The road to acting has been a long and winding one for newcomer Mathni Razak, but the 30-year-old finally found his way.
Mathni first got his taste of showbiz when he took part in a male modelling competition, Pencarian Kacak Bergaya, in 2010.
“I got a call one day saying I’ve been selected to be one of the contestants in the competition, and I was like, ‘How could it be? I didn’t apply for it.’ It turns out my friend actually signed me up for the competition.”
Mathni didn’t win but the exposure opened the doors to modelling jobs, which has served as a steady source of income for him to this day, and acting roles.
Within the same year, the Kelantan-born actor secured a part in a telemovie, Raya Musim Luruh, starring opposite Remy Ishak. But due to family obligations, Mathni decided to put his acting career on hold. “I was helping out with a family business for over a year. When the business didn’t work out, I pursued a diploma in business administration instead.”
After completing his diploma, Mathni tried his luck in acting for a second time more than five years later. He played supporting characters in Abang Bomba I Love You in 2016 and the 80-episode soap opera Papa Ricky in 2017.
It was only in May last year that Mathni’s career took off through Nur, a controversial, groundbreaking local drama series centred on the relationship between a pious man and a prostitute. Mathni played the role of Doktor Mukhriz who spoke to prostitutes about the importance of practising safe sex in order to reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases.
Since then, more acting roles have followed including drama series Rahasia Kasih and telemovie Kalau Dah Jodoh.
Mathni reprises his role as Doktor Mukhriz on Nur 2, currently airing on TV3 at 10pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
1. Do you remember the first time you acted?
Yes, I remember I was so nervous, I just couldn’t get my dialogue right. My mind went blank. And then there were times where I’d get my dialogue right but then my body language didn’t match. After that, I didn’t act for five years. I only did modelling, which is a totally different thing. There are no dialogues.
When I first started acting again around 2017 on (the unreleased) Degup Cinta, I still wasn’t comfortable yet. In a long drama, a lot of times you have to film out of sequence. So you have to know what your character’s mood and frame of mind is in at any given point in the story.
2. What’s the biggest challenge new actors face? Having to cry on cue?
Crying scenes are hard. So usually, I try to focus on understanding why my character is crying and just immerse myself in the story. And if that doesn’t work, I look back at touching experiences I’ve had from my own life. I think about the words of advice my parents gave.
3. Did you expect Nur to be such a big hit?
No, I didn’t think the impact would be so big that there would be a second season. I was a bit surprised myself when I read the script. The topics discussed in Nur aren’t usually explored in most drama series.
I was a bit worried at first but the director and my management team briefed me thoroughly and from then on, I didn’t think too much about it and just focused on preparing myself for the character.
4. What are you currently working on?
I’m taking acting classes in between projects. I took an acting class led by (seasoned actress) Fauziah Nawi recently. And now I’m taking an eight-week acting course in the weekends at Akademi Seni Budaya Dan Warisan Kebangsaan (Aswara).
I’m starring in a drama about firefighters next.
5. You have a three-year-old son. How’s fatherhood been like?
Being a father has taught me a lot about discipline and responsibility. When I’m not filming, I take him out for walks. Right now, he’s at the phase where he wants to explore everything. For example, he keeps looking at pictures of animals on my phone. So I take note of his interests and brought him to Aquaria KLCC recently. Next, we’re going to the zoo.