Mu­si­cal trib­ute

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV -

2008 at age 55.)

An­other trusted friend of the icon that the team got to in­ter­view be­fore his pass­ing a few years ago was Kwek Chip Jian, who was the man­ager at Stu­dio Jalan Ampas in Singapore. Kwek ap­par­ently in­spired the P. Ram­lee song Kwek Mambo.

In the doc­u­men­tary, Kwek talks about their friend­ship dur­ing their days work­ing at Stu­dio Jalan Ampas.

Shuhaimi says her team had all the rare in­ter­views in hand when they heard about the P. Ram­lee project com­mis­sioned by AETN All Asia Net­works, which owns and op­er­ates the chan­nel His­tory in Malaysia, and Fi­nas (Na­tional Film Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion).

“So we went to pitch for the project and here we are. I’m still pinch­ing my­self be­cause I just can’t be­lieve that we’ve fi­nally doc­u­mented P. Ram­lee’s life and work for the pub­lic,” she said at the event also at­tended by Michele Schofield, AETN All Asia Net­works vice-pres­i­dent of pro­gram­ming and pro­duc­tion.

Shuhaimi also roped in com­poser Sharon Paul to re-score eight of P. Ram­lee’s pop­u­lar songs as back­ground mu­sic for the doc­u­men­tary.

It took Shuhaimi and her 15mem­ber team eight months to put all the ma­te­ri­als to­gether.

“It was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us, work­ing with in­ter­na­tional view­ers in mind. Af­ter dis­cus­sions with His­tory, we worked on the script and trimmed our three hours’ worth of ma­te­ri­als down to a 90-minute bi­og­ra­phy,” said the Pes­ona Pic­tures man­ag­ing di­rec­tor whose movie cred­its in­clude 1957 – Hati Malaya, Pon­tianak Harum Sun­dal Malam ( PHSM) and PHSM 2, Waris Jari Hantu, La­yar Lara and Selubung.

Through mak­ing the pro­gramme, A file photo of Tan Sri P. Ram­lee and Puan Sri Saloma with their chil­dren. Shuhaimi has come to know the man bet­ter.

“He was an op­ti­mistic per­son. When things didn’t work out his way, he would take it pos­i­tively and laughed it off through his movies.”

In P. Ram­lee, view­ers will see that in the late 1960s when his ap­peal started to wane in the face of com­pe­ti­tion from In­done­sian, Amer­i­can and Hindi colour films, the tele­vi­sion and a new gen­er­a­tion of stars, the en­ter­tainer at­tempted to rein­vent him­self.

Sadly, those at­tempts were met with dis­dain and in­credulity. The pub­lic made it clear that his time was over. He de­scended into de­pres­sion.

At the last Asian Film Fes­ti­val he at­tended, no one both­ered to al­lo­cate him a seat and he ended up sit­ting at a back row with a friend.

Re­jected by banks, de­nied of his cher­ished dream to di­rect his first colour film and fi­nally booed off the stage in his last stage ap­pear­ance, P. Ram­lee died of a heart at­tack, broke and bro­ken.

Shuhaimi adds that un­known to many, dur­ing his dif­fi­cult years P. Ram­lee was forced to open a shop rent­ing out mahjong ta­bles to raise money to fi­nance his movies.

“This is the true story. It’s not to make him look bad but that’s the re­al­ity. He had a very dif­fi­cult life af­ter he left Singapore. No­body was will­ing to help him in his moviemak­ing de­spite all the prom­ises made to him (to get him to re­turn to Kuala Lumpur then).

“Now Malaysians are com­mend­ing him for his great work, not quite know­ing the strug­gle he went through, es­pe­cially in the last few years of his life. I re­ally hope his story will give us, the new gen­er­a­tion of moviemak­ers, some lessons to learn,” she con­cluded.

As his friend Aziz re­called: “P. Ram­lee once told me, ‘Ajis, af­ter I die, I will live on for a hun­dred years.’”

Fi­nally, in death P. Ram­lee has at­tained the im­mor­tal­ity he sought but failed to achieve in life. n P.Ram­lee pre­mieres on His­tory (Astro Chan­nel 555) on Sun­day, 9pm. En­cores: Nov 1, 10pm; Nov 6, 7pm; Nov 15, 10pm. It’s avail­able in dual lan­guage (English and Ba­hasa Malaysia) with sub­ti­tles in Ba­hasa Malaysia and Chi­nese. CELEBRI­TIES and fans came to­gether to hon­our Tan Sri P. Ram­lee in the Kon­sert Peng­har­gaan P. Ram­lee Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti at the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) au­di­to­rium last Sun­day.

The ap­pre­ci­a­tion con­cert saw per­for­mances by Amy Search, M. Nasir, Datuk Shar­i­fah Aini, Ella, Ning Baizura, Misha Omar, Ja­clyn Vic­tor and Vince Chong. The line-up also in­cluded Malaysia’s new breed of singer­song­writ­ers such as Aizat, Yuna, Al­timet, Hu­jan and Haziq. They joined hands to belt out cover ver­sions of songs by P. Ram­lee.

The event was jointly or­gan­ised by AETN All Asia Net­works and Astro in col­lab­o­ra­tion with DBKL. It was held as part of Astro’s month-long cam­paign cel­e­brat­ing the work of the late icon, and also as a pre­lude to the pre­miere of the orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion P. Ram­lee on the chan­nel His­tory on Sun­day.

Over 600 guests at­tended the con­cert, in­clud­ing Datin Seri Tiara Jac­quelina and her hus­band Datuk Seri Ef­fendi Nor­wawi, Datin Seri Umie Aida, Sazzy Falak and Atilia. Also present were Astro chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Henry Tan and AETN All Asia Net­works gen­eral man­ager Louis Boswell. n Kon­sertPeng­har­gaan P.Ram­leeDiManaKanKu Car­iGanti airs on Astro over Ria (Chan­nel 104), His­tory HD (Chan­nel 575) and PRAMLEE HD (Chan­nel 188) at 9pm to­day, and on His­tory (Chan­nel 555) at 9pm to­mor­row.

Ja­clyn Vic­tor, with Vince (left) and Aizat, danc­ing to Jo­get Malaysia at the con­cert in me­mory of P. Ram­lee.

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