GENERAL

CHE KEM CHALLENGES HIMSELF BY PLAYING LEO TOLSTOY'S CHARACTER HAJI MURAT

25/06/2024 12:53 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- Actor Kamarulzaman Taib admits it will not be easy for him to portray the character of Haji Murat in the local theatre production ‘Haji Murat’, which is based on the novella ‘Hadji Murat’, the final literary work of Russian author Leo Tolstoy. 

The play will be staged at Balai Budaya Tun Syed Nasir at Wisma Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) here from tomorrow until June 29.

Kamarulzaman, also known as Che Kem, said the role of Haji Murat demanded extensive mental and physical preparation from him.

"It is a very challenging character to play and far beyond my knowledge. I admit I was terrified to play the role especially since it is the central pillar of this theater production. However, I still accepted the offer as a challenge to explore a great character," he told Bernama.

‘Hadji Murat’ was translated into Bahasa Melayu by world literary activist Dr Victor Pogadaev and edited by National Laureate Datuk Dr Anwar Ridhwan. The translated version was published by DBP in 2001.

Kamarulzaman, who is also a lecturer at the National Academy of Culture and Arts, said Haji Murat’s character was based on a Muslim Chechen fighter who lived in the 19th century and was closely associated with the conflict between Russia and Chechnya around 1840 to 1852.

"Since (the character) Haji Murat was a Chechen, his culture, thinking, movements and behaviour are essential aspects that I need to embody to convincingly portray him to the audience.

"To achieve this, I searched for several similarities between myself and Haji Murat. Through reading, watching documentaries and viewing videos from Russia and the West, I began to understand and immerse myself in the character of Haji Murat and his people's lives. It turned out to be very interesting and adventurous," he said, adding he has been busy training for his role since May.

Kamarulzaman, who received the Most Promising Male Actor award at the 21st Malaysian Film Festival, hoped the audience would appreciate the play, which is filled with messages of struggle and love.

"Haji Murat was a great man. Externally, he looked like a warrior, and he cut a formidable fighter feared by his enemies, yet he was like any ordinary man who loved his wife, mother and children.

"He was trapped between the cruelty of two enemies who used his family as a bargaining chip, leading to a brutal tragedy," he said, hoping more works by great writers will be staged and well-received by the public.

Directed by A Wahab Hamzah, ‘Haji Murat’ also features Dr Rosdeen Suboh, Badrul Tahir, Ard Omar and Rasdi Daud in the cast.

-- BERNAMA


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