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Juita Suwito – Beautiful Lies

17 Jan

Music video from Gol & Gincu

27 Nov

Gol N Gincu – MTV “million miles away”

21 Oct

They want to bring me down

28 Aug

She’s currently riding high with the much talked about movie, Gol & Gincu. But Nur Fazura Sharifuddin’s personal life is mired in the depths of controversy, what with an assault charge and rumours of porn videos of her circulating.

FOR her StarMag photo shoot, Nur Fazura Sharifuddin wore a slinky navy-blue top and an ankle-length skirt – with Adidas futsal shoes.

She is, of course, promoting the Malay teen flick, Gol & Gincu, that revolves around indoor football. The 22-year-old actress plays the lead, Putri.

“Are those the famous high heels?” I ask as she changes from the stilettos in which she arrived to the sports shoes.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha,” she laughs (slightly cynically), and replies, “Of course not.”

Nur Fazura Sharifuddin as teenager Putri in Gol & Gincu(above).

The famous shoe is the one she used to allegedly assault a woman with in December last year. In May, Nur Fazura claimed trial in a Kuala Lumpur magistrate’s court to an assault charge.

“The evidence is with the police, obviously,” she says of the gold and silver shoe. And, no, she doesn’t want to talk about what happened – “That would be contempt of court!”

“But I have a replacement pair of shoes at home. I got a new pair because I love that style. It was not a Manolo. Thank God it was not one of my Manolos.”

Manolo Blahnik, for the fashion-challenged, is the really expensive haute couture brand beloved of Sex and the City TV character Carrie Bradshaw.

And there you have it: the contradiction that is Nur Fazura. For this lass insists that she’s still a small town girl at heart – she hails from Pekan, Pahang. And yet, she displays a very sophisticated urban taste in not only her footwear but also the image she portrays.

It’s that image that seems to be getting her into hot water. Though she’s a bit of an industry darling, having won the Most Promising Actress award at the Malaysian Film Festival last year for her role in Bicara Hati, the Malay press are not exactly enamoured of Nur Fazura.

When rumours began circulating that the woman in a 10-minute pornographic video clip for mobile phones is her, the press went after her for either confirmation or denial.

“Some of the Malay tabloid reporters asked me if I would swear on the Quran (and deny that she’s in the video) and I went, ‘Why?’”

“But I see the point. They want to bring me down and they want to upset me. And I go, ‘Hey, I don’t want to bother’,” she explains. She adds pointedly, “They don’t have any stories to write.”

What, in her opinion, is the No. 1 false rumour written about Nur Fazura?

“That I’m wild. That I’m a party girl. That I created all this publicity just to get people to watch my movies. And there are all my ‘love affairs’ with this guy, that guy. It all makes me look bad,” she fumes.

Er, that’s more than one ? but then, the woman’s got a right to vent a little, we feel.

So, what is the truth about Nur Fazura, then?

“I’m not someone who would go out with all these guys. I’m not arrogant. That (woman in the) porn video isn’t me. I am a simple girl. But people look at me and assume I am this high profile, wild, party girl who goes out with everybody and beats people up all the time,” she says indignantly.

“I am a very private person. I like to stay home. I like to spread lots of fresh white flowers around the place, light scented candles and watch DVDs.”

And no, she says firmly, she is really not seeing anybody.

“I have not found a good guy yet. But I am confident I will. I can tell you, Philip, I really want to start a family. I’m young, I know, but I am aching to have kids,” she confides.

“I want lots of them – I want 11 boys and one girl! Eleven, because I want to start a football team. And the one girl will be Putri, the very spoilt one.”

Explaining her definition of a “good guy,” she says, “I would like an ambitious guy who works hard, somebody who knows what he wants in his life, somebody who likes to watch movies and read books and stuff like that.

“And someone who also likes – sometimes, not every weekend! – to go out and have fun.”

So, that’s Nur Fazura’s version of Nur Fazura. She sounds nice. She comes across as nice during the interview. And yet, there’s all that bad press?.

So we decide to find out what someone who has had to work closely with Nur Fazura thinks of her. We whip out the trusty mobile to track down Gol & Gincu’s co-producer Lina Tan of production company Red Films. (The movie’s other producer is Marina Mahathir, whose company occasionally works with Red Films.)

”The thing in this industry is, when you are female, young and beautiful, people judge you more,” says Tan. “People look at her, she is gorgeous and beautiful, and so people just assume she will also be arrogant – beautiful people have that problem!

“But when you get to know her, she is warm, smart and funny,” says Tan. “And when she commits to a project, she gives it her all. When she was on location, she was very focused. Before shooting, she had done her homework. She knew who Putri was.”

In fact, Tan sees many similarities between Gol & Gincu’s sweet Putri and Nur Fazura: “Our first impression (when they cast Nur Fazura) was, ‘Oh God, she is Putri!’ She is like Putri. She is a nice person who can be naive about the world, but her warm personality is infectious.”

Nur Fazura is also evidently someone who can laugh at herself. In the movie, which was filmed in March, there is a reference to the infamous real life assault incident. Putri and her friend Zie (Rafidah Abdullah) are chatting when Putri says, “You better watch out, if not I will throw my shoes at you.”

Now that’s funny.

‘Gol & Gincu’ is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.

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 reaches fever pitch

9 Aug


Ready for some female futsal action? RIZAL JOHAN tackles the latest film, Gol & Gincu, which seems poised to score with local audiences.

The producers of the popular TV teen series 3R and last year’s digital horror film, Visits: Hungry Ghost Anthology, have taken a big commercial leap with their latest offering Gol & Gincu, which will hit theatres nationwide on Aug 11. This marks Red Films first film foray and also marks indie director Bernard Chauly’s film directorial debut.

Gol & Gincu is a teenage drama concerning Putri (Nur Fazura Sharifuddin), a fashion conscious girl who gets dumped by her futsal frenzy boyfriend Eddy (Ashraf Sinclair) and attempts to win him back by taking up the sport. She goes through the hurdles of being a woman in the male dominated sport, being a team player and finally, finds her self worth in and off the pitch. The film also stars Sazzy Falak, Melissa Maureen, Mohd Pierre Andre, Sharifah Amani, Bernice Chauly, 3R hosts Rafidah Abdullah (who also wrote the script), Kartini Kamalul Ariffin and Celina Khor as well as veteran actors Zahim Albakri, Ida Nerina and Khatijah Tan.

In a recent screening of the movie for members of the media, director Chauly spoke about the trials and tribulations of making the RM1.5mil movie. He was, for one, a little critical of his own work.

“I get more and more critical every time I watch the movie,” smiled the affable director who has helmed commercials, the TV drama Piala Untuk Mama for Ntv7, as well as episodes of 3R.

Critical though he may be, Chauly revealed that he had great time working on the film although he was worried about it initially.

“As a director, I was worried about the technical aspects of movie making like the colour grading and stuff. I got over that once we were on set though,” said Chauly.

Another thing that Chauly is pleased about is the tight shooting schedule, which went exactly as planned.

“We managed to wrap up principal photography as planned – 28 days in all. It was really fun making the film; the set was really fun and lively, we all did silly stuff to keep the atmosphere fun and Fazura especially kept the energy high on set,” he said.

When Fazura was asked where she got all her energy from, she replied: “Whenever I’m tired, I eat a lot of junk food.”

Gol & Gincu, which is set in modern day Kuala Lumpur, features contemporary, urban dialogue, a mixture of English and Bahasa Malaysia and the common colloquialisms. Chauly credited scriptwriter Rafidah for her ability to write fluid dialogue.

“Ninety-five percent of the dialogue in the movie was scripted. Rafidah writes dialogue naturally and I didn’t want to over rehearse the dialogue with the actors. I wanted the dialogue to come naturally.”

The script aside, Chauly could not get the development of the characters out of his head during pre-production.

“I dreamt about all the characters. I weighed them constantly in my mind,” he said.

When the film was completed however, the film was screened in front of a test audience and questionnaires were handed out to find out the audience reaction, just like how it’s done in Hollywood.

According to Chauly, the original cut of the film was over 120 minutes and after the filmmakers secured the results of the test audience, the film was cut down to 100 minutes.

“It was very useful (screening the film to a test audience),” said Chauly. “We didn’t end up throwing a lot of (the scenes) out but it was apparent to us what we needed to keep and what we needed to let go.”

Chauly had even heard comments that the film was likened as an independent film gone mainstream. He, however, does not agree with the statement.

He said: “What we wanted to do is tell a story with integrity.”

Gala Premiere in GSC, 1Utama

9 Aug

From left to right… Pierre Andre as Reza, Nur Fazura as Putri, Sazzy Falak as Shasha and Ashraf Sinclair as Eddy.

Ashraf, Fazura, Ella and gracetansc.

Photo from