Singer Ning Baizura loves playing 'a very powerful lady' in TV series 'Kuasa'

Ning says her character in 'Kuasa' has some of the best lines in the show. Photos: Handout

Since making her debut as a singer in 1992, Ning Baizura is known for her impressive vocals and stage presence.

So, it only makes sense that her first major role in a television series has her playing a woman that no one can ignore.

In the new series Kuasa – produced by Astro Shaw and Skop Productions – the 46-year-old plays Puan Sri Lily, the wife of a top entertainment mogul (Ridzuan Hashim).

At the start of the series, Lily’s husband announces that he is retiring from the business. The couple’s three children then turn up, vying to be the sole heir of the company.

While Darius (Nazim Othman), Delilah (Nadia Brian) and Dharma (Izzy Reef) are fighting for power, sabotaging one another in the process, Lily has her own part to play in the power tussle.

Ning told StarLifestyle that she found Lily to be an interesting character and that she has some of the best lines in the show, surmising Lily as “the mother of all mothers”.

Hence, Ning knew that playing Lily would give her an opportunity to try new things in terms of acting.

Prior to Kuasa, the 1993 Best New Artiste at AIM Awards starred in movies like Magika (2010), Muallaf (2008) and Maria Mariana II (1998). More recently, she had a small role in TV3 drama Madam E-Wallet (2021).

Ning Baizura and Nadia Brian play mother and daughter in 'Kuasa'.  Ning Baizura and Nadia Brian play mother and daughter in 'Kuasa'.

“I love the idea of trying something different, a character that I hardly had an opportunity to play before. So, I took the challenge and I loved it. Lily was my calling,” Ning said.

Describing Lily as “a very powerful lady, someone who would do anything to protect her family”, Ning looked to existing characters for some inspiration.

She named Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh’s tiger mum character Eleanor in Crazy Rich Asians, Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon in Empire and Joan Collins’ Alexis Carrington in soap opera Dynasty as some of her points of reference.

“But at the end of the day, it’s totally up to me how I play Puan Sri Lily. I was given the input on how I could make this character more colourful, which I did, and it was wonderful.

“I managed to pull together all these little bits and bobs of what I’ve seen and learned from different references and make Lily my own.”Getting into character

One of the ways that Ning got into character was to learn to do her own makeup and hair for the role.

As Ning is playing someone who is older than her own age in the series, the singer said she figured that wearing less makeup and knowing how Lily’s hair is styled would help her in portraying the character.

“This whole process of getting into the character of Puan Sri Lily is very therapeutic for me,” said Ning.

“I felt that I needed to understand and get to know the character wholeheartedly. That’s why I did my own makeup and hair, which is not an issue at all.”

A mother herself – Ning and husband Omar Sharif Christopher Layton Dalton have one son – the singer didn’t mind that she was 7kg heavier for the role, as it fitted with a woman who had three children.

“It gives the character a little bit of flair,” Ning elaborated.

“You know, at that point, we just went through MCO and all that. And I was reading the script so much that I knew what was going to happen next. So, I thought let’s just look a little bit different.

“Putting on weight is something that I think a lot people will probably think twice about.

“But for me, I don’t think I was thinking so much about my weight – Puan Sri Lily is a businesswoman but at the same time she’s a mother of three, and a wife of a very powerful man. So, all these things worked at that time.

“Now that I’ve finished (filming), I can go back to my normal self. And that is one of the best decisions that I’ve made and I’m grateful for that.”Exploring different roles

After playing Lily, Ning said she is now even more keen on exploring characters that would challenge her.

“Right now, I am fine playing a mother because there are different types of mothers; and there are different types of women at my age,” said Ning, mentioning the roles she would like to play in the future.

“I haven’t played a really bad baddie. I would love to do that, like – I don’t know – a gangster or something like that.

“I would love to do an action-packed show, you know, or a drama series or a movie. I wouldn’t mind doing that.

“That is something that will be quite challenging; it would push me to my boundaries, I guess of trying to keep up with my fitness. I wouldn’t mind doing that.

“But yeah, anything else that’s going to come by after this has got to be thought wisely because Kuasa is already at a level of its own.”

Kuasa airs every Monday at 9pm on Astro Citra (Ch 108).

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Ning Baizura


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