Young dyslexic star a nat­u­ral ac­tor

New Straits Times - - Entertainment -

WHO would have thought that a dyslexic boy from Ji­tra, Kedah, would find fame in act­ing, and at such a young age?

Muham­mad Ariff Ab­dul­lah, 12, de­buted in hit drama 7 Hari Menc­in­taiku and cap­tured the hearts of fans of the se­ries.

A nat­u­ral ac­tor, he pre­sented an hon­est por­trayal of a slowwit­ted boy named Bun­tat, strik­ing a chord with view­ers, so much so that when the char­ac­ter died at the end of the se­ries, view­ers were heartbroken.

View­ers did not agree that the char­ac­ter be killed off. The mat­ter was even dis­cussed on so­cial me­dia and trended for some time.

Although Bun­tat was just a sup­port­ing char­ac­ter, he be­came an in­stant hit, bring­ing along a sig­nif­i­cant amount of pop­u­lar­ity to Ariff.

“Since then, my school friends call me Bun­tat... I don’t mind at all,” said Ariff, smil­ing.

“I know that if I play an­other char­ac­ter, Bun­tat’s name will be re­placed.

“I never thought I could act. But, my fa­ther thought it would be good for me and en­cour­aged me to try.”

Ariff will mark his big screen de­but in drama Jibam, slated for a Septem­ber re­lease.

He plays the tit­u­lar role in this adap­ta­tion from the hugely-pop­u­lar 1992 novel by one of Malaysia’s fa­mous car­toon­ists, Ujang.

Prior to film­ing it, Ariff had to at­tend a 10-day in­ten­sive train­ing with an act­ing teacher from Akademi Seni Bu­daya dan Warisan (Aswara).

“When I ar­rived at the film set, I was over­whelmed.

“Ini­tially, I thought I would not be able to pull it off.

“How­ever, with guid­ance from di­rec­tor Che Mie and his crew, I man­aged to de­liver what was ex­pected of me,” he said.

Ariff said the most chal­leng­ing scene was the one in­volv­ing his char­ac­ter Jibam be­ing bul­lied by neigh­bours.

Jibam pro­ducer Jaa­far Muham­mad said although Ariff was dyslexic, he could eas­ily mem­o­rise his lines af­ter his script was read to him.

“He took on his role con­vinc­ingly with­out much as­sis­tance. He be­came Jibam.”

The film also stars Esma Daniel, Fad­lan Hazim, Mia Ah­mad, A. Galak, Zaidi Omar and Farah Ah­mad.

I never thought I could act. MUHAM­MAD ARIFF AB­DUL­LAH

Ac­tor

Muham­mad Ariff Ab­dul­lah.

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