What a debacle!
|Aidil Rusli loves rock 'n' roll, still believes in the words "indie" and "underground", and after all these years still sings in his band Couple myspace.com/couple. You can get in touch with Aidil by emailing: [email protected]|
DEC 3 — Malaysia’s top awards shows for film and music both happened in the last two weeks and, like weddings, there’s bound to be some sort of drama happening to set tongues wagging amongst followers and detractors.
Of slightly more minor concern is the controversy surrounding Raja Azmi, that well-known film producer who is no stranger to controversies after all her years in the industry, in which she reportedly grumbled out loud her discontent about the winner of this year’s “Pengarah Harapan” (Most Potential Director) award at the Festival Filem Malaysia, which went to Jurey Latiff Rosli for his film Libas.
I’ve heard quite a few media friends questioning her behaviour, but to be honest I also understand why she, or anyone else for that matter would complain. First and foremost, the winner of that award is also the president of this year’s Festival Filem Malaysia.
While I’m not at all well-versed in what a person in his role’s job is with regard to the festival, I also think it’s commonsense to politely decline or disqualify oneself from being nominated simply to brush off any possible talk of bias or favouritism. Either that, or just decline to take any post connected with the festival so that one can compete with a clear conscience. As people say, justice must not only be done, but it must also be seen to be done.
My next comment is a matter of my own personal taste and judgment, but I paid to see Libas on its first day of showing in cinemas, and frankly I don’t think it’s any good at all, let alone worthy of winning the “Pengarah Harapan” award.
It claims to be an action-comedy, and it’s fairly clear for all to see that it wants to be to sepak takraw what Shaolin Soccer is to soccer. The comedy is painfully unfunny, the drama ridiculous, and the way it makes fun of the Thai baddies, let’s just say that the whole nation would be fuming if a Thai film made fun of Malaysians that way. And you call that promising? At least I don’t think so.
So while Raja Azmi’s actions might be uncalled for (if the reports are true, that is), I wholeheartedly understand her frustration, especially since her own film Dalam Botol, directed by Khir Rahman, who was also in the running for the same award is no slouch either.
But as controversial as that is, the debacle after this year’s Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) well and truly takes the cake. Anyone on the street must have heard about it, and have their own opinions about the AIM withdrawing the award they gave to Yuna and her song Penakut for Song Of The Year, and all this happening a few days after the awards show itself, which means that they’ve announced the winner onstage, had Yuna come up to pick up the award, with the thank you speech that comes with it, witnessed not only by those in attendance but also by I don’t know how many people who saw it on television.
The reason for all this is because that same song by Yuna didn’t win in the Best Pop Song category, and apparently the rule is that only winners of the best song in each category will be eligible for the Song Of The Year award, and so there was some error when tallying up the votes because of a misunderstanding of this rule.
If you ask me, it is a valid reason, although a case can also be made that sometimes a song may be sui generis enough to not be the best in any particular category, but actually is the best song as a whole, without having to evaluate it through the particular requirements of a particular genre.
But rules are rules, so we must respect them. The problem is, how can this sort of misunderstanding of rules occur in what is supposed to our very own version of the Grammy Awards in the first place? And how awkward must it look for AIM that the eventual winner of the award, after taking it back from Yuna, is Edry Abdul Halim for his song Sedetik Lebih sung by Anuar Zain, who also happens to be the brother of Norman Abdul Halim, the president of the Recording Industry of Malaysia (RIM), the main body that takes care of the AIM?
I doubt that there’s any hanky panky going on in the re-awarding of the awards, and if it had originally gone to Edry in the first place, I don’t think that anyone would even bring it up. But speaking as an industry insider, even before this whole Song Of The Year debacle, I know for a fact that there’s a pretty substantial section of the local music industry who’ve already lost faith in the way the whole AIM has been run, especially this year. Now that all this has happened, I don’t think their faith will be restored anytime soon.
It’s just a shame to see our two biggest awards shows, supposedly dedicated to awarding excellence and not popularity, keep on cocking up year after year. As corruptly mainstream as some people may think the Grammys are, they still at least found room to award the likes of The Black Keys and Arcade Fire for their excellence, just to give an example from recent years. Don’t you think it’s time that we deserve better too?
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.