Media The Star Malaysia 6 Apr 2011

Tracing his roots

An Iban man goes in search of his biological parents after finding out he is adopted.

HIS name may not ring a bell but Beto Kusyairy is undoubtedly one of the few talents to be reckoned with when it comes to acting.

His acting has captivated many who managed to catch him in dramas such as Lima, Geng Surau, Sepuluh, Juvana, Kashaf Imani, Apa Dosaku? and Warkah Terakhir… Rosli Dhobi. And for the whole of this month, fans and the curious out there can check out Beto’s performance in Uri, a telemovie that is being screened on Astro Box Office Movies Tayangan Hebat.

In Uri, he plays dual roles – Rahmat and his twin brother Johnny – in a story which follows Rahmat’s journey in search of his roots and family after he discovers that he is adopted.

During his journey into unknown territory in the interior of Sarawak, he starts facing health problems such as nose bleeds. constant body aches and recurring nightmares night after night.

There he also meets a lovely Sarawakian girl, Mining, and romance blossoms.

“Personally, Rahmat’s character is close to my heart. However, it was a challenge playing dual roles in Uri. On top of that, I had to speak like a Sarawakian, which also posed a big challenge,” said Beto after the launch of the telemovie recently.

“It took me about two weeks to learn to speak the local dialect naturally before filming began,” said Beto, 31, who has been acting since 2003.

Kuala Lumpur-born Beto whose real name is Nurkusyairy Zakuan Osman believes in acting in dramas with messages to educate the viewers. “I’m not here (acting) just to entertain but also to educate. It is high time we see more local dramas and movies with subtle messages to educate the masses. If you noticed, all my dramas, including Uri, have subtle messages.”

Director Tunku Mona Riza Tunku Khalid shared his sentiment and hoped Uri will change people’s perception of the Iban community.

Tunku Norhanis and Beto Kusyairy play sweethearts who meet in Sarawak

“In Uri, I decided to feature something real and believable and my subject is that of an Iban boy and his roots.

“With the movie, I hope to correct wrong perceptions about the community, they are just like us,” said the 44-year-old Kedahan who made commercials such as Alif cooking oil, Vanish washing liquid and PKNS’ Hari Raya greetings.

“In a nutshell, Uri (a Malay word for placenta) is about the bond between a mother and her child. It is a bond that nobody can break,” explained Tunku Mona who decided to direct the telemovie after having directed commercials for seven years.

“I wanted to try something different and telemovies seem like a natural progression. In commercials, everything seems so rigid as Director Tunku Mona Riza Tunku Khalid opted to tackle something believable in her first telemovie. you have to please your clients. In movies, I have the freedom to explore.”

Tunku Mona added that she was lucky to have a passionate and highly-committed production crew and cast.

“It helped tremendously that my director of photography is Eric Yeong with whom I have collaborated in several commercials. I like the way he channelled my ideas on screen,” said Tunku Mona.

On her choice of Beto: “I watched Beto play the role of a Sarawakian freedom fighter in Warkah Terakhir… Rosli Dobi and I was captivated. I really think he has done a great job. He is so believable and natural in his acting.

“It was the same thing that I looked for in the female lead role. I had in mind a girl who can blend in with the crowd, not too outstanding. In fact, we had quite a turnout during the auditions but I found my Mining in 20-year-old Tunku Norhanis,” said Tunku Mona, adding that Uri also features an infectious theme song Setia Menanti.

The song was penned by Sarawakian songwriter/sape player Jerry Kamit, who won four gold medals at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles in 2009. There are two songs from the band Hujan entitled Kotak Hati and Bahgia. n Astro Box Office Movies Tayangan Hebat (Astro Channel 952 and 953) is showing Uri this month. Subscribe at RM9.95 to enjoy the movie and other titles such as TheLegendOfBruce Lee ( PartOne and Two), BabeILoveYou (the Philippines), Mamat Khalid’s Estet, TeesMaar Khan (Hindi), Indonesian movie TiranMatiDi Ranjang and TheRelationOfFace,Mind AndLove (Korean). Sign up online or call Astro Box Office Movies (% 03-7494 5050, Mondays to Fridays from 9am-6pm, or 1300 82 3838).

Beto Kusyairy, who plays identical twins Johnny and Rahmat, and Tunku Norhanis head the cast in.