Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Planning of Jibam The Movie

Part 2

"Datang jumpa aku dekat Gazebo malam ni. Jumpa producer yang nak buat wayang dengan cerita aku. Ahmad Fauzi pun ada, yang buat wayang Kolej 56 tu" reads the SMS from.

I was at that time.... dead tired after a long day running last minute errands to tighten my upcoming wedding day and was having a high fever. I turned to Poncho and told him I can't push myself anymore, the clock showed it was 10ish at night.

We haven't reached home since 7am! After a short yawning dinner at Bangsar Village and a long pause in the car, I told Poncho, 'if we don't go for this one, it's going to disappoint him.............. and us.'

Ahmad Fauzi?.... Hmmm.... Camana pulak dia minat cerita Jibam? Kolej 56, Oh Zeti, totally different wavelength... hmmmm?.

Reached there.

Saw an elderly man from afar, you can tell from the first glance that he's in the media circle. Has a pair of eyes that looks they can last nights without sleep, tired but continuously batting-in ideas.

Ahmad Fauzi was clad in a thick black velvet blazer accompanied by his new wife who's beaming with pride for the newly found project.

Ujang duduk tersengih macam biasa.

The crowd was obviously puzzled to see us.

"Aku nak diaorang tulis pasal wayang ni dalam blog diaorang."

We introduced ourselves to everyone. The elderly man offered his biz card. 'Ruslie Sophian - Jaja Production Executive Producer'.

We told them the truth, that we are actually no one, just.... a fan and a friend of Ujang.

They said it is ok.

Ujang: Eman Manan, Khatijah Tan fuih ramai lagi nanti berlakon cerita niiii.

I turned to Ruslie and Fauzi and could not hold my curiosity anymore.

Me: Siapa punya idea sebenarnya...

Ruslie: I tried seeing a few people and just pass them the book. You can just finish it in maximum two days... kan? Once you read it, you can't stop. Baca Alfred Hitchcock pun tak saspen macam tu sekali. It was two years ago I started thinking about who should direct it.

Poncho smiled at me. Guess we knew who's the one who ignited everything.

I felt relieved, my flu terus sembuh. Ujang duk sebok lukis katak.

Ruslie: You know Ahmad Fauzi's background. He won't want to get into this if he doesn't believe in it. He can't lose out again. After he read the book, he said to me... Ruslie... this is going to be the Harry Potter of Malaysia.

Kitaorang cuma kena tukar the tempat scene dia je. Kitaorang nak shoot dekat Pasir Panjang, Trengganu. Tempat tu betul-betul best kept secret, untouched, beauuuuutiful yang kita boleh promote macam Lord of Ring buat untuk New Zealand.

We have met the Trengganu people, they are willing to give us support. Next year Visit Trengganu year pulak tu.

Dalam menangis, ada ketawa, dalam marah ada sayang, dalam kegelapan tu tetap nampak harapan. Jibam is that deep. - Ruslie Sophian.

Poncho had an idea on how the teaser poster should be. Fauzi and Ujang seemed to like it very much.

But, in my head, I was thinking:

* Jibam IS a gripping novel, but they don't sell it in MPH, Times Bookstore, Borders, Popular.
* Creative Enterprise's produce never get it to the urban book counters, where are they?
* How many people knows Ujang and still appreciate his work?
* Kalau nak buat wayang pasal Trengganu, kat Trengganu takde panggung wayang.
* Is Creative Enterprise going to relaunch Jibam novel or do a co-promo with the movie?
* This movie will touch the viewers outside the urban areas too, but the cinemas now are concentrated in big cities.
* Can they capture the urban and non Malay viewers and make it another Cicakman breakthrough?
* Who on earth could play the role of Jibam, the Down Syndrome kid flawlessly?
* Could all this make things work the other way round? Jibam The Movie promotes Ujang and his novels?

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Rise of the Malaysia's Favourite Cartoonist in the 80's.

Part 1

At first I doubted the sincerity of the people he said wanted to put his first literature on screenplay. I was just worried, what if they'd play him out again. He has lost his rights for his own Intellectual Property; his whole lifestory is now being told for the profits of his previous publisher, greedy greedy man. They have gotten another cartoonist to continue the presence of the characters in their comic.

He went into recluse for years because of it, perhaps to look for something that could still belong to him.

"Aku tak mau kau kena tipu lagi Ujang. Cari orang yang kita boleh percaya, suruh dia tengok kan contract. Kau kena tahu terang-terang macamana diaorang nak bayar royalti. Kalau kau boleh saman orang, kau dah dapat royalti kartun engkau dah berapa banyak dah sekarang ni, kau tau tak?"

"Kali ni aku berani mati, ini aje yang aku ada....aku serah aje kat Tuhan. "

He's the only one left, who could illustrate brutal honest lifestory that's so rich in heritage and literature values. People say, cartoonists in our country are injurious for the mind.

"Aku baru ni buat research pasal adat. Sampai kat Padang (Indonesia) aku pegi. Aku cuma nak tau mana datangnya adat macam Pepatih dengan Temenggung ni. Dari pemerintah ke, apa ke, untuk apa. Aku dapat jawapannya."


Orang kan selalu pelik dengan peribahasa, "Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat." Kenapa orang sanggup anak dia mati tapi adat mesti dijunjung. Kat situlah logik dia. Peribahasa tu asalnya dari Negeri Sembilan, so only they knew best.

Adat dan Agama complements each other.

So.... you are trying to say, adat is created as a subtle infusion of Quran teachings in our daily life lah?, yes!

During the years trying to put the pieces back together, he operates from a small corner for painters in Central Market and try to make money out of caricature drawings. Surprisingly there's an improvement, his back issues has been republished and he's free to draw again in the comics.

I just don't want him to fall again.

"Nanti tak lama lagi buku Adat Merentas Zaman siap, full sastera pasal adat oghang Nogoghi."


Monday, February 12, 2007

What Makes You Glow?

R to L: Saiful Nang and Mukhriz
Picture above: Azwar Nik Yusoff

A glimpse of him through the glass door of his 3rd floor premise in Bandar Kinrara was enough to make you feel his contageous chirpy persona.

He seemed indulged in his phone conversation. Poncho glared at my drool and I quickly snaped out of my awe.

Too bad, I'm married and he gave us an invitation card to his wedding when we dropped by. In fact, he's already married last Saturday.

Do you remember when we were in primary school, when the teacher asked us, 'What's your ambition?' Lemme guess, the guys' answers were to be a doctor, engineer, architect, pilot, accountant --all those mind set by mummy and daddy. For the girls, our naive answers were to be a stewardess, model, doctor, lawyer, accountant. Macam tak ada jawatan lain ke dalam dunia ni? I wonder what Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexandar Graham Bell's parents told them to become.

The above is just a reflection. Back to my story, we were in his gallery to collect a few of our solemnisation photos in CD format. He shared his new business idea, Poncho was deeply captured. I heard the first few sentences and continued to do back end processing. What you read in his fotopage is half the noise you get from him --but double the persona.

He was surely as speedy as a Road Runner snapping pictures. As if, actions comes before angles. I observed that through my nikah and forgotten to pretend looking virginal and demure. But when he speaks, each sentence seemed calculated, thought and screened before they're uttered, and his eyes keep sparkling and his smile would end every meaning.

I envy him and I adore his talent.

"Lebih baik kita miskin tapi buat apa yang kita suka, daripada kita miskin lepas tu kita tak suka apa yang kita kena buat.”
– Saiful Nang, President CandidSyndrome

Who'd reckon, putting pieces back together again after two business failures is not an easy feat. He borrowed a friend's camera and paid about RM400 on some equipment to offer a few friends on wedding photography with a new breath; journalist photography. That's something totally extraordinary for our culture both in the sense of the dosh we have to pay and the format of how pictures are taken.

I guess, his talent came in quite timely with the booming of free internet facilities such as digital photo portals and so on. 'T makes the surfers' desire to be infront of his camera ever more increasing and then also, it's like an epidemic. In two years, the guy and team already get to plot on the world map and the dots can actually make an obvious pattern!

"Sebenarnya minat saya yang pertama is ‘travelling’, yang kedua fotografi. Alhamdulillah, sekarang ni hobi kedua yang ‘finance’ hobi pertama saya!”

He now owns his own company, just reached his first million, finally re breed a new photography team (they're all just as talented!) and is still low down to earth.

“Kami adik-beradik datang dari Felda Triang, Pahang. Bapak kitaorang masa kitaorang kecik-kecik dulu tak pernah halang apa yang kitaorang minat nak buat. Kalau kitaorang conteng dinding, dia tak marah pun. Dia cat balik, lepas tu suruh kitaorang conteng dinding lain pulak sementara tunggu cat yang ni kering. I'm not the one with the real photography qualification. Adi Nang yang ada qualification tu. I grad dengan Degree in Film & Animation. My adik, Razi Nang pun tengah study fotografi dekat UiTM."

Maybe it's me who's with the pain. I wish I never thought I wanted to become one of the geeky norms. I wish my art pieces weren't taken away from me when I was a kid. I wish my job now makes me glow just like what it did to him, his brothers and all his crew members.

We're both blessed we're in the right generation and at the right time of our life to decide on investing on our still memories this way. Being able to have those shots is such a dream come true.

Picture above: Udey Ismail of CandidSyndrome

Selamat Pengantin Baru kembali Saiful Nang dan Dr. Intan.

Thank you Saiful Nang, Adi Nang, Mukhriz and Udey Ismail for making our wedding a beautiful memory.

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