Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That rare, elusive quality they call "charisma".


Charlie Chaplin.jpgp.ramlee.jpgoprah.jpgDR MAHATHIR MOHAMADjagger.jpgnani.jpg

Like the wind, like sunlight, like moonbeam. You cannot capture it between two fingers, you can barely touch it, but it can touch you. And you can see the effect it has on its surroundings.

The pictures you see above are various people who have achieved some measure of fame and admiration around the world. This is not to say that they are all equally accomplished at what they do. Obviously, the great Charlie Chaplin and my beloved Dr.M tower over the rest, in terms of the impact they've had on the world. And the young, fledgling actress Sharifah Amani, my "anak emas", has only just begun her career.

But what they all have is this enigmatic, inexplicable power of attraction called "charisma". You can love them or hate them, but they cannot be ignored.

A few months after Sharifah Amani (Nani) got royally screwed by the Malay press and Rais Yatim for that now infamous award acceptance speech at the FFM, I was searching for an actress with enough charisma to pull off a tough character called Rohani, in what was then to be my next project called "Muallaf".

One evening, I found myself in the grand ballroom of a hotel, attending the wedding dinner of Sharifah Aleya (Leya), Nani's elder sister. One by one, the younger sisters got on stage to dedicate a few words to Leya, wishing her well, and confessing their love for her. It was all very heartwarming, and the bride was visibly moved to tears.

Yana, the youngest, came on first. When she had finished, everyone went, "Awww..."

Leysha, as always, was wise and witty beyond her years.

Finally, it was Nani's turn. Clutching the tail of her glamorous dress, she casually picked up the microphone and surveyed the audience for a few moments, with a menacing grin on her face. There, in attendance, were film luminaries, ministers, dignitaries, tan sris, puan sris, datuks and datins, everyone holding their breath, no doubt recalling that FFM speech she had made, just a few months before. Then Nani began:

"You guys have a lot of guts, letting me hold a microphone again! I bet you're thinking, what the HELL is she going to say now?" The hall rocked with laughter and thunderous applause. I smiled and recalled a judging experience I had in Greece, at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.

The head of the jury was a Czech named Jiri Menzel, a 70-year old master who won his first Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the age of 28. My fellow judges included Fred Roos, the producer of "The Godfather", "Apocalypse Now", and "Lost In Translation". We were busy deliberating on the candidates for the Best Actress award for that year.

"That actress internalised her role well," someone said. Someone else said, "But that other actress came across like she really researched the character she was playing." Etcetera, etcetera, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Suddenly, a very bored looking Jiri, who had kept well quiet up to that point, suddenly sat up and took a deep breath. Everyone fell silent.

"When you want to award an actor," his voice boomed across the table, "look for one thing, and one thing only. Charisma!"

Now I was back again at that wedding dinner table in Kuala Lumpur. The audience laughter had just died down. I looked at that little girl on stage, that girl I cast as Orked in "Sepet", when she was barely 17. Having started her speech with a bang, she went on to express her sisterly love to Leya in a way that didn't just touch the elder sister, but the whole hall as well.

That's when I knew I had found my Rohani.

Charisma. It's rare and elusive alright. And my "anak emas" has it by the truck loads. Alhamdulillah.

63 comments:

Zaini said...

=)

nice 1

ZARA 札拉 [사랑해~] said...

Yeah!
Those people are really charismatic!
...and if I do this post as well, I'm gonna put your photo as well Kak Min!

Salam and OMG!
Muallaf will be showing today!

Gambatte neh!
May ALLAH bless you Kak Min!

Qaisy Jaslenda said...

...and you forgot to put your own picture.


Salaam Ms Yasmin! :)

kruel said...

That picture just below the 'ABOUT ME' should also be a part of the collage of photo above too... Just after Tun

Nalan19 said...

"...my beloved Dr.M..."

I'm sorry, Kak Min. I'm a big fan of yours - probably the biggest - but you're not serious, aren't you?

azreena said...

salam.

she does captures attention from everyone when she enters a room, no? her presence is electrifying even when i watch her in tv. thank you miss amani and thank you to you kak yasmin for returning my faith in the local industry. i love your movies or drama series by amani and of course your heart warming commercials.

azreena

man said...

halo, samekum...
mawi ada karisma gak pe.. ;)
ramai minah2 gilerkan dia...aura bahaya tu beb

FikRihisham osman said...

hmm..charisma..
really is one thing that make that person awesome..
i think you have that thing too la..
that charisma thing..=)

bonne chance kak min...=)

*cosmic freak* said...

I've met a lot of charismatic people along the way. Of course one of them being Tun M. But most of them are unknown to the public eye. At the end of the day, after every encounter with such charismatic personas, I remembered a line.

"Melvin: I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you're the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with Spencer, "Spence," and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost always mean something that's all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me."
- As Good As It Gets-

fadz said...

Syh Armani does work wonders!

yunosar said...

Oh!! nani's speech masa FFM tu was sooo misunderstood!! depa ni benda cam tu pun jadi kontroversi.. anyway..never seen leshya on screen yet!..cant wait to watch Muallaf

My Diary said...

Betul...betul..betul....

yasmin said...

cosmic, "as good as it gets" is one heck of a film!

nalan and man, yes i'm dead serious about dr.m, and i think mawi is awesome!

yasmin said...

fadz i miss you!!!

jawajin said...

Salaam,
My experiences dictate that charisma is often felt than seen through tangibles. Like all ur works reflect on ur acquired knowledge of psychology and ur submission to your Maker. This are characterised from ur loaned soul and all illustration serves only as a by-product. In short, God Is Doing Everything. Subhanallah, Walhamdulillah, Walailaha-ilallah.

chico said...

mawi?...
that guy on my favourite mamee packet?...
(o_0)

man said...

mawi ok pe? nak tau yasmin thinks he's really awesome or not, cuba amik dia berlakon filem yasmin...
mmg bertambah tergila2 la awek2 tudung suma...auuuw
sian dia ada gak dengki ngan kefamousan dia..harhar

az wan said...

i miss muallaf at amsterdam. where can i check the next screening other than malaysia? especially in europe?

Anonymous said...

Amani (I love her name too) definitely knows how to work the power of ''presence'' God has bestowed upon her -- in fact, so do you for that matter.

Once, someone told me, beauty is about having presence, depth and elegance as opposed to a the ability to accesorise with nice clothes etc etc When you have them all, you shine. I think this is when you have ''charisma''.

For both of you, I remain envious. Adoringly, admiringly envious.

p.s Nani is also tres mignon! some are lucky huh?:-X

Nina in Amsterdam xxxxxxx

Jumping Jane. said...

awww! my collegemate calls nani as his soulmate! hahahaha how cute is that? everyone (including one of ur 'anak' - if you know what i mean) seems to be falling for nani!

yeay nani! you have the auraaa!

hydar said...

"Tepuk sebelah tangan takkan berbunyi.." Kak Min, you did your part too in bringing out and polished the ever-wonderful Sharifah Amani! I shall agree with the rest of them here, you should be standing in line with the rest of the charismatic wonders of the world!

Anyway, I was distributing Muallaf flyers outside the compound of my residential shopping mall, and a few of them actually turned back to look at me for the second time. I think, they thought that I was Brian Yap. Hahaha. I just smiled to myself. I kept looking at the mirror. Maybe I do look like him. Just that I'm so so much darker! :)

(nothingness) said...

i'm with abby. while i disagree with a number of things he has said and implemented, i also think dr m was the best leader we had.

and amazingly, he still possesses that power that draws people to listen to what he has to say, even till this day.

now that's charisma.

ary said...

Nani...first time i saw her in ur film..I fell in love with her...till now....hopefully she will be my wife...seriously..kak yasmin..she available or not?hehhehe

adee said...

Hey Yasmin.

Adee here from Singapore. Currently taking a diploma in film studies. Have been following your films like the others too. Heard you're coming to SG for 'Muallaf'?Welcome, welcome!:) Hopefully I can come down to the Q&A session before my shooting.Really do.

Was just wondering if you take in foreign interns for your production house. It'll definitely help me ALOT in gaining experience in filmmaking.

You're definitely an inspiration.Terima Kasih for all your works of art. :)

Assalamualaikum

Nor Hafiza said...

hey yasmin,
I've watched your film today. And it kept my sister and i thinking. I felt that the film brought some energy and something that i could relate to. Somehow i felt that all your films kept us thinking about what life is all about and whether or not we make use of it wisely. It is these little things that would change your life in just seconds. I shall say that this time around your film, muallaf will bring about some sense to people who are ignorant in their surroundings and open their eyes to what they live in. And you have send the message through by using the Quran that it is the guide book to the scope of life not just in earth but the day after. Thanks for making this film. I could never been happy and appreciate more that i am born as a muslim. Hope to see you at picturehouse on saturday! Nor Hafiza from facebook

Muhammad said...

bila charlie tunduk utk
just mengutip duit
dan penonton ketawa....

itu mmg karisma yang hidup
:)

the Razzler said...

Yes! Kak Min ...

I totally agree with you that Nani possess the Charima & Oommmphh.. & you, Kak Min, you have that magical touch in your films that inspires everyone!! :) :)

yasmin said...

thank you for your generous compliment, razzler, but in all honesty, the magic never comes from me.

kamal said...

and I'm the anti-thesis of Nani

you forgot another charisma... Karisma Kapoor (LOL LOL OMGI'MSOFUNNY)

seriously, Ms. Yasmin, you are actually radiating with charisma yourself.

yasmin said...

kamal, to me you have quiet charisma. that doe-eyed look melts my heart every time.

lhp said...

Hydar Ali, Thank you for helping with the flyers. Much appreciated.

glenn_marsalim said...

i have no charisma.
but it's ok for as long as
i have you.

sad lah you tak jadi datang, datin...
i nak belanja you bakso, tau...

aditya liviandi said...

hello...

ms. ahmad, if you're reading this...
do you know where can i buy the dvd/vcd/videotape of "rabun"?

i've got all your movies except for this one, which is proving impossible to track down anywhere.

Shiqin said...

You have that charisma too kak min. The way you wrote about this. Naik bulu roma baca... Always adore you kak min

ainothman said...

i love muallaf.
the simplicity of the movie is just fantastic. kudos Puan Yasmin!

Hanim said...

salam kak yasmin

tahniah sebab terima kancil award hall of fame 2008. tapi sedih u x dapat datang. kalo x boleh riak dgn kawan2 i nampak u.....hehe....all d best

SESEORANG said...

shes damn good.dalam filem or tv drama, she gave her best..congrats kak yasmin.

fadz said...

Bonda, do u know that you've created wonders? :

http://romankodian.blogspot.com/2008/11/berita-yang-pasti-akan-membuat-semua.html

Diablo has a blog btw..

fadz said...

bonda, i miss u too!

Az said...

Salam Kak Min,
whats your next project after mualaf?:)

yasmin said...

fadz, i think he's playing one big joke on you and his friends. ;-)

Azmi Danuri said...

oh yea
Nani ftw

yasmin said...

azmi, i'm almost nervous about asking what ftw means!

Azmi Danuri said...

for the win la kak min.
hahaha!

M said...

Yasmin, have you had the chance to see High Noon by Heiward Mak? Is it good?

THE FILMMAKER said...

hey there yasmin.. i'm a big fan of you and would like to work with you someday... anyway, i have a screenplay with me right now.. do you know where or how can i sell it..?? i really have no idea.. i'd appreciate it so much if you could tell me.. thanks.

ladyrose said...

I truly agree with you, sharifah amani is an "anak emas."

Love Muallaf to bits and pieces, watched today at The Picturehouse with my mum. She agreed totally that it was a brilliant movie.

I never missed any of your movie since SEPET. expecting more and more. Never mind those loud heartless words from people who condemn your movies. When 1 person condemns you, 9 other people supports you.

Love from Singapore.

nhr said...

thank you for your precious time, kak min. thoroughly enjoyed your presence today. :)

Ajami Hashim said...

Salaam dear,

jom tonton CINTA JULIA
I nak pegi tgk lagi last-day 2/12 nnti ;-)

*cosmic freak* said...

Since Faiz agreed with me, I will actually have to say his additional comments are spot on too! Haha.

I think 'As Good As It Gets' is seriously one of my all-time favourites! I adore every single line. Then again, any film about a writer always amuses me. ;-)

Hope you got on board that plane on time last Friday, Madam. ;-) Btw, I went back in the hall, then saw Jack Neo came out and then realised why you said he is famous. He is hilarious too!

Syarifah said...

Salam Ms Yasmin!

You are so right about Sharifah Amani having "nuts of an elephant"! Perhaps most charismatic people do?

I loike reading your blog.. it helps me understand the perspectives you try to bring across in your films abit better. I'm really a poor film critic - and most of the time I don't notice the nuances behind the deliberate pauses and music choices. I just know if a film calls out to me, appeals to me or not.

and boy oh boy Muallaf did.. it appealed to my psyche that always wants to be fed stories and 'evidence' of faith all around us, just as Sepet appealed to my need to see/hear that love is all around. Who cares if i'm seeing it on a fictitious film. I'm seeing it. and Seeing is believing, no?

and after meeting you at the Q&A yesterday, yes, I have to agree that you do have the charisma that everyone talks about. and thus by my definition, heehee.. you too have the "nuts of an elephant."

Thanks for braving the world and taking on bull issues by its horns, saying what most other people would be afraid to say, do what most other people would be afraid to do. Give a fart not to that journalist you mentioned who tells you to quit making films!

Jazakallah-ul Khair!

yasmin said...

salaam, ajami. pukul berapa, yang?

Ja said...

Kak Min.

I watched Muallaf last Friday and I loved it.

The love and bond between the 2 sisters touched me.

The issues you raised in the movie was intense, yet...simply, life.

May more people be blessed with an open mind and heart like you are.

Good luck, and looking forward to Talentime plak! (",)

Anonymous said...

true. charisma is a wonderful attribute to possess. i think i have that...maybe not...nevermind. hehe

talethan

Azmi Danuri said...

can i be Nani's biggest fan, kak yasmin?
=P

yasmin said...

well azmi, if god so wills it, you can even be her husband.

Zaini said...

"well azmi, if god so wills it, you can even be her husband"

quote of the month =)

Azmi Danuri said...

yeah if God so wills it then insya'Allah.
=)

Anonymous said...

wow, nani, wow, too bad i'm married...

Anak Yatim..

yasmin said...

hehe!

POT said...

the famous peoples..
berapa kali mereka ini kecewa sebelum mereka menjadi mereka sekarang?

Claudel said...

if you let your life be driven by the urge to be famous, then you don't do anything else then waste it.

fahmi said...

assalamualaikum, mereka memang berkarisma... tapi kenapa x letak gambar anda sekali..
kerana karisma anda tidak kurang hebatnya