Sunday, 21 October 2007

About P. Ramlee.

In my personal opinion, P. Ramlee is the BEST ever asset to Malaysian entertainment.

Some dispute that it is the Malaysian government that deserves the (in their case) dubious honour, but indulge me when I insist the rightful honour still belongs to P. Ramlee.

P. Ramlee The Musical is all about his life and is currently playing at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, until November 3. Jeff Ooi has the photos and the review.

In spite of our ongoing racial conflicts, the only thing that can bring us together is probably P. Ramlee movies. Though sometimes slapstick, they were always hilarious!

Jonathan Kent of BBC agrees with me.

One of the reasons I look forward to the holidays here is because the local TV stations always screen a good selection of his movies.

P Ramlee was an actor, singer, comedian, songwriter, screenwriter and film director

My favourite is the comedy Madu Tiga - or Three Honies - made in 1964.

P Ramlee plays a married man who decides to take a second and then a third bride, all with the collusion of his first wife's mischievous father.

But despite his best efforts to keep the three from finding out about one another, inevitably they meet, become friends and finally gang up on him.

It is a cautionary tale.

But what is most striking about P Ramlee's films from the 1950s and 1960s is their depiction of Malay life.

His movies are gentle and sensual, the people relaxed, fun-loving and charming. There are even jokes about gin.

Read why Kent realises that films like these could not be made today. And why it would have broken P Ramlee's heart.

A crying shame.

Due to the influence of wackos like Harussani Zakaria and his ilk, we are losing our true culture and heritage.

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