More to Che Kem

Ka­marulza­man Taib, who played Tunku Ab­dul Rah­man in 1957: Hati Malaya, wins again play­ing a re­morse­ful son, writes Den­nis Chua

New Straits Times - - Groove | News -

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.

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