Tuesday, July 3, 2012


It's more than a month past the half way mark of 2012. I am still in Sabah half way through my Pangazou series - a tough, if not my toughest ever shoot for TV. Decades ago, I did a massive 26 episode epic for RTM entitled Melaka, even built a junk for the arrival scene of Hang Li Po in Port Dickson, but we were shooting in Peninsula Malaysia where logistics for local production (even then) was accessible. Here in Kota Kinabalu, things are different.
As much as I want the Sabahans to experience my kind of production, I too am being educated on how to shoot in Sabah.
Nevertheless, I hope to wrap in three weeks time. Insya'Allah.
Meanwhile, I am looking forward to my next production - the return of Gado Gado.
Gado Gado the comedy series is dear to me. It was my first successful television series - ran for five seasons on RTM. Apart from Othman Hafsham's one-off special entitled Bunga Bunga Berguguran (I think that was the title) it was local television's first sketch based comedy series (the first episode was shown about a month or two before the first episode of Jangan Ketawa on TV3).
When I started Double Vision way back in 1990, one of my wishes was to make a sketch based comedy series the likes of Monty Python and Not the Nine O'clock News. My early pitches to stations didn't work as they either didn't know what I was talking about or they weren't really sure if it would work. At that time, only sitcoms were being produced.
Nevertheless, we decided to do a special - called TV Gila (a slight hint to the TV station I once worked with).
In the special we spoofed the Hindi classic Bobby, TV commercials, highbrow literary folks and others. It starred Ebby Yus, Jalil Hamid, Ebby Saiful, Den Wahab, Sabree Yunus and Imuda. Harun Salim Bachik, Isma Aliff and Sheila Rusly came on board when the series was confirmed.
When we first screened it for a private TV station, it was rejected and I was completely disheartened.
I went back to my editing room, and re-edited it and re-titled it Gado-Gado - a rojak of things in half an hour.
The new version found its way to RTM and surprisingly it was accepted.
A full season of 13 episodes were ordered and we went straight into production.
The rest was history - Gado Gado became one of RTM's most popular and at the same time most controversial comedy series ever. It ran for five seasons. I directed the first four seasons whilst Harun Salim Bachik directed the final season.
RTM did not stop the series, we did. We found that we ran out of ideas and we were told not to make fun of other races, not make fun of politics, not make fun of P. Ramlee, not make fun of the news etc. So we decided to take a hiatus - a long one.
Since then I have always thought of bringing Gado Gado to the big screen, but I was just too plain scared.
Last year, I met up with a couple of top Astro executives who were surprisingly Gado Gado fans. They asked if I was willing to bring back Gado Gado to Astro.
I told them I would think about it. It has been some time since I did comedy. The last being a telemovie entitled Aku Nak Jadi Hero..Tapi Takut starring Harun Salim Bachik - a Gado-Gadoesque telemovie inspired by the movie the Adventures of Waldo Mitty.
Furthermore, I don't know if viewers want to see Gado Gado again because in Astro, there are a lot of sketch based comedies - featuring artistes like Mamat Khalid, Khir Rahman, Awie Wings, Achong and a whole load of other actors. Even the humour magazine Gila Gila has been turned into a sketch based comedy series.
Would Gado Gado be able to compete? Would it be different from the other sketch based comedy series?
We shall see.
By the way, I have accepted the offer to produce Gado Gado Version 2.0 for Astro. It will be telecast in January 2013. I will begin shooting the series after Raya Aidilfitri.
Keeping my fingers crossed.