More to Che Kem
Kamarulzaman Taib, who played Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1957: Hati Malaya, wins again playing a remorseful son, writes Dennis Chua
HE gets called “Bapa Malaysia” by fans, and he is fine with it. Award-winning actor Kamarulzaman Taib a.k.a. Che Kem, who gave a convincing portrayal of the country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba’s 1957: Hati Malaya and a cameo in Tanda Putera, takes it as a compliment.
This is because Tunku is his hero as Father of the Nation.
“However, I want to be remembered for more diverse, dramatic roles than a single, iconic one,” he told NST recently.
Che Kem, 44, won his first telemovie award, Best Actor, at the Anugerah Tribute P. Ramlee 2017 at Angkasapuri recently.
His achievement is for the telemovie Sri Bulan directed by Shuhaimi and produced by Suhan Movies And Trading. Sri Bulan also won the Special Jury Award.
“Instead of a patriarch, I’m Zailan, a ‘bad boy’ who unwittingly collaborates with dishonest people and causes his family home to be acquired by a third party,” said Che Kem.
The telemovie, screened last December, also stars Aida Khalida, Amar Asyraf, Eina Azman and Marisa Yasmin.
On his character, Che Kem said: “Zailan leaves home in shame, after incurring the wrath of his mother and his wife.Hebecomesdepressed thinking of his mistake, but eventually his adopted son persuades him to mend his family ties.”
It was a pleasant surprise that Shuhaimi picked him to play Zailan.
“I enjoy working with her as she’s a perfectionist like me, and she’s well-read too,” said Che Kem.
“Zailan is the first fictional character I’ve played who has won me an award. In future, I hope to play characters whose stories are interesting and educational.”
Does this mean Che Kem is done with historical figures?
“No, I’m all for playing real persons, provided their stories inspire me. They need not be household names. They could be
Che Kem as the Tunku.
Che Kem savours the moment.
Malaysians who have made it to the news and have important lessons to impart to the younger generation.”
Pasir Mas-born Che Kem’s strength is his ability to master Malay dialects other than his Kelantanese dialect.
“I learnt to speak the Kedah dialect from my wife who is from Penang and friends at the National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy (Aswara) where I work,” said Che Kem, a Malay Literature graduate from Universiti Malaya.
Che Kem, an administrator of Istana Arifin
Putra (left) Budaya from 1996 to 2001 and and Reza. programming head of traditional performing arts in Aswara since 2001, plans to continue acting in theatre, telemovies and movies.
“I’m mainly a theatre person. However, since telemovies and movies have earned me prizes, I’ll go for their interesting scripts,” he said.
In the long run, Che Kem plans to write his own plays, inspired by director Norzizi Zulkifli who recently directed him in the Makyongstyle interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest titled Throne Of Thorns.