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A moment of success with Lisa

Writer: Erny Suzira


Lisa Surihani received the Best Actress Award at FFM26.

At the recent 26th Malaysian Film Festival (FFM26) which took place at Tunku Puan Chik Tuanku Muhammad auditorium, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysian actress Lisa Surihani was named the Best Actress at the prestigious awards ceremony for her character, Dian in "Istanbul, Aku Datang".

The award was handed by the Chief Executive Officer of Metrowealth International Group (MIG), Mejar David Teo and Malaysian actress, Eja (Siti Shahrizah). Other nominees of the Best Actress category included Sharifah Amani, Ummi Nazeera, Diana Danielle, and the recently departed, Kalpana.

"Istanbul, Aku Datang" if you have seen the film, is about a girl named Dian who travels to Istanbul in hopes of convincing her boyfriend Azad to propose to her. However, the apartment that she rents is already leased to an artist named Harris. Since she already has no choice, she decides to keep it a secret from Azad only to later develop feelings for Harris.

During FFM26, Cinema Online managed to interview the bubbly Lisa Surihani on her victory and her journey throughout the film, "Istanbul, AKu Datang".

How do you feel winning the Best Actress award?
First of all I am really grateful for everyone who have worked hard on this film, the team behind "Istanbul, Aku Datang". Also, I would like to give my utmost respect to the other nominees of this category such as Diana Danielle, Ummi Nazeera, Sharifah Amani and the recently departed Kalpana, my condolences to her family and friends. I don't really want to talk much or get too excited because I want to show respect to her and her family.


Lisa in "Istanbul, Aku Datang.

Did you expect this? Who do you think was your biggest rival in this category?
All of the actresses are wonderful and talented. But to be honest, I thought that Ummi Nazeera would have won the award. I did not expect at all that I would win this award, which is why I didn't have any speech prepared, everything is so messy. I was so embarrassed on stage because I don't know what to say, so I tried to make everything short, but I still wanted to show my appreciation towards my teammates from the production. This is not a one man show. If it wasn't for Bernard's teaching and guidance as well as the cooperation from the whole team behind "Istanbul, Aku Datang", not to forget the collaboration from Grand Brilliance, I would have never made it this far. Therefore, I feel truly grateful to all of them. To me, this is a collective win.

Do you think you won this category because of your comical character?
Actually this not a comedic character, but true, it is light-hearted and there are instances of comedic situations, but it doesn't mean that it is a comedic character. However, compared to the characters played by the other nominees, mine is obviously different.

Also, it is better if you asked that to the jury instead because I am not quite sure about the specifications that they look for or their way of judging the character. To be honest, I'm not so clear as well.


In "Istanbul, Aku Datang", Dian was portrayed as a happy-go-lucky character.

What do you think is so special about your character in "Istanbul, Aku Datang"?
Personally, what I like about my character in this film, Dian, is that she is different from my real self. I am not like that. This is very different from my personality. After watching the film, some people thought that was what I am like in real-life, but they are wrong. Because in the film I was portrayed as a happy-go-lucky person, but the truth is, that is not me. So, I really like the fact that I have to play a role that is the opposite of my real personality, something very different from me.

Is it hard playing this role?
At first I thought that playing this role would be easy, but I was wrong. During the film shooting at Istanbul, I admitted to Bernard that it is not easy playing this role, because the character's emotion is like a roller-coaster ride, not as easy as I thought it was.

Anyway, I am still learning and I will always want to learn more, so as long as I have that in mind I think I'm going to be okay. Because if we think we act like a know-it-all person, we will stop seeking for more knowledge and thus stop learning. Thus, I am grateful that I am able to work with a team that is willing to share their knowledge with me regarding their story, artwork, filming, acting, characterisation, emotions and more. I am very thankful.

What do you think is the reason for you to be able to carry out this character flawlessly?
I think it is important for us to have acting workshops before we enter a set. This is so we can understand the character deeper because I don't like making my character too generic or common. Maybe other actors can do that, but I can't. So, I think it would be nice for me to have a workshop before I'm on set so that I can peel off the layers of my character together with the director so that I know what kind of character he wants me to be in the film and not just assume how he wants me to be.

Therefore, again I would like to stress that it is important to have acting workshop, because if I didn't, I think Dian would turn out to be a different character.


Lisa and Tomok as Dian and Azad in "Istanbul, Aku Datang".

How long was your workshop?
We had about two and a half weeks. The workshop involved me, Bernard, Beto, Tomok and Aizat. On each day of the workshop I practiced with different people. This is because our back story is deep and a lot. So, we don't want to cover only the surface because the viewers would realise it if we do. That is why we refused to do that, because the silver screen is big, we can't cheat our way out of it.

Do you have any last word?
This is really their win, I guess you can say that I am just a representative. I believe that it is all thanks to them who had moulded my character for "Istanbul, Aku Datang".

Cinema Online, 11 November 2014

Related Movies:
Istanbul Aku Datang (Malay) (08 Nov 2012)

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