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Behind The Scenes
P Ramlee at a glanceAhmad Albab - Sisters Mariani Ismail, Saloma and Mimi Loma played the daughters of a wealthy man Mashood Albuaya (A R Tompel) in 'Ahmad Albab' (1968). First acting role for the youngest sibling, Mimi Loma. She had an earlier appearance as one of the dancers in 'Ali Baba Bujang Lapok' (1961).
Ahmad Nesfu - One of three actors that P Ramlee most admired alongside Hollywood stars, Stewart Granger and Marlon Brando. Ahmad Nesfu gave a brilliant performance in many P Ramlee films as actor in comedy.
Air Mata Di Kuala Lumpur - Last song written by P Ramlee and recorded by his wife Saloma. 'Air Mata Di Kuala Lumpur' / 'Tears in Kuala Lumpur' was written for a film that did not materialize. The lyrics of the song hinted frustrations about failed ambitions after he moved to Kuala Lumpur.
Akira Kurosawa - Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa was P Ramlee's major inspiration. His favorite films include 'Rashomon' (1951) and 'The Seven Samurai' (1954).
Anjoran Nasib - The film was directed by B S Rajhans. It was given several names before cinema released. Initially was called 'Dosa Ayah', 'Samaran' and finally changed to 'Anjoran Nasib' (1952).
Azizah - The song that made P Ramlee a star. 'Azizah' is about his love interest in Penang that remained a mystery. Two song versions: Originally performed with 'Teruna Sekampong' circa 1940s and revised lyrics for his film 'Penarek Becha' / 'Trishaw Man' (1955).
Bintang - Name of entertainment magazine produced by P Ramlee and friends. The company was registered at 12 Robinson Road, Singapore 1 (later moved to 453 Geylang Road, Singapore 14). The first issue of 'Bintang' / 'Star' dated 10 March 1953 featured Mariam Baharum on the cover with photos of P Ramlee and Siput Sarawak. The magazine was a hit with local film fans. It was discontinued after misappropriation of funds by a former staff.
Chinta - P Ramlee made his debut as singer and actor in 'Chinta' (1948). It was the first Malay film to feature songs playback. P Ramlee recorded songs that were used by the main actor S Roomai Noor.
Damaq - Title of a traditional drama by H M Rohaizad. The story adaptation by Zain Mahmood had been aired on local radio. P Ramlee made 'Damaq' into a stage play that he directed at Victoria Theater Singapore in 1962. 'Damaq' also became part of 'Ragam P Ramlee' (1965).
Dr Rushdi - A most controversial film by P Ramlee. P Ramlee's had this reply on sex and nudity in 'Dr Rushdi' (1970) : "... the sex scenes were respectable, not wild and within any normal person's sanity".
Gelanggang Filem - Entertainment tabloid published by 'Penerbitan P Ramlee' / 'P Ramlee Production' in Singapore. The first issue of 'Gelanggang Filem' / 'Film Arena' dated 15 Mar 1958 was in Jawi (Arabic alphabet). Due to its popularity the frequency of the tabloid was increased from bi-monthly to tri-monthly on 1st, 10th and 20th of each month. It switched to the Roman alphabet for its new monthly issues from Feb 1961. This was second time P Ramlee entered publishing in anticipation of backlash over his criticisms of the media.
Hang Tuah - A film based on a legendary Malay warrior written by M C F Sheppard and directed by Indian national Phani Majumdar. 'Hang Tuah' / 'Legend of Hang Tuah' (1956) won 'Best Music' for P Ramlee at the 3rd Asian Film Festival in Hong Kong. The only film shot in color for P Ramlee other than his guest appearance as singer in 'Love Parade' (1963) and 'Melanchong Ke Tokyo' (1964). His plan to make a color film never materialised despite given opportunity by Malay Film Productions.
Hidayah - A film project that P Ramlee wanted to make in 1961. Pre-production and film poster already completed but shooting was postponed awaiting religious advice on the script. However, it was never resolved long before P Ramlee died in 1973.
Idil Fitri - Festive day for Moslems after completion of the fasting month of Ramadhan. Teuku Zakaria a.k.a. P Ramlee was born on Idil Fitri morning of 22 March 1929 at his grandmother's house in Penang, Malaya. At the age of 19, he took a train to Singapore on Idil Fitri of 8 August 1948 to join Malay Film Productions of Jalan Ampas.
Jalak Lenteng - A traditional song about a legendary Malay warrior recorded by singer Rubiah. P Ramlee would play 'Jalak Lenteng' on his gramophone whenever he felt depressed.
Kachep Mas - Title of a traditional drama written by P Ramlee. 'Kachep Mas' was adapted by Yusof Latiff for Radio Singapore (Malay Division) drama on 3 June 1961. The story about two lovers sentenced to death for committing adultery. It caused a controversy because their heads were chopped off with a gigantic nut cutter which was unIslamic.
Kwek Chip Jian - Production manager of Malay Filem Productions. He collaborated on the films directed by P Ramlee at Jalan Ampas Studio starting from Penarek Becha (1955). P Ramlee was one time rehearsing a new song and trying out lyrics when his good friend Mr Kwek entered the music studio. P Ramlee spontaneously sang a catchy chorus 'kwek kwek kwek kwek kwek kwek kwek kwek mambo ... hei mambo!" That song was called 'Kwek Mambo'.
Madjilee - Name of a popular songwriting partner in the film credits. 'Madjilee' or 'Maji Lee' is short for S Sudarmadji and P Ramlee. Interestingly, the word 'Lee' comes after 'Maji' even though P Ramlee was the star attraction. S Sudarmadji was also an actor and assistant director to P Ramlee in many films.
Masam Masam Manis - A comedy drama about love-hate relationship between school teacher Sahari (P Ramlee) and cabaret singer Norkiah (Sharifah Hanim). Names of lead characters in 'Masam Masam Manis' / 'Sweet Sour' (1965) were taken from P Ramlee's good friends, a married couple Lieutenant Colonel Sahari Sulaiman and Norkiah Ahmad of Singapore.
P - 'P' in P Ramlee's name stands for 'Puteh', short for 'Teuku Nyak Puteh'. He first used his father's initial in 1947 that would later bring him luck as an artist. The poster for 'Patah Hati' (1952) billed 'P (Pujaan) Ramlee' as the star attraction. 'Pujaan' means idol.
Panca Delima - Third film made by P Ramlee. 'Panca Delima' (1957) was the only film he directed but did not act. P Ramlee introduced then supporting actor Jins Shamsudin as hero instead.
Pancha Sitara - Vocal group formed by P Ramlee in 1960. Original members of 'Pancha Sitara' were P Ramlee, Normadiah, Kassim Masdor, Ahmad C and Aziz Jaafar. Saloma and Ahmad Daud later replaced Normadiah and Aziz Jaafar in 'Pancha Sitara II'. In 1990s, Aziz Sattar joined Ahmad Daud, Normadiah, Aziz Jaafar and Nasir P Ramlee as 'Pancha Sitara III'.
Pawagam - A Malay word coined by P Ramlee for 'motion picture theater'. 'Pawagam' is short for 'panggung wayang gambar'.
Pawagam P Ramlee - P Ramlee and H M Shah formed 'Rumpun Melayu Film' in February 1973 to enter film production and distribution. Rumpun Melayu rented the old 'Queen Cinema' at former 'Lucky World' in Kuala Lumpur and converted into 'Pawagam Rumpun' (renamed 'Pawagam P Ramlee' soon after his death). The company planned to build more cinemas but P Ramlee passed away in May 1973.
Perfima - 'Malaysia Film Industry' ('Perusahaan Filem Malaysia' or 'Perfima') was formed on 31 December 1970 with P Ramlee and H M Shah as board members. It was later joined by Sarul Bariah Abu Bakar, Jins Shamsudin, Abdullah Hussain and Jaafar Abdullah in 1972. P Ramlee however never made films with the company. He and H M Shah left to form 'Rumpun Melayu Film' in February 1973.
Ragam P Ramlee - A unique film in the history of Malay films. No other local filmmakers would be too daring to use his name for a film title. 'Ragam P Ramlee' (1965) consisted 3 parts: a musical featuring P Ramlee with wife Saloma, a comedy drama 'Minta Nombor Ekor' and a film adaptation of H M Rohaizad's traditional drama 'Damaq'. 'Minta Nombor Ekor', a humor about local gambling habits was banned by the Authority.
Saloma - Popular name for Salmah Ismail. The singer actress was called 'Saloma' after the film 'Salome' that featured Rita Hayworth. She later married P Ramlee in 1961.
Sandera - Title of a Malay novel by Arena Wati that P Ramlee wanted to adapt for film in 1972. 'Sandera' was to be first project by 'Perfima', a film company formed by P Ramlee and H M Shah. P Ramlee was however set aside as film director in favor of Jins Shamsudin who joined as company director. The project never took off.
Sarimah - P Ramlee introduced newcomer Sarimah in 'Ali Baba Bujang Lapok' / 'Ali Baba In Burlesque' (1961). She played the most lead roles opposite P Ramlee at Jalan Ampas Studio and Merdeka Studio. Sarimah acted in eleven of P Ramlee films as heroin and guest star.
Sazali - Name of main character in 'Anak-ku Sazali' / 'My Son Sazali' (1956). P Ramlee won 'Best Male Lead Role' at the 4th Asian Film Festival in Tokyo for playing dual roles as a caring father and his spoilt son. P Ramlee also had a son named Sazali. Unlike in that film, real life Sazali was a humble man employed by 'Syarikat Alam Flora' that managed garbage disposal in Kuala Lumpur.
Sazara - P Ramlee and friends formed 'Sazara Film' in early 1970s to produce 16 mm color films. The company's name was given by P Ramlee based on the initials of all partners: Sanusi Junid, Zainuddin Nordin, Ramlee Puteh (P Ramlee) and Abdullah Hussain. The company was dormant.
Sepak Raga - The traditional game of rattan ball also known as 'sepak takraw' was one of P Ramlee's favorite sport. His sepak raga teams were called 'Sangka Buana' (comprising stars of Malay Film Productions), 'Pasukan Bawaen Putra' and 'Sekawan Bintang'. The Sepaktakraw Association of Singapore had a trophy cup called 'Oscar P Ramlee Sumbang Sih' for its tournaments.
Sergeant Hassan - P Ramlee played army hero fighting against Japanese invasion of Malaya during World War II in 'Sergeant Hassan' (1958). He took over from director Lamberto V Avellana who returned to The Philippines after filming completed to make additional scenes. The Royal Malay Army conferred P Ramlee rank of 'Sergeant Titular' for his film role that boosted the morale of its army.
Shaw Brothers - Runme Shaw and Run Run Shaw (born Shiao) originated from Shanghai, China. The Shaw Brothers owned the studio of Malay Film Productions in Jalan Ampas, Singapore. They joined Ho Ah Loke (founder of Keris Film) and H M Shah to build the studio of Merdeka Film Productions in Ulu Klang outside of Kuala Lumpur that was opened in 1961. The Shaw Organization owned copyrights of all P Ramlee films produced at both studios.
Sultan Mahmood Mangkat Di Julang - A stage play directed by P Ramlee and co-written by S Sudarmadji based on old Johor Sultanate. Kasma Booty, Yusof Latiff, Jins Shamsudin, Ali Fiji, M Rafee and Kemat Hassan performed in 'Sultan Mahmood Mangkat Di Julang'. Due to overwhelming requests from drama associations, the script was published by 'Penerbitan P Ramlee'.
Teruna Sekampong - P Ramlee performed with several groups in Penang, Malaya before he moved to Singapore. He played many original songs with 'Teruna Sekampong' among others, 'Azizah', 'Baida', 'Kak Leha', 'Mi Jawa', 'Bonda Yang Ku Chinta', 'Abang Dollah', 'Joget Malaya', 'Malam Thaipusam' and 'Di Padang Kota'.Teuku Zakaria - P Ramlee's birth name. 'Teuku' is a title for the descendants of noble families from Aceh of Sumatra, Indonesia. His father Teuku Nyak Puteh was a sailor from Lho' Seumawe in the province of Aceh who migrated to Penang, Malaya.
Yusnor Ef - Real name was M Nor M Yusofe. Loyal fan and friend of P Ramlee. A teacher by profession, he took nightly tutorial on scriptwriting from P Ramlee. He became an accomplished songwriter using his pen-name 'Yusnor Ef' as given by P Ramlee. Also, producer of TV documentaries on the Malay golden era of film industry. He has written a book 'P Ramlee Yang Saya Kenal' / 'P Ramlee That I Know' (2000).
Yusram - Name of a popular songwriting partner in the film credits. 'Yusram' is short for Yusof B and P Ramlee. Both men who were amongst top composers in the Malay industry collaborated in many films such as 'Sumpah Orang Minyak' (1958).
Yusof B - One of P Ramlee's music mentor when he first joined Malay Film Productions. P Ramlee's early songwriting was influenced by Yusof B's style of music arrangement. Ironically, Yusof B would later on borrowed ideas from P Ramlee in his song composition.
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