The New Paper
July 6, 2016
His angelic voice makes women swoon and his dance moves never fail to drop jaws.
Now, local singer-songwriter Taufik Batisah is taking his talents to the big screen for the first time in a Malaysian drama-comedy, Dukun Doktor Dani.
The 34-year-old, who scored the titular lead role as Doktor Dani (Malay for Doctor Dani), told M last week: "It was a big and pressurising leap to take the part, but I knew it was something I wanted to do.
"Even more pressure was put on me when I found out I was going to be on set alongside popular Malaysian actresses like Fasha (Sandha), Khatijah (Tan) among others."
The film, produced by Astro Shaw, is set to open in cinemas in Kuala Lumpur on July 28. There is currently no release date for it in Singapore.
He said: "The hardest thing was acting alongside such a talented cast.
"Both Fasha and Khatijah have done so many movies. Even (other cast members like) Amirul Affendi and Yus Edoo have a lot of experience doing theatre, so you can imagine the pressure on my shoulders.
"But I was game for it."
Although his acting experience cannot compare to that of his co-stars, Taufik, who has only previously appeared in local telemovie Demi Adriana and TV series Shooting Stars, said his personal life helped his on-set performance.
"Doktor Dani is quite a Mummy's boy and, in real life, so am I," he said with a laugh.
The character is the "pride and joy" of his kampung, but he leaves for the city to pursue his medical career. But after a failed operation causes his patient to die on the operating table, Dani quits the profession and moves back to the kampung.
Back in his hometown, Dani works alongside his kampung doctor and starts practising traditional Malay medicine, which does not always follow theories of medical science.
"And his mother is disappointed in him after she had spent almost all her savings putting him through medical school," Taufik said.
He added: "Being a mummy's boy, disappointing my mother is something I fear and I could relate to how Dani felt at that point."
He finds acting "a lot more difficult" than singing, he said.
"Perhaps, after all these years, singing has become second nature to me, but acting doesn't come so naturally and I know I've got a lot to learn," he said.
"There was one scene where Dani loses his cool after being pressured by many people in his life. The director just told me to put myself in his shoes and really let go.
"Whatever was written in the script was off the table. Everything in that bit was all ad hoc."
When asked if venturing into acting could expose him to being criticised, Taufik said that the past 12 years in the business - since winning the inaugural Singapore Idol in 2004 - has prepared him well for any criticism that may come his way.
"I accepted a long time ago that you can't please everybody," he said.
"Having been around, from pre-social media to post-social media, I've heard so many different things said about me and my craft."
For this movie, however, Taufik said he has "no idea" if he was up to scratch.
"I have not seen the film so I don't know how well I did.
"Even if I watched it, I don't think I will be able to decipher. That's something that will be entirely up to the viewers."
Taufik is set to appear as the male lead again in Malaysian romantic comedy Soulmate opposite Malaysian actress Raja Ilya.
"I like acting and I certainly hope it is something that I can do seriously, for sure," he said.
However, Dukun Doktor Dani, which he filmed for close to two months in Kuala Lumpur and Pahang, meant leaving behind his new wife, 32-year-old local freelance events coordinator Sheena Akbal, a week after their wedding in April last year.
Taufik said: "I felt so bad, but she was very understanding about it... she was the one who encouraged me to take the opportunity.
"I called her every night while I was on set."
He will be in KL again for Dukun Doktor Dani's premiere at the end of the month, but for now, is looking forward to visiting friends and family and "the amazing food" that comes with the Hari Raya festivities.
He said: "Both Sheena and I come from large extended families so visiting can take a toll, but honestly, nothing beats visiting loved ones with the love of my life."
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