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Sunday, 5 June 2011

A hot, rising star

Lisa Surihani

LISA Surihani is acting silly these days. As co-host of Astro Ria's Mari Menari, alongside Awal Ashaari, Lisa is supposed to play the "dumb blonde".

That she is willing to accept the challenge is commendable for the law graduate from Help University College and Aberystwyth University in Wales, United Kingdom.

"Awal is the main host and I'm playing Vanna White so to speak," she explained almost apologetically. But after watching her "dance and host" simultaneously with the rest of the contestants for the show's promo, I assured her she was far from looking like a bimbo.

"You were endearing," I said to which she gracefully thanked me.

Indeed, since my last interview with her more than a year ago, Lisa hasn't changed much. She is still as grounded and eloquent. The only difference is that, Lisa is much more knowledgeable than before.

Lisa, who emerged Most Promising Actress at the 21st Malaysian Film Festival in 2008 for her role in I'm Not Single, and Best Actress two years later for Lagenda Budak Setan, spoke about her roles in movies with confidence and maturity.

When I told her that I didn't enjoy a certain movie that I had watched recently, Lisa defended the movie.

"I liked that the movie didn't try to scare you in your face like most local horror movies, although I feel that the actors could have done a better job," she justified.

Indeed, it was fun talking to the Most Popular Actress winner of Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2011 who often chooses her words carefully and wisely so as to not to offend anyone, especially those in the business.

Lisa, who was accompanied by her mother at the Mari Menari launch, is hosting the show for the second year running.

That, however, doesn't mean that movie offers have stopped coming her way, as has often happened to award winners. Next month for example, Lisa will be shooting a movie under the directorship of Datuk Yusof Haslam.

She will play the lead along with Syamsul Yusof, Shaheizy Sam and bombshell Neelofah. Titled Sam short for Saya Amat Mencintaimu, the movie, which is her 14th, is a psycho-thriller romance.

"There is a Wicker Park thing going on in the movie. (Wicker Park is a 2004 psychological drama/romantic mystery film directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Josh Hartnett. The film is a remake of the 1996 French movie L''Appartement.) I have always wanted to work with Skop Production, so when Yusof himself made me the offer, I was truly honoured. It was awesome news.

"This will be my first involvement with Skop. Thankfully, time is also on my side so I can fully concentrate on the movie, as by then, Mari Menari would have ended. I also think that it is a good move by Skop Production to do a psycho-thriller since it had been churning out a lot of action movies and a horror flick," said Lisa, adding that Sam will be co-directed by Yusof and his other son, Syafiq.

"In the movie, I'm in love with someone and also feeling jealous of other people around me. Let's just say I play the victim. For experience sake, I'm also looking forward to acting with Syamsul," said Lisa who has collaborated with Farid Kamil and Shaheizy Sam in her past films. 

If you can't wait for that, Lisa's other movies will be screened soon.

One of them is Papa I Love You where she plays Elly.

This movie deals with father-daughter issues which Lisa finds hard to grasp at first.

"Since I had such a loving and wonderful relationship with my late father, I found it hard to play a character who has issues with her dad. But actor Zaidi Omar, who plays my dad, made it so easy for me. The tricky part was that as much as I hate my dad, I miss him so much.

"I had to project that more with my eyes and facial expression rather than with words. Zaidi helped me a lot in getting me to hate/love him. He was a splendid teacher."

Lisa's other flick is Sekali Lagi, scheduled to be screened on June 30.

This time, she plays a single mother whose husband left her after five years of marriage. 

"My husband left me on the day my father died and I discovered I was pregnant. He, however, comes back into my life five years later but he's not the same person," said Lisa of the sad romantic flick directed by Hashim Rejab.

Then there is Ombak Rindu where she acts with Aaron Aziz, Maya Karin and Bront Palare.

Here, she plays a successful diva who gets what she wants. 

"Mila, my character, is not a bad character although she can appear to be so. She is just obsessed with the guy she's in love with," said Lisa, who admitted to being nervous when she had do a romantic scene with Aaron.

So how did she overcome it? 

Thanks to Aaron's wife Diyana, who came onto the set, she managed to. Lisa felt much better after Diyana assured her that it was all right.

"I was so bothered by it because Aaron is someone's husband. But after meeting Diyana for the first time, we hit it off.

"That made me feel so much at ease. She is such a sister. When Aaron came back to join us after shooting his scene, he was surprised to see that we were still talking excitedly!"

But that was not all. Lisa said petai also helped make the bed scene not only comfortable but hilarious.

"We were at this house in this kampung and the owner showed me some petai, all fresh and green.

"A big petai fan, I couldn't resist it! But I had one too many that by the time Aaron and I got to shoot our bed scene, Aaron, who hated petai, had difficulty shooting with me because of the smell! 'You'd better go and burp far, far away. I cannot tahanlah!' he told me!"

Needless to say, petai broke the ice and Lisa had no hang-ups doing the romantic scene after that.

Source : NST

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