Lawyer-actress Lisa Surihani delves deeper into acting.
LISA Surihani may be nursing a migraine when meeting the press at the preview of Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2, but the 24-year-old remains pleasant. Even when she’s hounded by photographers and reporters, she tries to accommodate each request and even takes charge to maintain order.
At that point, it quickly becomes clear that she is not only a talented actress, but is also an intelligent and confident woman – a fact that is confirmed when she reveals that she studied law in Help University College and graduated with a degree from Aberystwyth University in Wales in 2007.
“My late father was a lawyer, and he instilled in me a legal mind and a passion for the law,” she explains. “He wanted his children to be always learning. Even today, I see myself as a sponge and I am absorbing as much knowledge as I possibly can as an actor.”
While she is not abandoning her career as a lawyer completely – she hopes to pursue it in the future once she’s ready and after she has earned the Certificate of Legal Practice – she is keen to pursue acting.
She is not new to acting, having ventured into this field at the tender age of 11.
“My cousin told me that I could gain new experiences, meet new people and earn money if I did commercials. At that age, I was more interested in having new experiences and meeting new people than earning cash,” she recalls with a smile, “although cash is good for rainy days too. So I prepared a portfolio. But instead of an ad, I got a part in a telemovie.”
She made her debut as the lead actress in TV1’s drama series Gergasi. She found the experience on the set very exciting and decided to give acting more serious thought.
With her mother’s encouragement, she got involved in more TV and film projects. She also appeared in a number of TV commercials at home, in Indonesia and the Philippines.
»The challenge is being good at what you do«
Upon completing her tertiary education, she was cast in I’m Not Single, opposite Farid Kamil. This project not only earned her new fans but also the best new actress award at the Malaysian Film Festival in 2007. Since then, she has appeared in Obsesis, 3 Janda, Seputih Salju, Atoi The Ajaib Boy, Tudung Ekspres and Jangan Pandang Belakang.
This year alone, she has acted in a number of films – V3: Samseng Jalanan, Zoo, Semerah Cinta Stilleto, Lagenda Budak Setan and Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2.
She is also the host of a 13-episode show, MYEG Xtra Time: Bring It!, on StarSports channel on Astro.
“I thank God that I am blessed with good fortune,” she says modestly of her increasingly impressive résumé. Her enthusiasm is fairly obvious: “I want to learn everything, try different genres – comedy, drama, everything – and do different things. The challenge is being good at what you do,” she says.
In Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak 2 (the sequel to last year’s Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak, which made RM6.3mil at the boxoffice), she plays Mustika, a villain who is determined to stay young forever. To achieve that, she has to extract the youth from two individuals.
Playing a willing slave to Mustika is comedian Azlee Jaafar (of Senario fame).
“It was very hard being surrounded by comedians and acting serious. Although Azlee remained professional throughout our scenes, maintaining a strict composure with him around was not easy,” Lisa admits.
It wouldn’t be totally untrue to say that if there is a reason to watch this horror/comedy by Metrowealth Movies Production, it is to view Lisa’s performance. Playing up Mustika’s evilness with facial expressions and exaggerated head movements, Lisa offers something different from the usual loud comic moments found in the rest of the film.
“Mustika is actually very old, centuries old. I had to convey her bitterness and anger physically so the director (Ahmad Idham) and I came up with the head gestures.”
Lisa is somewhat humbled that fans and the people in the industry have shown an interest, and says that she is still learning and honing her skills. JanganPandangBelakang Congkak2 opens in cinemas today.
Forever young: in JanganPandangBelakangCongkak2, lisa surihani plays Mustika, a villain on the quest for eternal youth.