Going for goal!

  • Arts
  • Saturday, 09 Nov 2013

Awie (with moustache) was a spot-on Datuk Mokhtar Dahari.

Awie turned on a stellar performance in his lead role in SuperMokh The Musical.

AS a huge fan of the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, the nation’s football great, and also rocker-actor Awie, it was undeniable that SuperMokh The Musical was on my “must watch” list.

The thought of seeing the life of Mokhtar unveiled on stage got me beyond excited. This coming from someone who does not enjoy musicals.

To see Awie on stage bringing Mokhtar to life and telling stories that some of us, especially the younger generation were not aware of, was indeed something special.

SuperMokh The Musical, now playing at Panggung Sari, Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur, has that sort of magic.

The production also boasted a “match” between Malaysia and South Korea where Istana Budaya was tranformed into Stadium Merdeka for night!

Bringing back the magic: The epic Stadium Merdeka scene in SuperMokh The Musical. In this fictional match, Malaysia came back to win 3-2. — Photos by NORAFIFI

Such scenes reminded me of how my late dad and myself were glued to our black and white television set as we watched football matches together, especially the annual Pesta Bola Merdeka tournaments. We always cheered on Mokthar and the national team.

Back to SuperMokh The Musical, the nostalgia factor was integral to the show’s appeal. A work by Tall Order Productions and Jugra Publication, budgeted at RM3mil, the musical tells the life of Mokhtar who was one of the best players in Asia and the best Malaysian footballer of his generation (the 1970s/early 1980s).

Mokhtar started his national football career in 1972 when he was only 19.

During his illustrious 18-year career, he was hailed as the best striker in Malaysia and called SuperMokh. The Selangor star scored more than 170 goals. He also played a prominent role in Selangor’s success in the Malaysia Cup competitions.

He retired after helping Selangor win the Malaysia Cup in 1986. In the final, played at Stadium Merdeka, Selangor defeated Johor 6-1.

In the late 1980s, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, a rare condition where parts of the nervous system become damaged, causing progressive body weakness.

Awie exuded romantic charm that Mokhtar would have been proud of. Maya Karin played Mokhtar’s wife Datin Tengku Zarina Tengku Ibrahim on stage.

After three years of battling the disease, Mokhtar died from it in July 1991. He was just 37 years old.

That’s the backstory to SuperMokh The Musical. Watching Awie playing the football legend on stage, there were many things we didn’t realise about Mokhtar, who was loved by so many.

Apart from Awie in the lead, the musical also featured Rashidi Ishak, Dina Nazir, Maya Karin, Douglas Lim, Chi Ho, Oliver Johanan and Clarence Kuna.

If Awie’s aim was to achieve 50% of the late Mokhtar’s personality and mannerisms, then he did a splendid job indeed.

Granted that Awie, a two-time winner of the Boh Cameronian Best Actor Award for Cuci The Musical and Lat The Musical, remained on the chubby side despite trying to be “match fit” for the musical, he still managed to play Mokhtar convincingly on stage during the production’s opening night on Wednesday.

And yes Awie (with moustache) did look like Mokhtar.

Co-directed by Hans Isaac and Harith Iskander, the musical did bring back memories of Malaysian football’s heyday in 1970s.

With exciting choreography by Adzwadi Sani, coupled with the interesting visuals of Stadium Merdeka, the entire Istana Budaya made us feel that we were indeed watching a football match at the stadium.

As the musical rolled out, we found out that Mokhtar was a reserved person in real life and a romantic husband to boot.

His romantic side was shown in a scene with Awie and Maya Karin (who played Mokhtar’s wife Datin Tengku Zarina Tengku Ibrahim).

On stage, she sat on Awie’s lap as they talked about his football career. It was also revealed that the loving couple had almost called off their engagement once.

Amid all the song and dance featured, SuperMokh The Musical also had a human heart in the script.

Whenever his team lost a match, Mokhtar would sit quietly in a corner until he got over his disappointment. Awie took on his lead character role with much confidence – playing Mokhtar the team captain, giving out inspiration to the fans and also being a true hero to his nation and family.

Also in the musical, we were told that Mokhtar decided to retire from playing football when the corruption and match-fixing started to take its hold in local football.

There was a scene when Mokhtar was furious when he was approached by a match-fixer not to score goal in a match between Malaysia and Singapore.

With Awie’s acting, the audience could almost feel the football star’s pain and how the incident really hurt him. Mokhtar, as we all know, played football because of his love and passion for the sport and not for monetary rewards.

The musical also brought to light the tense atmosphere of a half-time scene with Malaysia down 2-0 to South Korea. Awie carried Mokthar the eternal optimist’s role well as he lifted the dressing room with an inspirational speech. Malaysia went on to win that crucial match – but we’ll leave out the small details for your own viewing pleasure at Istana Budaya.

Apart from Awie, comedian Douglas Lim did steal the show a few times in his role as Kenny – Mokhtar’s new colleague at his office in PKNS.

Lim’s funny and comical lines was a complete blast. That left the audiences in stitches. It was good too see a lighter side of Mokthar’s life too. Apart from Lim, another character which captivated the audiences was Nurin (played by singer-actress Dina Nadzir) who was Datin Zarina’s close friend and confidant.

Nurin’s obsession of winning the heart of national footballer Reduan Abdullah, (played by Rashidi Ishak), who was Mokhtar’s best pal, landed her in many cute and comical situations.

With 19 brand new songs by musical director Michael Veerapan, the two-hour musical runs till Nov 18.

The show is under the patronage of the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who is one of Mokhtar’s biggest fans.

SuperMokh The Musical tickets are available at www.ticket2u.biz.

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Going for goal!


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