Lisa Surihani nervous about acting with M'sian jazz queen Sheila Majid
Actress Lisa Surihani Mohamed was a bundle of nerves acting with Malaysian jazz queen Sheila Majid for upcoming musical Sinaran
She struggled to calm her nerves and contain her excitement while filming with Sheila Majid last year for upcoming musical Sinaran.
Malaysian actress and host Lisa Surihani Mohamed plays the lead character of college freshman Shila in the movie where the Malaysian jazz queen has a cameo appearance as herself.
The coming-of-age tale about ambitions, friendship and love is named after a classic Sheila hit that propelled her to stardom in 1986.
In the film, Shila falls in love with Indonesian student Andre (played by Indonesian actor Evan Sanders) and takes part in a dance competition while battling life's ups and downs.
Recalling her experience filming with the celebrated singer, Lisa, 29, told The New Paper at the film's gala premiere at Temasek Polytechnic yesterday: "In front of her, I tried to be all cool and casual so as not to make her feel uncomfortable or awkward. But God knows how I truly felt.
"We shot the scene for nearly 24 hours and she was still joking around with everyone.
"People easily assume she's a diva because of her status, but she's very humble. It is very inspiring to me how someone as successful as her can remain so grounded. It makes her very special."
Lisa, who was tight-lipped about the 50-year-old's involvement in the film, said that Sheila's 1985 song Gerimis Semalam was especially meaningful for her.
"It's not in the film, but it's a very sweet song that reminds me of my late father. It's my favourite song of hers and I told her that," said Lisa, whose father lost a battle with cancer in 2008 at the age of 61.
The movie, also starring regional actors like Syarif Sleeq, Izara Aishah and Nadiah M. Din, breathes new life into Sheila's hit songs like Antara Anyer Dan Jakarta, Warna and Di Dalam Emosi Ini. She also recorded a new track, Sinaran Cinta, just for the film.
The film, slated for a Nov 26 release in cinemas across Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, was largely filmed here against familiar settings like Arab Street, Universal Studios Singapore and Temasek Polytechnic, with a $1.3 million budget.
For Lisa, the filming process of Sinaran was one of her most memorable experiences as an actress.
The recent winner of Best Actress at Malaysia's Anugerah Skrin awards ceremony said: "I like it that director Osman Ali and executive producer Kevin Chin asked for our input throughout the film, making us feel very involved as actors.
"I also danced in the movie, something I haven't done in over 10 years. I'm excited to see how it comes together."
Lisa has another reason to be excited this year: She and her Malaysian film-maker husband, Yusry Abdul Halim, welcomed a baby girl named Yahaira Leanne on Sept 15.
Said Lisa about motherhood: "It's more of me learning new things than anything else. I'm constantly learning things about myself.
"I hope to be the best mother I can be for my daughter."
Yahaira, she said, is a mix of her parents and her grandmothers. While she has Yusry's chin and forehead, she has Lisa's lips and eyes.
"I will never forget the time I first laid my eyes on her after giving birth," said Lisa.
"She was really fair, with really, really pink cheeks and lots of hair. I teared up because it was such a beautiful moment. It's, like, 'Oh my God, I'm a mum.'"
It is too early to say if Lisa will let career take a backseat to parenthood.
"Maybe when she is a little older, I will feel more confident about taking on projects. I love my job and it's still too early to say. We'll see," she said.
It is very inspiring to me how someone as successful as her can remain so grounded. It makes her very special.
- Lisa Surihani Mohamed on Sheila Majid
Sheila Majid's surprised musical finally happens for her
TNP PHOTO: NABILAH NORDIAN
When she was first approached by Sinaran's executive producer, Kevin Chin, with the idea for the musical film five years ago, Malaysian jazz superstar Sheila Majid thought it was a big undertaking.
"It seemed pretty ambitious and I had many questions," said the 50-year-old.
"Many people had approached me with similar ideas in the past, but the execution was so big that they didn't happen.
"When I got a call from Kevin last year to inform me that shooting had commenced, I was pleasantly surprised."
Sheila could not help but be flattered that seven of her greatest hits and two new songs would serve as the backdrop for the musical film.
"I feel absolutely appreciated. I hope everyone will enjoy this," said the singer who has enjoyed a glittery three-decade career.
"The younger generation can get to know my songs and the other fans will feel a tinge of nostalgia."
Her songs were given a new twist for the film and Sheila let on that she enjoyed them all.
"They have been given a breath of fresh air and I think a great job was done," she said.
On her cameo as herself, she said: "I'm not going to tell you what my role is but this I will say: You have to watch carefully.
"I was very excited and a little apprehensive but Lisa (Surihani Mohamed) made me feel very comfortable. She went the extra mile to make sure I was comfortable on set."
Sheila, whose last movie role was in the 1985 romantic comedy Ali Setan, also revealed that a new album is in the works.
She said: "It's to commemorate my 30th year in the industry.
"I have completed five songs. Hopefully, I can release the album next year."
She's confident her supporters will always remain avid fans of her older works.
"If I don't sing Sinaran, people would not let me go home," she joked.
"I'm grateful for all my old hits which have carried my career to where it is today. They are evergreen and for that, I am thankful.
"At least, my name is synonymous to a song with a positive title like Sinaran and not something negative like Broken Heart."
Looking back, there is nothing she would have done differently.
"I have been pretty lucky in my career," she said.
"This is God's gift and everything that I have achieved is in God's will.
"I won't be where I am today without Him and my fans. Without them, I am nothing."
The younger generation can get to know my songs and the other fans will feel a tinge of nostalgia.
- Sheila Majid on the musical Sinaran