Wednesday May 30, 2007
Sold on a song
By MUMTAJ BEGUM
Heavily-touted homespun musical, Diva, looks set to bowl over movie audiences.
Malaysian films are getting more ambitious; besides being increasingly expensive. Topping Afdlin Shauki’s over-RM3mil Sumolah, the much-touted Diva has been made at a cost of RM3.5mil. It is set to open simultaneously in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and India next month.
If you’re curious about the film’s multinational release, it’s because Diva has a Malaysian-Indonesian cast, while director Sharad Sharan and music composer Mithoon Sharma (who has scored Bollywood films such as Bas Ek Pal) are Indian citizens. Sharad has also been working in Indonesia for the past 11 years.
At a recent press conference to announce the film’s release, Sharad said: “We have just received news that the film might get released in Canada, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. There is also interest from India to remake Diva.”
Sharad commented: “These youngsters have really done a wonderful job and Ning is on par with any top Bollywood actress.”
Here’s the low-down on the youngsters featured in Diva:
“The hardest thing about making Diva was that I had to cry in one scene. I had to conjure real sad memories to make it through that scene.”
Adam, 23, is hoping to release an album with his group, Esdeco.
“I had to ad-lib and think on my feet while auditioning for this two-faced character,” she said. “Although I cannot sing well, I wanted the role because it was challenging on so many levels.”
She underwent rigorous dance training for the movie, as well as vocal training. In the end, however, the director opted not to let her sing. But she still had to learn to lip-synch the lyrics to local singer Nas Adila’s vocals.
“I have entered singing competitions but I’d rather pursue an acting career and leave singing to people who are truly passionate about it.”
However, Diva is particularly special to him.
“I finally got to sing. I have always wanted to be a singer ... it’s a real dream come true.”
Although hosting remains his priority, Awal admitted to that he’d been bitten by the acting bug. “I know I have a long way to go but I would like to pursue this if I can.”
As to how she landed a role in Diva, she said, “I was puzzled as to why Sharad wanted me to attend the audition because I cannot sing and dance.”
Nevertheless, three months prior to shooting, she learnt to dance and sing. However, her voice did not make the cut – Indonesian singer Manik Purwakrisna provided her vocals.
Jessica is also a second-year university student in Jakarta, studying interior design.
Diva, which is a joint production of Astro Shaw, Nusantara Films and Tarantella Pictures, will begin screening on June 28.