Boy next door

Meet the hand­some, multi-tal­ented Iedil Putra, the ac­tor who swapped a ca­reer in medicine for show­biz .

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By JAYDEE LOK allther­age@thes­ Iedil Putra’s lat­est movie Cuak is cur­rently show­ing in selected the­atres na­tion­wide. You can also catch his solo per­for­mance in White Rab­bit Red Rab­bit on Thurs­day, at 8.30pm at the Da­mansara Per­form­ing Arts Cent

IF there is one role that Tengku Iedildzuhrei Putra, 29, could play to per­fec­tion, it would be that of a doc­tor. Why? Be­cause be­sides be­ing an ex­tremely ver­sa­tile pe­former, the ac­tor – bet­ter known as Iedil Putra – did ac­tu­ally study medicine be­fore de­cid­ing to switch his ca­reer path.

“I ac­tu­ally went to the UK to study medicine for about three years,” said Iedil with a chuckle.

Bit­ten by the stage bug at a young age, Iedil chose to pur­sue his de­gree at Queen Mary Univer­sity in Lon­don to be closer to the West End theatre scene. That was when he re­alised his true call­ing in life.

“I re­alised I can’t do medicine; it’s not my thing. My pas­sion lies in per­form­ing arts,” he said.

That was when he de­cided to quit med school, re­turn to Malaysia and be­gin his ca­reer as an en­ter­tainer.

Iedil’s face lights up when he talks about his ca­reer and var­i­ous projects. Af­ter seven years of pur­su­ing his pas­sion full-time, Iedil has done nu­mer­ous stage pro­duc­tions, films, tele­vi­sion shows, voiceover work as well as some host­ing gigs. He’s even di­rected a play, and he oc­ca­sion­ally or­gan­ises events.

The ac­tor is prob­a­bly best known re­gion­ally for play­ing the role of Hafiz in the In­stant Café Theatre pro­duc­tion

Parah – a play about racial ten­sions in multi-cul­tural Malaysia.

The pow­er­ful pro­duc­tion has al­lowed Iedil and his co-stars to travel to Sin­ga­pore and Aus­tralia (twice) in the last three years.

“The end goal is, of course, to per­form out­side Malaysia – to be ‘out there’. It’s all about rais­ing your stan­dards. We’ve tried ev­ery­thing here among our peers, and now it’s time to go the next level.”

On that note, Iedil has pointed out that the per­form­ing arts in­dus­try in Malaysia still has many short­com­ings.

“I’m quite sure people know, in gen­eral, that if you do theatre, it’s all pas­sion-based,” he ex­plained.

“There’s not a lot of money go­ing around and you al­ways want to com­pare yourself in Malaysia to how it’s done in places like Sin­ga­pore and the UK.

“Of course, the prob­lem in Malaysia is that they look at the in­dus­try as sec­ond or third tier. They don’t take us se­ri­ously. Even though, ev­ery year, we sup­pos­edly re­ceive fund­ing and all that, but you don’t know where they chan­nel all the money.”

Iedil also noted that the Malaysian theatre in­dus­try lacks a pro­fes­sional union to pro­tect the rights of its work­ers, and that there aren’t enough skilled tech­ni­cal crew in the lo­cal en­ter­tain­ment scene.

“We’re not up to Hol­ly­wood stan­dards in terms of the pro­duc­tion. We have tal­ents (like the ac­tors), but we also need proper man­age- ment. For ex­am­ple, we don’t have cour­ses on be­com­ing a lo­ca­tion man­ager.”

He also talked about the lack of pro­fes­sion­al­ism within the in­dus­try and how ac­tors who are not rep­re­sented by a man­ager or agent some­times have to put on a front to pro­tect them­selves.

“It’s the at­ti­tude. (Many people) don’t take us and our con­tracts se­ri­ously,” he said. “It’s hard to do the dirty work. There’s a lot of go­ing back and forth on want­ing to act and do your work and also chas­ing pay­ment. But it’s hard to say no to all these projects be­cause this is what I do for a liv­ing.”

But it’s not like Iedil is one to stand back and al­low him­self to be mis­treated. He and some of his friends have been proac­tive and have started their own pro­duc­tion com­pany, Play­ground Pro­duc­tions.

“We re­alised that some­times we need to cre­ate our own op­por­tu­ni­ties by cre­at­ing our own shows, go­ing into cor­po­rate events, writ­ing, di­rect­ing and pro­duc­ing stuff. That way, if I don’t have any jobs, I can still sus­tain my ca­reer.”

Some­times, art im­i­tates life, and cur­rently, Iedil and some of his fa­mous friends like di­rec­tor Nik Amir Mustapha and ac­tor Redza Min­hat (both worked on lo­cal film KIL) are work­ing on a fea­ture film called Ter­baik Dari Lan­git (orig­i­nally called Bikin Filem), about four good friends com­ing to­gether to make a movie. The movie is tar­geted to re­lease in Septem­ber.

Al­though Iedil comes across as this con­fi­dent su­per­star with nat­u­ral talent, he doesn’t see him­self that way.

“I still get the but­ter­flies when I’m about to go on stage and cringe when I see my­self on screen but it’s good. It keeps you on your toes. As a per­form­ing artist you can­not be com­pla­cent and com­fort­able with yourself. You need to evolve.”

In the stage pro­duc­tion Ro­man­tic Fools, Iedil played a flam­boy­ant wed­ding plan­ner. In the 2012 film Ngo­rat, he played a loser who re­sponds to a flyer that prom­ises to teach him the art of pick­ing up women. One of his big­gest roles was as Hafiz in the

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