Misconstrued Mislina

Misconstrued Mislina

Interview conducted on 3 November 2010 at Cinema Online's office.

"Talentime" actress Mislina Mustaffa surprised many guests with her new do during the 23rd Malaysian Film Festival (FFM23) held recently. Nominated for the Best Actress award for "Karaoke" under the direction of Chris Chong, the actress boldly went bald just for her role in "Zaiton: Ceritaka", a biopic on the 80s singing sensation Zaiton Sameon famed for her hit song "Menaruh Harapan".

Mislina Mustaffa at the recent FFM23.

Q: This new look of yours made heads turn during the film festival! What made you decide to go bald?
This is not the first time I've gone bald, actually. But I did it for the upcoming biopic "Zaiton: Ceritaku" as there was a scene that required me to do so. I didn't mind though because my hair was terribly damaged due to the bleaching process to achieve Zaiton's hair colour.

Q: You are not a familiar name in the local film industry. Why do you think so?
Maybe it could be that I have chosen that path? Actually there are two types of artists; one who wants to act and care not about their popularity and the other one which goes into the industry with various motives. Many don't know I was in the acting scene since 1996 through the film "Bukak Api" by Osman Ali. The interest in acting made me careless about popularity and many were shocked that FFM23 was my first appearance in such a ceremony.

Q: How did you embrace your life as an actress without being exposed to the media?
A: I am not an actress that simply accepts any role given to me. I admit that I am very choosey with roles because I believe in quality, not because I'm snobbish. I'm grateful to have worked with wonderful directors like Osman Ali and the late Yasmin Ahmad. When we work under the direction of good filmmakers, hence we would in turn become good actors. Regardless of the challenges I face in the industry, I'm not afraid if no one wants to accept me in their films because my minimalistic lifestyle has made me survive in this industry.

Q: Does it mean you put a price for a certain movie?
A: I only put my price on mainstream productions but not on independent films. Until this day, I still accept student projects for free as I believe I can improve myself as an actress with every project.

Q: Which director you would like to work with in future?
A: I would like to work with a director who knows how to differentiate talent and popularity.

Q: Back to the film "Zaiton: Cerita Ku", what is actually happening behind the scene as there are plenty of negative comments given by various parties about the movie?
A: To be honest, I'm also not sure what is going on because when we finished shooting, the editing process had started. I was never called in during editing for voice over and such. All I know is that there are two versions to the movie because two parties have done the editing. I have not watched them yet and did not get myself involved in the process. What hurt me the most was when they criticised both me and my mother's work ethics.

Q: People have said that you failed to portray Zaiton Sameon, what would you like to comment on that?
A: I don't know why this issue was brought up because if I didn't portray my character properly, why did I shave my head? I don't care if people say that my acting is lifeless as there will always be a few who disagree with the way you act.

Q: What are your upcoming projects?
A: I will potentially be starring alongside Bront Palarae, Remy Ishak and Nadiyatul Nissa in Osman Ali's movie "Bara Jiwa", which is a combination between "Anak Halal" and "Bukak Api". My next movie "Cun" under the same director is due to release in 2011.

Q: Final question, what are your hopes towards the local film industry?
A: We need to learn to try something new. Don't be afraid to celebrate local movies that have made it internationally regardless if it's a mainstream or independent production.