Today marks the 90th birthday of a Malaysian icon Tan Sri P. Ramlee who is regarded as a national treasure in the local entertainment industry.

A multi-talented artist, P. Ramlee was a singer-songwriter, composer, actor, director and producer known for his contributions to the movie and music industry and his literary work.

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Even though he has gone for more than 45 years, he already composed a total of 401 songs and was involved in 66 films throughout his career, and his legacy still lives on until today.

To celebrate his 90th birthday, we look back at some of his best and most memorable works.

1Pendekar Bujang Lapok (1959)

“Pendekar Bujang Lapok” is the second movie from the “Bujang Lapok” series. The story follows 3 best friends Ramli, Aziz and Sudin, who attempt to learn self-defence from a master warrior Pendekar Mustar and at the same time, trying to win the heart of the warrior’s daughter Rose. The movie is ranked as one of the top five Malay films made in Singapore by The Straits Times, and won the Best Comedy award at the 6th Asian Film Festival in 1959.

2Ali Baba Bujang Lapok (1961)

The movie is the 3rd instalment from the “Bujang Lapok” franchise which is loosely based on the story of Ali Baba from “1001 Arabian nights”. The movie is notably one of the few films which P. Ramlee plays the villain. The movie is also notable for mocking the legal status of cannabis and opium in Malaysia for humorous effect.

3Tiga Abdul (1964)

The last film directed by P. Ramlee in Singapore before he moved to Malaysia in 1965, “Tiga Abdul” tells the story of 3 brothers who are caught in a web of trickery set by the cunning Sadiq Segaraga who uses his 3 daughters to con them, causing their family fortune and business to be threatened. The movie is a tribute to traditional folktales with a moral set into the story.

4Madu Tiga (1964)

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“Madu Tiga” has also been ranked as one of the top five Malay films made in Singapore, by The Straits Times. The movie is a hilarious satire on a man who takes on a second and subsequently third wife, without each wife knowing the real truth of the polygamy situation. Things get more chaotic when the 3 wives start befriending each other.

5Hang Tuah (1956)

“Hang Tuah” is the first Malay film to be fully shot in Eastman colour. Based on the legendary Admiral Hang Tuah of Malacca, the movie received the award for Best Musical Score at the 3rd Asian Film Festival in Hong Kong in 1956 and an official screening at 7th Berlin International Film Festival in 1957, where it was nominated for the Golden Bear.

6Ahmad Albab (1968)

Set in the style of traditional Malay folktales with an underlying moral message, the movie features real-life husband and wife pair P. Ramlee and Saloma acting opposite each other, while Saloma’s sisters Mariani and Mimi Loma played the roles of her sisters in the film. The movie is about an arrogant and materialistic man who marries off his outspoken daughter to a poor villager to teach her a lesson.

7Do Re Mi (1966)

Loosely based on “The Three Stooges”, the movie is the first film from the “Do Re Mi” series, which later followed by “Nasib Do Re Mi” (also 1966) and “Laksamana Do Re Mi” (1972), which was Ramlee’s last film before his death. The movie portrays three men whose adventures creates satirical laughter.

8Anakku Sazali

P. Ramlee is considered to be one of the earliest Malay actors to act in a dual role where played the role of the adult father character, Hassan as well as the spoilt son, Sazali. The movie is about love between a man and a woman, dreams that can come true and a father’s extreme love for his son. P. Ramlee earned the Best Actor award at the Asian Film Festival in 1957 held in Tokyo.

9Ibu Mertuaku

Known to be one of P. Ramlee’s most iconic films, “Ibu Mertuaku”, the movie revolves around the tragic love affair between Kassim Selamat, a poor musician, and Sabariah, the only daughter of a wealthy woman. Started out as a light-hearted comedy, the movie turns into a dramatic tragedy after the 30 minute mark especially the famous eye-stabbing scene during the film’s climax. The movie won Best Black & White Photography at the 10th Asia Pacific Film Festival in 1963. P. Ramlee also received the Most Versatile Talent Special Award at the festival.

Featured Image: Berita Harian

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Annie May
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