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Qaisy and Laila

25 Aug

Qaisy and Laila

A movie about love. compassion and humanity in a war torn country.

Jehan Miskin …… Qaisy
Nur Fazura ……… Laila
Umie Aida ………. Dr. Suria
Radhi Khalid ……. Sadiq
Redzuan Hashim .. Dato’
Rahimah Rahim …. Datin
Fahrin Ahmad ….. Arman

Directed by Raja Ahmad Alauddin

Nur Fazura plays Siti Nurlaila, a voluntary worker of from Mercy Malaysia in war-torn Afghanistan who end up forr a relief worker, played by Jehan Miskin.

Nur Fazura was named the Most Promising Actress at the 17th Malaysia Film Festival.

Other movie by Nur Fazura.
Bicara Hati, Senario XXX




Girls Who Dig Balls

16 Aug

The “Gol & Gincu” chicks have to learn futsal, display grrl power and wade through a whole field of product placements
by Chuah Siew Eng

Gol & Gincu is like an extended 3R episode. The girl-power slant is to be expected, as the screenplay came from Rafidah Abdullah, co-host and occasional writer for the hip TV-zine with a focus on empowering young women. Featuring kick-ass young girls who also kick balls (ahem!), Gol & Gincu is an enjoyable, feel-good chick flick that addresses teen issues while subtly introducing feminists themes.

There are many important issues tackled – self-image, gender stereotypes, friendships and even a largely unspoken evil that plagues some families (though this movie slyly debunks the prevailing misconception that it is confined only to a certain class of family). That most of the morals of the story can come together in a natural, non-diactic and thoroughly enjoyable package is a credit to both Rafidah and fellow debutante, director Bernard Chauly. They give us believable characters who speak naturally, in a suka-suka mix of Malay and English, as are the wont of middle-class Malaysians conversant in both languages.

There is Putri (Nur Fazura), a bubbly, upper-middle-class teenager with beauty, fashion and boyfriend for hobbies. When the last item drops out of her daily to-do list and starts featuring prominently on another girl’s mobile phone, Putri does not accept things as they are and sets about to get her boyfriend back (an unconvincing epiphany here, by the way).

The errant boyfriend is Eddy (Ashraf Sinclair). A football/futsal maniac, he finds in Shasha (Sazzy Falak in a sizzling performance) a futsal-playing girlfriend whom he thinks suits him better.

Shasha is Putri’s complete opposite as reflected in the people she idolises: for Shasha, cerebral feminists like Camille Paglia rule; for Putri, it’s fashion guru Stella McCartney (these nuggets of characterisation are from the official website, but are not mentioned in the film at all). When Shasha says, “I can’t stand girls like that (Putri),” I nod my head in complete understanding (despite having some Putri tendencies myself). After all, how much cotton candy can you take? Shasha’s is the more complex character and it would have been interesting to have her as the protagonist and see how she came to be such a strong character.

Putri’s best friend Mia (Melissa Maureen) is less flighty but still spun from the same sugar. Her role appears to be Putri’s shopping buddy, sounding board and doormat friend as we are never shown what Putri does for her in return. Putri’s kindness is instead extended to the next door adik, Jiji (Sharifah Amani, who shows why she deserves the Most Promising Actress Award at the recent Malaysian Film Festival), who is struggling with darker issues at home. With Zie (Rafidah) as their coach, Putri forms a motley team whose diverse backgrounds and personal motivations add zing to the group.

The main characters are convincing except for Eddy: Can he turn out to be such a fickle nonentity after giving sound, insightful reasons – incompatibility and the undesirability of polygamy – for breaking up? Despite the contradiction, Ashraf pulls off a credible performance as both the doofus, guilt-ridden boyfriend with something to hide, and the gentle, repentant ex-boyfriend who remembers and misses the ‘cheerleader’ girlfriend he had.

Also, while was a sense of excitement about the game, there was not enough details for vicarious participation. Aside from the amusing insight into how girls block a penalty kick (a quick shot, so watch out for it), we learn nothing about the tactics involved – unless, of course, there isn’t any to begin with. A little more on the progress they make as a team would have helped to make the ending, though predictable, at least more believable.

What makes Gol & Gincu a Malaysian winner is its non-patronising sub-text about embracing our multi-ethnicity, as reflected in the easy-going friendship forged, rather than a mere ‘multi-racial tolerance’. There is no discrimination due to race, gender or class; just one another to count on.

Besides being real, the dialogue also incorporates notes from contemporary urban culture, such as a nose-thumbing reference to the religious officers’ raid on Zouk in January. The sly reference is not surprising given co-producer Marina Mahathir’s open opposition to the conduct of the authorities at that raid.

The classic line, though, has to belong to the off-duty woman cop who had to make an unexpected arrest. The Royal Malaysian Police look impressively efficient here. Gerak Khas has nothing on them.

Teens will find in Gol & Gincu many nilai-nilai murni to aspire towards (that the unpredictable Censorship Board let it pass without a single cut says something of the movie), but the brand-conscious lifestyle of the rich and not-so-rich shouldn’t be one of them. Here’s a jolt of reality: Because of increasing waste due to our consumptive habits, the government wants to build a mega-incinerator at a village less than 50km away from Kuala Lumpur, although the Environmental Impact Assessment Report puts 50km as the minimum distance from an incinerator to a human populated area. Yet we continue to promote via popular media, a lifestyle of consumption with little regard for the capacity of our natural resources to sustain us.

Similarly, I also have reservations about the many product placements in the movie (go ahead, count them). It makes me want to ask: Coke is the choice of the new gen? What happened to the Pepsi Generation? Or the Kickapoo Joy Juice kakis? Or even the Yeo Hiap Seng geng? Okay, maybe the last two brands are out since they don’t position themselves as “reflect[ing] the lifestyle of the young and dynamic” (as Rafidah describes Hotlink, Coke and Adidas, the main sponsors of the movie). Is such ‘win-win’ collaboration between filmmakers and sponsors a portent of local productions to come? It’s an ingenuous advertising method, to be sure, but what price in terms of artistic integrity? On the audiences’ part, would we have to learn to be on our guard for every commercial intrusion when we should be enjoying the aesthetics of the movie as the story unfolds?

With a good-looking cast, a formulaic can-do story, and famous, pedigreed names behind the production, Gol & Gincu is sure to draw in the crowds, with the added appeal of bigwig actors Zahim Albakri (in his vilest role ever), Ida Nerina (much underused) and Khatijah Tan.

But one wonders though why Rafidah, fresh from her success at obtaining a Master’s in scriptwriting with a distinction, chose a debut that – save for the futsal bit – is so similar to a Hollywood hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon, from plot to protagonist, right down to the break-up scene (and no one from Gol & Gincu ever mentioned this as a simple matter of acknowledgement. I stand corrected if I’m wrong). If only that weren’t so, it would have been so easy to shout a whole-hearted “Goal!” for her.

~ ~ ~

Chuah Siew Eng likes to kick balls too, but her aim isn’t so good, so guys better watch out.

Gol & Gincu poster

Nur Fazura as Putri

Sazzy Falak as Shasha

Ashraf Sinclair as Eddy

Sharifah Amani as Jiji

Rafidah Abdullah as Zie (she’s also the scriptwriter)

Director Bernard Chauly

Gol & Gincu Synopsis

1 Aug


From self-centered fashion diva to heroic futsal captain – Gol & Gincu follows the journey of Putri as she discovers what really matters in life.

Dumped unceremoniously by her sports-crazy boyfriend, Putri schemes of winning him back by becoming a futsal player herself. Initially she is deemed clueless and rather bimbo-esque and has to take a few hard knocks along the way. Working with her futsal team, she learns the difficulties and prejudices faced by women athletes. Ultimately she comes out victorious, as she becomes a stronger person and discovers the winner in her, both on and off the pitch.

“The story focuses on issues faced by youth growing up and dealing with self-image, love, and pressure from their peers, family and society,” says co-Executive Producer Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir. “And we also want to show the very diverse range of young people that we have. Contrary to what people believe, they do not all look and act the same way!”

Written by Rafidah Abdullah, (writer and host of 3R), Gol and Gincu is her first feature film script. The film is directed by award winning independent filmmaker Bernard Chauly, (of “Piala untuk Mama” and “Multimedia Super Cintun” fame).

Starring Nur Fazura, Ashraf Sinclair, Zahim Albakri, Ida Nerina, Kathijah Tan, Sazzy Falak, Mohd. Pierre Andre, Sharifah Amani, Zarina (AF2), Anding (AF2), Melissa Maureen Rizal, Rafidah Abdullah, Kartini Kamalul Ariffin, Celina Khor and Bernice Chauly.

Produced by Red Communications under its film arm, Red Films.

Qaisy & Laila

27 Jun


A love story between an Afghan young man, Qaisy, and a Malaysian medical relief volunteer, Laila. The gist of the story has Qaisy cutting short his studies in Malaysia to return home to look after his little sister when the rest of his family members were killed in the war. There he meets Laila who joins a Malaysian medical relief group to look for adventure.

In war-ravaged Afghanistan, love blooms slowly between an Afghan man (Qaisy) and a Malaysian aid worker (Laila) who is trying to escape her own personal demons at home.


Jehan Miskin … Qaisy
Nur Fazura … Laila
Umie Aida … Dr. Suria
Radhi Khalid … Sadiq
Redzuan Hashim … Dato’
Rahimah Rahim … Datin
Fahrin Ahmad … Arman
Tengku Nurtasha … Adik Nurjanah
Farok Khan … Samad

Senario XX

19 May


Zoragon berasal dari planet Zuhal. Dia bertugas mengendalikan kapal angkasa yang mengangkut bahan tenaga dari Zurah ke Marikh. Suatu ketika, kapal angkasanya mengalami kerosakan akibat diserang oleh Jeneral Zoragas dan pembantunya Zolidia yang ingin memiliki mesin kuasa yang disimpan oleh Zoragon. Mesin kuasa itu mampu dijadikan senjata dan Jeneral Zoragas mahukannya untuk merampas kuasa Raja Zaragus. Akibat serangan Jeneral Zoragas, Zoragon terpaksa mendaratkan kapal angkasanya di planet Bumi dan terdampar di sebuah kampung di Malaysia. Penduduk kampung tersebut amat terkejut dengan kehadiran kapal angkasa atau UFO itu. Dalam kekecohan yang timbul itu, seorang bomoh yang masih berpegangkan kepercayaan karut telah mengatakan bahawa kapal angkasa dan makhluk asing itu merupakan jelmaan hantu polong lalu menggunakan jampi serapah untuk menghalaunya. Kehadiran Zoragon di Bumi juga telah menemukannya dengan gadis kampung yang bernama Siti. Akibatnya timbul konflik antara tunang Siti (Rosman) dengan Zoragon yang telah terpikat pada Siti.

Wahid (Senario) … Zoragon
Saiful Apek … Jeneral Zoragas
Nur Fazura … Siti
Mazlan (Senario) … Rosman
Azlee (Senario) … Bomoh
Wahid Satay … Ketua kampung
Lazizah Ahmad … Ibu Siti
Rosyam Nor … Rosyam Nor
Yassin Yahya …
Chef Wan …
Siti Faizurina …

Surviving Quetta

20 Apr

Bissme S.

Qaisy and Laila is the first local film to be shot in war-torn Quetta, a border town between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Budgeted at RM2.3 million, Qaisy and Laila is love story between a Malaysian non-governmental organisation volunteer and an Afghan man working as a translator in the war scarred land.

The cast and crew spent a month in Quetta to complete the filming. In an interview with theSun, Habsah Hassan (pix, left), who co-produced Qaisy and Laila with Ruhani Abdul Rahman, elaborates on the challenges faced during the shooting.

Habsah, who also wrote the script for this movie, had previously produced three other films, namely Hati Bukan Kristal, Soal Hati and Soal Siapa.

How did you get the idea for this movie?
It happened in 2003 when I was attending a dinner function organised by Mercy Malaysia. The organisation showed clips on the horrifying situation in war-torn Afghanistan and the lives of the people who are victims of the war. Their plight touched me. Then an idea struck me. Why not make a film depicting the situation there? As for my research, I talked to 10 Malaysian volunteers who served in Afghanistan.

What is your message in the film? Is this an anti-American movie?
It is not anti-American. This not a political movie either. It’s based on the humanitarian aspect, the situation faced by the victims of war. When I wrote the story, I kept asking myself why the Afghans were willing to be suicide bombers, why they would so easily offer their lives for a cause they believed in … I hope the audience will ask the same questions. In the end, I hope the audience will be thankful that ours is a peaceful country, that our people are not living in such dire situations.

Why did you pick Raja Ahmad Alauddin to direct this film?
He directed the first film that I produced, namely Hati Bukan Krystal in 1990 and the movie went on to win six awards at the Malaysian Film Fest, including best director. At the Asia Pacific Film Festival, he won the best young director award. I really believe he is a talented director who has not been given the right break. Besides, we communicate well and he brings out the best in my script. I’m very particular about my script.

Your cast features relative newcomers. Why not hire more established names?
I’ve always hired those who I believe best suit the characters I have in mind. Even for my first film, I hired relative unknowns. In Soal Hati, I gave Afdlin Shauki the lead role — his first. He had only played supporting roles up till then.

I believe in giving new actors a chance. I am happy to say the Nur Fazura and Jehan Miskin, who play the leads, gave convincing performances. Acting coach Normah Nordin did a wonderful job, too.

Tell us your experience filming in Quetta.
Since it’s a war-torn country, to ensure safety, I had to hire bodyguards to be on set. There were occasions when we could hear bombs being dropped nearby. The other hassle was the weather, which was very unpredictable. The nights were cold while the days were extremely hot. There were even days when sandstorms would call a halt to filming.

At first, we wanted to shoot at Kandarha (in Afghanistan). The setting would have been perfect. But we had to cancel the plan as the Americans were still looking for Osama bin Laden and the situation there was tense. I couldn’t put the safety of my cast and crew in jeopardy. So I moved to Quetta, which was reportedly safer.

Why take the risk of shooting in such a potentially volatile area?
I wanted to portray the beautiful landscape and I wanted my movie to be realistic. Given a chance, I would love to go back and make another film in Quetta.

Love in Afghanistan


Produced in digital format, using a videocam, Qaisy and Laila is a love epic that is laced with sacrifice and hope. War-torn Afghanistan brings together two unlikely souls from different cultures.

Qaisy (Jehan Miskin, pix left) is a failed graduated who has returned to Afghanistan after all members of his family are killed in the war. The only survivor is his youngest sister, Nurjanah.

He has to put his studies on hold as his priority now is looking after Nurjanah and the other Afghanistan orphans. He is frustrated by the condition of his country and people.

But he hopes to able to unite his segregated nation. He firmly believes that unity and knowledge is the key to freeing his people from oppression and humiliation.

To support his sister, Qaisy takes on a job as a translator for the Malaysian Relief Team (Merit), an NGO.

There, he meets a volunteer, Siti Nurlaila or Laila (Nur Fazura, pix right), who’s the only child of a wealthy family. The sufferings of the people touch Laila’s heart. She also finds herself slowly falling in love with Qaisy.

The movie also stars Umie Aida, Radhi Khalid, Ridzuan Hashim and Rahimah Rahim. It will be released at the end of the year.