Let’s party: Maya (Nur Shahirah Amira, left), Adam (Danish Zakwan, 2nd from left) and atuk (Ahmad Tarmimi Siregar, right, with guitar) twisting away in Bunyi Gitar.
Projek My P. Ramlee: Tanya Sama Hati was a lively tribute done with broad smiles.
There has been no shortage of tributes when it comes to honouring Tan Sri P. Ramlee’s legacy. His genius – whether in movies or music – has transcended the times.
In recent memory, the popular P. Ramlee The Musical production has toured outside the Klang Valley, while the indie music tribute Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti: Satu Indiepretasi brought his music to a new generation of fans. Let’s not forget the books, art exhibitions, coins and stamps celebrating P. Ramlee. The man’s tribute list is a long and varied one.
Projek My P. Ramlee: Tanya Sama Hati, which was staged last weekend at the Auditorium DBKL in Kuala Lumpur, was the most recent stageside salute.
It kept true to the legend’s infectious spirit. Presented by Triple Eight Production, the project was initiated to raise money for the National Autism Society of Malaysia, and to expose the younger generation to the works of the golden age icon of Malay cinema and music.
As the first of a six-series project, which is intended to be an annual affair, the element of affection was applied throughout the musical’s plot.
The musical revolves around Adam (played by child actor Danish Zakwan) and Maya (Nur Shahirah Amira) who spend their holidays with their grandparents (Datuk Ahmad Tarmimi Siregar and Shiela Mambo).
Atuk (grandpa) and nenek (grandma), being great P. Ramlee fans, introduce the youngsters to some of the legend’s classic movies. What they see on television is re-enacted on stage. The musical begins with a crib scene while an actor sings Anakku Sazali. If you recall, from the film with the same title, the tune is about a father’s love for his unborn son.
It was a poignant start to the musical.
Veteran actor Ahmad Tarmimi, though no P. Ramlee, pulled off some of the songs pretty well. The role of Atuk was brought to life with his mellow voice.
He did a fantastic duet with Shiela in Malam Bulan di Pagar Bintang (from Pendekar Bujang Lapok). Their voices blended beautifully.
He also pushed up the entertainment value with the song and dance skit in Bunyi Gitar (from Tiga Abdul) ... complete with a roaring “twist” routine.
During his storytelling session, he tells the grandkids that back then, after a movie date, he would take his significant other to the zoo! At times, they’d sing and dance behind the trees when no one was watching.
Most apparently, P. Ramlee was influenced greatly by legendary Indian superstars Shivaji Ganesan and Marudhur Gopalan Ramachandran (MGR).
On stage, Danish was cute in his role and thrilled the audience. Credit should also go to Ismaliza Ismail (from AF7) for her lovely vocals.
For humour, Syed Atiq Wan Long’s impersonation of Achi, combined with his gelek, was hilarious. Other notable numbers were Aci-Aci Buka Pintu, Hai Obat, Pok Pok Pok Bujang Lapok, Doremi and Dengar Ini Cerita. Choreographer Farah Sulaiman also injected some joget, classical Malay dances, ballet, tap, jazz, Latin American and Broadway flavours into the items – all with a touch of modernity.
The dancers complemented the actors well. In the end when the parents came to pick their children – Adam and Maya, the group launched into Tanya Sama Hati (from Anakku Sazali).
The show’s director and scriptwriter, Manja Liza Abdul Rahman did a decent job in weaving the plot loosely together via songs from P. Ramlee’s movies.
It flowed seamlessly until the final bits when it somehow became disconnected. Confusion set in when young Adam and Maya became part of the “movies” and some in the crowd couldn’t figure out the logic.
Still, for the love of P. Ramlee, it was a worthy tribute. We’ll see what the next instalment brings.