of Catriona Ross in the role of Dr Masitah. It's been quite a while since I've wanted to direct this actress (since I first saw her in the movie Mistik - she was easily the most talented in the cast) but somehow there had always been obstacles. Not this time. Cat, as she prefers to be called by friends, appeared on set in her 'new' shiny Mini Cooper and we immediately hit it off. Her 'recent' accident is now just a bad memory, and now she is back on track in her career as an actress.
This petite, very beautiful and talented actress, took most scenes in her stride. Minimal directions and she gets the scene down pat. Most of her scenes was with another Manjafilm regular Anne Abdullah who was also excellent in her role as Dr Iliya.
Next two weeks would be hectic as we would be completing four last episodes - Pelawat Malam (Night Visitor), Topeng (Mask), Bejalai (Journey) and Kelab Ronggeng (Dance Club).
The great news for me is that I get to direct Eman Manan and Harun Salim Bachik in Kelab Ronggeng. After all these years, I never got to direct one of the nation's finest actors, but it will happen. I will definitely write about the experience here.
My post guys, are also trying to push out some promos for me to include in this blog. So be patient. I think by next week, fans will be able to see the new opening graphics.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Sohan Sophian with beloved wife Widyawati
Indonesian actor-director-political activitist Sophan Sophian died in a road accident yesterday in a small town called Ngawi, near Solo, Indonesia. According to reports, he was in a Harley Davidson motorcade when the accident happened. He tried to avoid a pothole while travelling at 60kmh and fell. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. His wife, Widyawati, was part of the motorcade but was in a car in the rear.
Sophan Sophian was part of the new generation of actors in the early 70s when Indonesian films were at its peak. His acted in Wim Umboh's box office and award winning movie Pengantin Remaja in 1971. A bona fide 70s and 80s box office draw he married his Pengantin Remaja co-star Widyawati. Amongst the films he starred include Si Bongkok and Cinta Remaja.
He was 64. Al Fatihah.
On the local front, a good friend of mine from school days, Nasir Mahmud, lost his dear mother after a long illness a few days ago. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And then the sky opened and cried...

We had to rush our next two episodes in Mini Malaysia - Bunian and Artifak. Bunian started badly on the first day....nearly scrapped it - just managed one night scene. But luckily we managed to speed up the next two days to complete the episode. Two technical crew disappeared and joined other productions which made our existing crew very slow in setting up lights - just four people including the cameraman Pian. Though we managed to complete nearly all scenes, the rains came and we were left with three night scenes carried forward to the fourth day.
Artifak, we were supposed to start yesterday (Wednesday) has casting mishaps so, Bunian's extra day shoot was carried out yesterday. (written and directed by my son Abadi) early Thursday morning with new casts (and some reshoots). Its tought going. It really tests everyone's nerves. Luckily Mini-Malaysia was at most points the ideal location for Bilik No. 13. Below are some shots taken on my iPhone.
It's 3am in the morning and the rain started coming down. Pian, the DOP waits patiently for it to end. It didn't so we wrapped at 4 am,
Diana, the continuity girl sits alone in the leaking Siamese house, whilst waiting for news of the shoot.
Newcomer Saskia plays the role of the Bunian princess that lures unsuspecting young men into her world.
For mystery buffs, here's a picture I took of the ground in Mini Malaysia. Can you see the face? Scary isn't it?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


We wrapped episode 6 entitled Peti just before midnight last night (Saturday). Once again I got to work with my old colleague Kee Thuan Chye. Last I worked with him was on my digital feature Ah Loke Cafe way back in 2005. He plays a down and out contract worker whose savings are slowly being gambled away by his wife and mother in law. His wife is played by another Ah Loke Cafe alumnus - Sue Tan. Veteran TV actress Margaret Gan plays his mother in law. Things get better for him when he receives a mysterious empty chest from a distant uncle who passed away. He unlocks the secret of the chest soon after - the chest gives him money in exchange for live animals.
Kee plays the role of Keong nagged endlessly by his wife (Sue Tan)

Shoot was quite hectic because we only had two days to complete the episode. We shot in a small hokkien village in Gombak. The villagers were surprisingly very accommodating and friendly.
Tomorrow we start one of the more ambitious episodes entitled Bunian at the Mini Malaysia Park in Ayer Keroh Melaka.
Shooting these series have been strenuous and emotionally draining for me. More so when my dad is really not feeling well. I hate being away from home for long stretches. Hope he gets better.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Yesterday we started the episode inspired by Sheridan Lefanu's Portrait of Dorian Gray entitled Foto. It's about an upstart young filmmaker who collects old antique photos and frames as a hobby. He was attracted to an old photo sold by a roadside antiqueware stall. The photo is of an old Filipino Contessa who committed suicide before the Second World War.
Unknown to the young director, the 'spirit' of the old woman lives in the photo and she takes the opportunity to suck the life out of this young filmmaker. He gets older every day, and the woman in the photo gets younger.
In the role of the Contessa is Melissa Maureen of Gol and Gincu and Realiti fame. I have to tell you, she's absolutely gorgeous and talented. She fits the role to a tee. Below are pics of her at the shoot.

The episode begins with a film within a film - a movie being directed by a so-called award winning highly educated filmmaker. The film is a revisionist take on the pontianak tale. It was a hilarious session. See the pic of the pontianak below.

Monday, May 5, 2008


Shooting in kampungs and old towns can be quite fun and rewarding. You get to experience life you've never had the chance before. You also get to meet people from all walks of life and get to see the true side of Malaysia.
Shooting Bilik No 13 The Prequel, we stayed in Kuala Pilah's Desa Inn for nearly two weeks - we stayed the first few days in the Rest House. Desa Inn is a newish little hotel and is clean and really comfortable.
If you happen to drop by Kuala Pilah and Seri Menanti look out for signboards that state "Tapak Megaliths". These are ancient stone megaliths (could be ancient tombstones) scattered all over the area (usually part of a cemetery).
The old houses in the areas are also very beautiful and majestic and has the Minang-style architecture. Some are left to rot and crumble because it seems, it is tradition not to tear down the houses - it has to crumble on its own through time.
Whilst shooting in one of this village houses, I found tucked away in the corner of the nearly rundown old house an old padi chaffing machine (used to chaff padi husks). It looked really nice and was in perfect working order still. I asked the owner what they wanted to do with it, and they said they had no plans for it. When I asked if I could buy it, I was surprised they said yes. I was surprised further when I asked if they would accept RM200, they said Yes.
So, I'm now a proud owner of an old padi chaffing machine made of wood. Above is a picture of it. Now my problem is trying to find out how to transport the thing to my house. After that, the only problem is to explain to the wife why I bought it. Heheh.


It's already day 14 into our shoot of Bilik No. 13 The Prequel series. It's been one heck of a week. Yesterday we managed to complete our Fourth episode entitled Jangan Lupa Tutup Tingkap. So far, the artistes who have been involved in the first four episodes are Ann Abdullah (Dr Iliya), Zainatul Zainuddin (Dr Hayati), Megat (Amer), Ajun (Wati), Mubarak Majid (Roslan), Lan Zailan (Bomoh), Ramasundram (Rama), Tanting (Kenny) and Erynne (Gadis Kecil), Pak Lah Cecupak (Muzaffar). Cameos include Kartina Aziz, Nasir Ali, Kamal Bakar and Zarina Zainuddin.
Shot most scenes in and around Seri Menanti and Kuala Pilah. Loads of thanks to the citizens and the authorities of Seri Menanti who had to bear with our antics and our shoots which at times lasted til 5 in the morning.
We broke camp early Sunday and will begin again on Tuesday for another block of four episodes - Foto, Peti, Bunian and Artifak. We will be shooting around Kuala Lumpur this time, except for maybe a day in Melaka to shoot certain scenes for Foto. Amongst the artistes slated to participated this time include Melissa Maureen, Kee Thuan Chye, Den Wahab, Tony Eusoff and Eizlan. Am still hoping for the participation of ManBai, Hattan, Awie, Rosie Rashid, Mas Aniza in the series.
It was also a battle trying to get extras who could act. However, in Jangan Lupa Tutup Tingkap we discovered a young 16-year old girl from Tampin named Andi. She has natural acting talent. But unfortunately, most of the other extras could even do a simple walk on.
Working with Erynne of Congkak fame was also a breeze. That little girl is really something. Fun to work with and a true professional even at that young age.
I will try and post more pics as soon as possible.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A View From The WIndow - Pics from Bilik No. 13

Hahahahaha....3G? From the jungles of Kuala Pilah? It's slower than melting butter in Iceland. Anyway, am back for two days before shooting the next block. So here's a couple of pics I promised with more to come from the set of Bilik No. 13 The Prequel. Will post more pics the minute I return from Bubba Gump!