Sunday, July 5, 2009


Sometimes I really wonder what the role of FINAS is in developing our industry and also to 'martabatkan' our own film history. I have always been accused of being too hard on FINAS - always trying to find fault with this institution. I really don't care. If I see them not doing their work for the betterment of our film industry, I voice out. Like how I am voicing out now.
Recently, FINAS published a book called Filem Melayu Klasik, authored by Johari Shariff and Dr Ubaidullah Mustaffa. It was launched in conjunction with Hari Seniman 2009.
Now there's a few factual mistakes in the book.
Firstly, Haji Mahadi is mentioned as the first Malay director in 1952 for Permata di Perlimbahan. Unfortunately there is no mention that the film was completed by A.R. Tompel as Haji Mahadi was taken of the director's seat for reasons not recorded.

A minor mistake, but still a mistake was the mention that P. Ramlee was the person responsible in completing Sergeant Hassan. It mentions that Alberto Avellana, legendary Filipino director, couldn't complete the movie and the directorial duties were taken over by P. Ramlee. Nevertheless, the director's credit was still given to Avellena. The fact is Avellena did complete the film but had to leave the movie at the end of the shoot and allowed Ramlee to director some one or two pick up scenes. P. Ramlee did not 'ambil alih' the director's seat. Such sweeping statements in a book like these shouldn't happen. Give Avellana his due. He made what Sergeant Hassan is, not P. Ramlee. Yes, P. Ramlee gave a great actor's performance, but he did not direct the movie.

Secondly, the book is about Filem Melayu Klasik. It mentions Ajen Nora Zain as a Malay movie when is was not. It was actually shot after Gerak Kilat was completed though somehow its production date was stated as 1965 and Gerak Kilat's as 1966. Gerak Kilat introduced Jefri Zain which was a box office hit which allowed Nora Zain (the name was chosen to piggy back on Jefri Zain's success) to be produced together with Gerak Kilat's sequels Bayangan Ajal and Jurang Bahaya. Nora Zain is a Hong Kong movie as were Bayang Ajal and Jurang Bahaya.
All were directed by hongkong legendary director Lo Wei (if I am not mistaken) and the movies were all actually Hong Kong movies with all scenes shot twice to re-shoot the scenes with the Malay cast and released as a Malay movie in Malaysia and Singapore.
Whatever it is, Nora Zain cannot be included as a Malay film classic.
Now, in the book there's a section of legends of the Malay movie screens - actors, actresses and directors. These include legends like Jins Shamsudin, Salleh Kamil, Nordin Ahmad, Rosnani, Latifah Omar, Sarimah and many others.
Directors include S. Kadarisman, Omar Rojik and Nordin Ahmad.
However, missing were my father Jamil Sulong, Salleh Ghani, S. Sudarmaji and Hussein Haniff. How these four legends were left out is beyond comprehension. Maybe Dr Ubaidullah and FINAS think my father is a lesser person in our film history than even Kemat Hassan and Ali Rahman.
That takes the cake.
But however, what really made me nauseous was that such a book like this, an attempt at being intellectual and informative, had a photo in the final pages of the FINAS staff and the Director General in a rather stupid pose.
FINAS staff involved in publishing the book pose like 60s entertainers complete with Vespas. The Director-General Mahyudin Mutkim, third from left, justifies his position in FINAS by posing in this photo.

What was on their mind when they posed for the book? Do they think they are celebrities? Are they movie star wannabes? I don't know. Just imagine, a book on our Parliamentary history and in the final page Datuk Seri Najib and his team pose like how these FINAS people posed.
It truly shows the insipid mentality of the people responsible for the development of our film industry.


Heng Yi Xiang said...

Dear Sir,
I am Heng Yi Xiang from Pioneer Junior College. I am currently researching on the topic of conservation of the Shaw Studio at Jalan Ampas for Project Work. As I read some of your blog entries, I felt that you could help us with our project. I would appreciate if I could interview you on this subject; history of Malay Film Productions/ Shaw studio. The interview can be carried out through email if it is more convenient for you.
The information derived from the interview will be greatly beneficial to our project.Please contact me at I appreciate your time in considering my request. I hope to hear from you soon!

Heng Yi Xiang

Yi Xiang said...

Dear Sir,
Please inform us at if you do not wish to participate in this interview. Thank you.

Heng Yi Xiang