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‘Polis Evo 2’: Bold, gritty & a total shift from the original

Polis Evo 2 is a courageous film. And I’m not just talking about its courageous crime-busting characters. I’m talking about its filmmakers.

The original Polis Evo (2015) struck the perfect balance between humour and seriousness, lightness and heaviness.

Pairing the jovial small-town cop Inspector Sani (Zizan Razak) and the merciless highly-skilled cop Inspector Khai (Shaheizy Sam) as part of a mission to intercept a drug trafficking operation, Polis Evo found its winning formula.

But half an hour through Polis Evo 2, I was gobsmacked. The franchise had completely thrown out its winning formula.

The sequel begins with Sani and Khai trying to capture the highly-wanted drug lord, Riky (Tanta Ginting). Going with them on the ride is eager new cop Mat Dan (Syafie Naswip).

Their quest to capture Riky leads them to a remote island, as Riky has some sort of dealings with an extremist religious cult, led by the charismatic Hafsyam (Hasnul Rahmat) who’s hiding out in a cave on the island.

Things take a turn for the worse when Hafsyam and his men take some 200 inhabitants of the island hostage, with Sani and Khai’s party caught in the mix.

What started as a drug bust became something the narcotic cops are unfamiliar with – an act of terrorism.

Polis Evo 2 is an entirely different film. And to appreciate it, you have to part with the ideas and expectations you may have gotten from the first movie.

Polis Evo 2

We have a very important meeting we need you to attend. The colour of the paper clips we use don’t just decide themselves. Photos: Astro Shaw

Viewers will notice right away that there is very little humour this time round and understandably so, as the gravity of the situation leaves no room for fun and games.

On top of that, the villain here is a lot darker and the atmosphere throughout the film feels devoid of hope.

It is in this air of despondency that great character development, thought-provoking dialogues and meaningful themes rise.

The Sani-Khai friendship, which was instrumental to the success of the original, is still very much a part of the franchise. Polis Evo 2 takes it further.

There is a raw, emotionally-unhinged scene which sees Sani and Khai confronting their inner demons head on. It is a precious moment because for what feels like the first time in a long while, male friendships are portrayed as more than just a fist bump or a witty exchange. It means two macho men can sit down and talk about their feelings – something we don’t do enough.

The film also explores one of the most painful experiences of human life – guilt and grief.

We take for granted that law enforcement officers have to make life-and-death decisions on the spot that could go either way.

But not only does this message speak to cops, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt weighed down by life’s should’ves and could’ves, and have found it hard to move on.

No one expected this from an action flick but Polis Evo 2 unwittingly addresses the importance of taking care of our emotional health.

Polis Evo 2

‘Seriously, you’re gonna deny it? There’s only two of us here and I know for sure that I didn’t fart.’

Another crucial change is the inclusion of strong female characters such as Indonesian undercover cop Rian (Raline Shah) and high-ranking Malaysian police Datuk Azizat (Erra Fazira). First things first, neither serve as a love interest to the male characters.

They are written as equals to their male counterparts, if not more capable. It is a step forward from the original for sure, which saw Nora Danish playing a damsel-in-distress.

Amid all these changes in the new instalment, one thing remains: the franchise’s well-executed action scenes. In fact, there’s more here than before.

With every passing hour, a hostage is killed until Hafsyam’s demands are met hence the efforts to push back on the terrorists’ threats are constant and relentless.

This urgency is reflected in the treatment of the action sequences, sporting a more realistic and gritty camerawork.

The success of the film relies heavily on whether its villain Hafsyam is dark and evil enough. Otherwise, the threats don’t carry as much weight.

And Hasnul, not surprisingly, rises to the occasion, especially in scenes where he is playing mind games with his hostages.

As Sani and Khai’s friendship gets tested more than ever, so does the actors’ acting chemistry. Zizan and Shaheizy have this in spades, which carry them through those unexpected emotionally-charged moments.

Trading the feel-good buddy cop movie (and not to mention, very lucrative) formula for deeper, more complex themes takes a lot of guts. (Then again, maybe this drastic change is necessary for how long can the same formula fuel the franchise?)

It makes Polis Evo 2 a bit too heavy and difficult to watch at times. Between the meaning-laden dialogues and incessant action sequences, there is little time to catch your breath.

It’s like having to take in one giant breath before you take the plunge at the start of the film and having only that same breath to sustain you until the credits roll.

But coming up for air at the end of the film is one of the best feelings. For viewers find themselves in uncharted waters in the local cinema landscape. And what a sight it is.


Polis Evo 2

Director: Joel Soh and Andre Chiew

Cast: Zizan Razak, Shaheizy Sam, Raline Shah, Hasnul Rahmat, Erra Fazira, Tanta Ginting, Syafie Naswip

Entertainment – Star2.com

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Donnie Yen slams prima donna accusations after ‘Iceman’ sequel flop

The knives are out for Donnie Yen and the action star is not pulling his punches in fighting back.

The mud-slinging started after the producers of Iceman: The Time Traveller, which is being shown in cinemas in Malaysia, accused the actor of being a prima donna.

He was attacked for changing his lines arbitrarily, amending what the film’s action choreographer proposed, and refusing to take part in promotional activities.

But Yen, known for his martial arts movies Ip Man and is now shooting Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan in New Zealand, questioned why he was being maligned since the first part of the movie – Iceman – had come out way back in 2014, and that there had been no previous protests from the producers.

He said he was unable to do promotional stints because there was no advance notice and that he was busy with Mulan.

Posting on Weibo, Yen, 55, speculated that the producers were instead trying to whip up controversy in a bid to beef up interest among fans, who have shown lukewarm response to Time Traveller.

In China, it took in only US$ 4.9mil (RM20.5mil) after 10 days, a disaster compared to another star vehicle, Project Gutenberg, starring Chow Yun Fat and Aaron Kwok, which netted US$ 181.4mil (RM759mil) after 43 days.

Yen aimed a last kick at the producers by saying: “In the future, I will try my best to work only with professional teams to produce excellent works that will live up to my fans’ expectation and live up to my passion for the film industry.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Entertainment – Star2.com

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See Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s wedding photos

No one wanted to be slammed as the guest who spoiled the private wedding of “DeepVeer”, which is what the Indian media are calling glamorous couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh.

In an age of selfies and Instagram, no photographs were leaked of the traditional ceremonies when the Bollywood superstars got married at Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como, Italy, on Nov 14 and Nov 15.

It was only late Nov 15 when fans finally got a sneak peak as the newlyweds posted two pictures on their Twitter accounts from the event which was closed to the media.

The images showed a smiling Padukone, 32, and Singh, 33, wearing traditional Indian wedding garb designed by fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

The photographs unleashed a torrent of gushing online comments from Indian celebrities.

Another Bollywood superstar, Priyanka Chopra, who is getting married to singer Nick Jonas next month, wrote: “Insanely beautiful.”

Bollywood superstars Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh tied the knot in Lake Como. Photo: Twitter

While the wedding was out of bounds, the Indian media kept fans in the loop with live updates.

The groom was spotted turning up at the wedding venue in a luxury yacht and dancing to a tune from one of his movies.

The Times Of India reported that no small detail was overlooked, with the Italian staff at the resort even taught to speak in Konkani and Hindi to make the guests feel at home.

Food was served on banana leaves and a priest was flown in from India. No expense was spared, with reports that DeepVeer had booked up to 75 rooms at the resort, with each costing at least RM1900 a night.

The couple, who reportedly started dating in 2013 but had kept details of their relationship largely out of the public eye, are set to have a brief honeymoon before heading back to India to host celebrations for their friends and industry folk. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Entertainment – Star2.com

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The war against drugs continues with ‘Narcos: Mexico’

In the world of Narcos there’s no good guys; there are just bad guys and very bad guys.

“The show paints an appropriately complex picture of an enterprise that’s not as simple as bad drug traffickers and good police,” explained executive producer Eric Newman at an interview that took place during a two-day Netflix event at Singapore last week.

He was there with actors Diego Luna and Michael Pena to talk about Narcos: Mexico, which is a new chapter in the Narcos series.

The first three seasons of Narcos looked at the criminal activities in Colombia, specifically the drug trafficking ring run by Colombian drug kingpins like Pablo Escobar.

For its new season – rebooted as Narcos: Mexico – the story moves to Mexico in the 1980s when the city Guadalajara is about to become the base of operations for most of the major narcotics traffickers in North America.

At the centre of the tale are two men, the ambitious Miguel Felix Gallardo (Luna) – who would become one of the heads of the Guadalajara cartel – as well as an agent with the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Enrique “Kiki” Camarena (Pena) who’s posted to Guadalajara and witnesses the foundation of a drug enterprise taking shape.

As Kiki gathers intelligence on Felix, a tragic chain of events unfolds, one that affects the drug trade and the war against it till today.

Newman stated: “We very fairly depict the relationship of law enforcement and government (within this enterprise) because it’s incredibly implicit – the drug traffickers would not exist if not for corrupt politicians and law enforcement and of course the endless demand for cocaine that comes out of America, and also from all over the world.”

While Narcos is a drama, the key points in all of the chapters are based on real events.

To ensure the authenticity is intact on the show, the production team goes to where it happened.

All previous seasons were filmed in Colombia. Likewise, the cast and crew of Narcos: Mexico went to Mexico to film its 10 episodes, which features dialogues in both English and Spanish.

Pena, last seen in Ant-Man And The Wasp, pointed out: “The location becomes like another character in the show.”

Continued Newman: “It changed our process to actually be where it happened. Unlike Colombia, where we have reached the end of the violent chapter of the drug war, Mexico is still in the throes of it.”

Luna couldn’t agree more. The international star who was born in Mexico City said: “I still live in the country and the violence is ridiculous.

“To fix the problem, the conversation needs to be open; the way we look at the issue has got to be different because the (drug) market keeps growing … The show has a potential to be part of the solution.

“I hope people will get curious to dig a little deeper into this issue … it takes a lot for change to happen.”

mexico

Diego Luna, Eric Newman and Michael Pena pose for a portrait in Singapore.

Narcos was a global hit when it came out in 2015, and was nominated for multiple awards.

It is a kind of a show that would be easy to dismiss as it does humanise people who don’t deserve to be humanised.

“But at the same time Narcos presents a different point of view, and it forces viewers to not just slap the stereotype of a drug dealer to a character and realise there is a lot in play.

Newman expanded: “There is an evolution to the history of drugs, and it starts at one place and spreads, and goes all over the world. There is an invisible empire that connects all of us, every country – as long as there is a demand, there is a supply.”

This is also why, he said, Narcos could change its cast, characters as well as locations, and still continue.

mexico

Michael Pena plays a DEA Agent who witnesses the rise of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s that still operates today.

“The show has always been designed not to be of one person or one place, but to be a story of this invisible empire and how they’re connected – the traffickers in Asia are doing business with traffickers in Colombia, many of whom we’ve featured on our show.

“It is an extended universe that coexists throughout time and it connects to governments, banks, and law enforcements, and even some cultural movements. They’re all fuelled by, if not the cocaine itself, then, the money that the cocaine generates.

“The idea of this show from the very beginning was to illustrate that world. So no matter where we go, whether we go into Asia, we go to US, Europe, Africa it looks very similar.

“There is always a Pablo Escobar, Felix Gallardo and there is always a Kiki Camarena.”

Narcos: Mexico is now available on Netflix.

Entertainment – Star2.com

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The war against drugs continues with ‘Narcos: Mexico’

In the world of Narcos there’s no good guys; there are just bad guys and very bad guys.

“The show paints an appropriately complex picture of an enterprise that’s not as simple as bad drug traffickers and good police,” explained executive producer Eric Newman at an interview that took place during a two-day Netflix event at Singapore last week.

He was there with actors Diego Luna and Michael Pena to talk about Narcos: Mexico, which is a new chapter in the Narcos series.

The first three seasons of Narcos looked at the criminal activities in Colombia, specifically the drug trafficking ring run by Colombian drug kingpins like Pablo Escobar.

For its new season – rebooted as Narcos: Mexico – the story moves to Mexico in the 1980s when the city Guadalajara is about to become the base of operations for most of the major narcotics traffickers in North America.

At the centre of the tale are two men, the ambitious Miguel Felix Gallardo (Luna) – who would become one of the heads of the Guadalajara cartel – as well as an agent with the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Enrique “Kiki” Camarena (Pena) who’s posted to Guadalajara and witnesses the foundation of a drug enterprise taking shape.

As Kiki gathers intelligence on Felix, a tragic chain of events unfolds, one that affects the drug trade and the war against it till today.

Newman stated: “We very fairly depict the relationship of law enforcement and government (within this enterprise) because it’s incredibly implicit – the drug traffickers would not exist if not for corrupt politicians and law enforcement and of course the endless demand for cocaine that comes out of America, and also from all over the world.”

While Narcos is a drama, the key points in all of the chapters are based on real events.

To ensure the authenticity is intact on the show, the production team goes to where it happened.

All previous seasons were filmed in Colombia. Likewise, the cast and crew of Narcos: Mexico went to Mexico to film its 10 episodes, which features dialogues in both English and Spanish.

Pena, last seen in Ant-Man And The Wasp, pointed out: “The location becomes like another character in the show.”

Continued Newman: “It changed our process to actually be where it happened. Unlike Colombia, where we have reached the end of the violent chapter of the drug war, Mexico is still in the throes of it.”

Luna couldn’t agree more. The international star who was born in Mexico City said: “I still live in the country and the violence is ridiculous.

“To fix the problem, the conversation needs to be open; the way we look at the issue has got to be different because the (drug) market keeps growing … The show has a potential to be part of the solution.

“I hope people will get curious to dig a little deeper into this issue … it takes a lot for change to happen.”

mexico

Diego Luna, Eric Newman and Michael Pena pose for a portrait in Singapore.

Narcos was a global hit when it came out in 2015, and was nominated for multiple awards.

It is a kind of a show that would be easy to dismiss as it does humanise people who don’t deserve to be humanised.

“But at the same time Narcos presents a different point of view, and it forces viewers to not just slap the stereotype of a drug dealer to a character and realise there is a lot in play.

Newman expanded: “There is an evolution to the history of drugs, and it starts at one place and spreads, and goes all over the world. There is an invisible empire that connects all of us, every country – as long as there is a demand, there is a supply.”

This is also why, he said, Narcos could change its cast, characters as well as locations, and still continue.

mexico

Michael Pena plays a DEA Agent who witnesses the rise of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s that still operates today.

“The show has always been designed not to be of one person or one place, but to be a story of this invisible empire and how they’re connected – the traffickers in Asia are doing business with traffickers in Colombia, many of whom we’ve featured on our show.

“It is an extended universe that coexists throughout time and it connects to governments, banks, and law enforcements, and even some cultural movements. They’re all fuelled by, if not the cocaine itself, then, the money that the cocaine generates.

“The idea of this show from the very beginning was to illustrate that world. So no matter where we go, whether we go into Asia, we go to US, Europe, Africa it looks very similar.

“There is always a Pablo Escobar, Felix Gallardo and there is always a Kiki Camarena.”

Narcos: Mexico is now available on Netflix.

Entertainment – Star2.com

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The war against drugs continues with ‘Narcos: Mexico’

In the world of Narcos there’s no good guys; there are just bad guys and very bad guys.

“The show paints an appropriately complex picture of an enterprise that’s not as simple as bad drug traffickers and good police,” explained executive producer Eric Newman at an interview that took place during a two-day Netflix event at Singapore last week.

He was there with actors Diego Luna and Michael Pena to talk about Narcos: Mexico, which is a new chapter in the Narcos series.

The first three seasons of Narcos looked at the criminal activities in Colombia, specifically the drug trafficking ring run by Colombian drug kingpins like Pablo Escobar.

For its new season – rebooted as Narcos: Mexico – the story moves to Mexico in the 1980s when the city Guadalajara is about to become the base of operations for most of the major narcotics traffickers in North America.

At the centre of the tale are two men, the ambitious Miguel Felix Gallardo (Luna) – who would become one of the heads of the Guadalajara cartel – as well as an agent with the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Enrique “Kiki” Camarena (Pena) who’s posted to Guadalajara and witnesses the foundation of a drug enterprise taking shape.

As Kiki gathers intelligence on Felix, a tragic chain of events unfolds, one that affects the drug trade and the war against it till today.

Newman stated: “We very fairly depict the relationship of law enforcement and government (within this enterprise) because it’s incredibly implicit – the drug traffickers would not exist if not for corrupt politicians and law enforcement and of course the endless demand for cocaine that comes out of America, and also from all over the world.”

While Narcos is a drama, the key points in all of the chapters are based on real events.

To ensure the authenticity is intact on the show, the production team goes to where it happened.

All previous seasons were filmed in Colombia. Likewise, the cast and crew of Narcos: Mexico went to Mexico to film its 10 episodes, which features dialogues in both English and Spanish.

Pena, last seen in Ant-Man And The Wasp, pointed out: “The location becomes like another character in the show.”

Continued Newman: “It changed our process to actually be where it happened. Unlike Colombia, where we have reached the end of the violent chapter of the drug war, Mexico is still in the throes of it.”

Luna couldn’t agree more. The international star who was born in Mexico City said: “I still live in the country and the violence is ridiculous.

“To fix the problem, the conversation needs to be open; the way we look at the issue has got to be different because the (drug) market keeps growing … The show has a potential to be part of the solution.

“I hope people will get curious to dig a little deeper into this issue … it takes a lot for change to happen.”

mexico

Diego Luna, Eric Newman and Michael Pena pose for a portrait in Singapore.

Narcos was a global hit when it came out in 2015, and was nominated for multiple awards.

It is a kind of a show that would be easy to dismiss as it does humanise people who don’t deserve to be humanised.

“But at the same time Narcos presents a different point of view, and it forces viewers to not just slap the stereotype of a drug dealer to a character and realise there is a lot in play.

Newman expanded: “There is an evolution to the history of drugs, and it starts at one place and spreads, and goes all over the world. There is an invisible empire that connects all of us, every country – as long as there is a demand, there is a supply.”

This is also why, he said, Narcos could change its cast, characters as well as locations, and still continue.

mexico

Michael Pena plays a DEA Agent who witnesses the rise of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s that still operates today.

“The show has always been designed not to be of one person or one place, but to be a story of this invisible empire and how they’re connected – the traffickers in Asia are doing business with traffickers in Colombia, many of whom we’ve featured on our show.

“It is an extended universe that coexists throughout time and it connects to governments, banks, and law enforcements, and even some cultural movements. They’re all fuelled by, if not the cocaine itself, then, the money that the cocaine generates.

“The idea of this show from the very beginning was to illustrate that world. So no matter where we go, whether we go into Asia, we go to US, Europe, Africa it looks very similar.

“There is always a Pablo Escobar, Felix Gallardo and there is always a Kiki Camarena.”

Narcos: Mexico is now available on Netflix.

Entertainment – Star2.com

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The war against drugs continues with ‘Narcos: Mexico’

In the world of Narcos there’s no good guys; there are just bad guys and very bad guys.

“The show paints an appropriately complex picture of an enterprise that’s not as simple as bad drug traffickers and good police,” explained executive producer Eric Newman at an interview that took place during a two-day Netflix event at Singapore last week.

He was there with actors Diego Luna and Michael Pena to talk about Narcos: Mexico, which is a new chapter in the Narcos series.

The first three seasons of Narcos looked at the criminal activities in Colombia, specifically the drug trafficking ring run by Colombian drug kingpins like Pablo Escobar.

For its new season – rebooted as Narcos: Mexico – the story moves to Mexico in the 1980s when the city Guadalajara is about to become the base of operations for most of the major narcotics traffickers in North America.

At the centre of the tale are two men, the ambitious Miguel Felix Gallardo (Luna) – who would become one of the heads of the Guadalajara cartel – as well as an agent with the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Enrique “Kiki” Camarena (Pena) who’s posted to Guadalajara and witnesses the foundation of a drug enterprise taking shape.

As Kiki gathers intelligence on Felix, a tragic chain of events unfolds, one that affects the drug trade and the war against it till today.

Newman stated: “We very fairly depict the relationship of law enforcement and government (within this enterprise) because it’s incredibly implicit – the drug traffickers would not exist if not for corrupt politicians and law enforcement and of course the endless demand for cocaine that comes out of America, and also from all over the world.”

While Narcos is a drama, the key points in all of the chapters are based on real events.

To ensure the authenticity is intact on the show, the production team goes to where it happened.

All previous seasons were filmed in Colombia. Likewise, the cast and crew of Narcos: Mexico went to Mexico to film its 10 episodes, which features dialogues in both English and Spanish.

Pena, last seen in Ant-Man And The Wasp, pointed out: “The location becomes like another character in the show.”

Continued Newman: “It changed our process to actually be where it happened. Unlike Colombia, where we have reached the end of the violent chapter of the drug war, Mexico is still in the throes of it.”

Luna couldn’t agree more. The international star who was born in Mexico City said: “I still live in the country and the violence is ridiculous.

“To fix the problem, the conversation needs to be open; the way we look at the issue has got to be different because the (drug) market keeps growing … The show has a potential to be part of the solution.

“I hope people will get curious to dig a little deeper into this issue … it takes a lot for change to happen.”

mexico

Diego Luna, Eric Newman and Michael Pena pose for a portrait in Singapore.

Narcos was a global hit when it came out in 2015, and was nominated for multiple awards.

It is a kind of a show that would be easy to dismiss as it does humanise people who don’t deserve to be humanised.

“But at the same time Narcos presents a different point of view, and it forces viewers to not just slap the stereotype of a drug dealer to a character and realise there is a lot in play.

Newman expanded: “There is an evolution to the history of drugs, and it starts at one place and spreads, and goes all over the world. There is an invisible empire that connects all of us, every country – as long as there is a demand, there is a supply.”

This is also why, he said, Narcos could change its cast, characters as well as locations, and still continue.

mexico

Michael Pena plays a DEA Agent who witnesses the rise of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s that still operates today.

“The show has always been designed not to be of one person or one place, but to be a story of this invisible empire and how they’re connected – the traffickers in Asia are doing business with traffickers in Colombia, many of whom we’ve featured on our show.

“It is an extended universe that coexists throughout time and it connects to governments, banks, and law enforcements, and even some cultural movements. They’re all fuelled by, if not the cocaine itself, then, the money that the cocaine generates.

“The idea of this show from the very beginning was to illustrate that world. So no matter where we go, whether we go into Asia, we go to US, Europe, Africa it looks very similar.

“There is always a Pablo Escobar, Felix Gallardo and there is always a Kiki Camarena.”

Narcos: Mexico is now available on Netflix.

Entertainment – Star2.com

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Malaysian-Danish singer-songwriter set to release third English single

She knew she wanted to be a singer when she was 10, wrote her first song at 13, and today, has multiple singles to her name.

Meet 20-year-old Sophia Fredskild, a pop singer-songwriter of Malaysian and Danish parentage.

Fredskild grew up in Kuala Lumpur listening to a variety of music, including pop, R&B, folk and also country. Among her favourite artistes are Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Ne-Yo and Rihanna.

Fredskild has nurtured a love for the arts from a young age. The first song she ever wrote was called Shooting Star.

“That took me a couple of hours to finish because it just flowed from start to end. Looking back at it, I think I definitely improved in terms of writing hooks and catchy melodies,” said Fredskild, when asked how she felt about the song now.

“But it was a good start and I am still proud of it. It was close to my heart and I wrote what I was feeling at that time, so it was kind of a dreamy, romantic and youthful song,” she said, when we met for an interview and photoshoot recently.

When she was in school, Fredskild joined the choir and took part in talent shows, later getting involved in theatre and musical productions including Bites Of Delights (Rhythm in Bronze), Seussical Jr The Musical (Enfiniti Academy) and Sinbad the Musical (KLPac).

Fredskild collaborated with deejay, songwriter and producer Cuurley aka Bo Amir on the song “Go”, which she co-wrote. Photo courtesy of Sophia Fredskild

After she completed her O-level in 2015, Fredskild pursued her singing and songwriting career full time.

She had the chance to collaborate with Malaysian deejay, songwriter and producer Cuurley aka Bo Amir, with whom she co-wrote the English song Go.

“Bo has been in the industry for a very long time, and I learnt a lot from him. The first time I met him, he had a fully produced track that I managed to write melodies and lyrics for. So I would say that experience gave me the confidence and reassurance that I could pursue a career in singing and songwriting.

“That was my first professional production, and I learnt a lot about planning music videos as well as the whole execution process,” she said, adding that from there, she also got the chance to perform at Electric Run Malaysia’s post-concert in July 2017 in Putrajaya.

Fredskild released her second English single More Than You See earlier this year, a collaboration with Russian deejay, songwriter and producer Alexey Dorokhov aka Dorox.

Fredskild met Dorox online, the latter having heard her song Go and had a track he wanted her to sing.

Fredskild’s English version of her Malay song “Menanti Cinta” will be released on Friday.

“So he sent me the track and I wrote the lyrics and melody to it. Then I got it recorded in a studio, sent it to him and he was very happy with it. That experience also showed that music can come by in many ways, and you can collaborate with anyone around the world.”

The affable Fredskild released her first Malay song entitled Menanti Cinta recently, followed by the English version Waiting For Love, which will be out this Friday.

“This is a song about waiting for the right person to come into your life, being patient about the trials that you face, and having the hope of finding true love,” shared Fredskild, adding that she hopes to target the Malaysian market as well as Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei with Menanti Cinta.

Although English remains her first language, she also speaks Danish fluently, and hopes to continue improving her Bahasa Malaysia. The young artiste is set to release another Malay and English number next January, which will be a more upbeat pop tune.

“That’s more about a romantic situation, meeting someone that you feel is the one, so it’s like a continuation of Menanti Cinta. It will be called Cinta Selamanya, and the English version, Forever Mine,” she revealed.

Fredskild already plans to release yet another set of songs in both languages after that, before she focuses on working on a full English album.

Despite her parents not being involved in music before this, they are very supportive of their daughter’s career. In fact, the family started their own label recently.

“I am so grateful for their support because I know a lot of parents are not supportive of children who want to do arts but my parents are 100% supportive,” says Fredskild, who likes to watch movies to relax.

Entertainment – Star2.com

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The war against drugs continues with ‘Narcos: Mexico’

In the world of Narcos there’s no good guys; there are just bad guys and very bad guys.

“The show paints an appropriately complex picture of an enterprise that’s not as simple as bad drug traffickers and good police,” explained executive producer Eric Newman at an interview that took place during a two-day Netflix event at Singapore last week.

He was there with actors Diego Luna and Michael Pena to talk about Narcos: Mexico, which is a new chapter in the Narcos series.

The first three seasons of Narcos looked at the criminal activities in Colombia, specifically the drug trafficking ring run by Colombian drug kingpins like Pablo Escobar.

For its new season – rebooted as Narcos: Mexico – the story moves to Mexico in the 1980s when the city Guadalajara is about to become the base of operations for most of the major narcotics traffickers in North America.

At the centre of the tale are two men, the ambitious Miguel Felix Gallardo (Luna) – who would become one of the heads of the Guadalajara cartel – as well as an agent with the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Enrique “Kiki” Camarena (Pena) who’s posted to Guadalajara and witnesses the foundation of a drug enterprise taking shape.

As Kiki gathers intelligence on Felix, a tragic chain of events unfolds, one that affects the drug trade and the war against it till today.

Newman stated: “We very fairly depict the relationship of law enforcement and government (within this enterprise) because it’s incredibly implicit – the drug traffickers would not exist if not for corrupt politicians and law enforcement and of course the endless demand for cocaine that comes out of America, and also from all over the world.”

While Narcos is a drama, the key points in all of the chapters are based on real events.

To ensure the authenticity is intact on the show, the production team goes to where it happened.

All previous seasons were filmed in Colombia. Likewise, the cast and crew of Narcos: Mexico went to Mexico to film its 10 episodes, which features dialogues in both English and Spanish.

Pena, last seen in Ant-Man And The Wasp, pointed out: “The location becomes like another character in the show.”

Continued Newman: “It changed our process to actually be where it happened. Unlike Colombia, where we have reached the end of the violent chapter of the drug war, Mexico is still in the throes of it.”

Luna couldn’t agree more. The international star who was born in Mexico City said: “I still live in the country and the violence is ridiculous.

“To fix the problem, the conversation needs to be open; the way we look at the issue has got to be different because the (drug) market keeps growing … The show has a potential to be part of the solution.

“I hope people will get curious to dig a little deeper into this issue … it takes a lot for change to happen.”

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Diego Luna, Eric Newman and Michael Pena pose for a portrait in Singapore.

Narcos was a global hit when it came out in 2015, and was nominated for multiple awards.

It is a kind of a show that would be easy to dismiss as it does humanise people who don’t deserve to be humanised.

“But at the same time Narcos presents a different point of view, and it forces viewers to not just slap the stereotype of a drug dealer to a character and realise there is a lot in play.

Newman expanded: “There is an evolution to the history of drugs, and it starts at one place and spreads, and goes all over the world. There is an invisible empire that connects all of us, every country – as long as there is a demand, there is a supply.”

This is also why, he said, Narcos could change its cast, characters as well as locations, and still continue.

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Michael Pena plays a DEA Agent who witnesses the rise of the Guadalajara cartel in the 1980s that still operates today.

“The show has always been designed not to be of one person or one place, but to be a story of this invisible empire and how they’re connected – the traffickers in Asia are doing business with traffickers in Colombia, many of whom we’ve featured on our show.

“It is an extended universe that coexists throughout time and it connects to governments, banks, and law enforcements, and even some cultural movements. They’re all fuelled by, if not the cocaine itself, then, the money that the cocaine generates.

“The idea of this show from the very beginning was to illustrate that world. So no matter where we go, whether we go into Asia, we go to US, Europe, Africa it looks very similar.

“There is always a Pablo Escobar, Felix Gallardo and there is always a Kiki Camarena.”

Narcos: Mexico is now available on Netflix.

Entertainment – Star2.com

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Seven-month pregnant Liza Hanim competes in song competition

Liza Hanim believes the answer to the question of whether seasoned artistes are still relevant in today’s industry could not be clearer with the strong showing of singers like herself, Siti Sarah, Misha Omar and more at the semi-finals of song competition, Muzik Muzik.

“It’s not only one or two of us who made it to the semi-finals, it’s a whole bunch of us. That’s a good sign. It shows we still have a place in the industry,” she enthuses.

“It’s a boost of confidence for myself. It means the fans are still there. That’s why I feel I really need to go on stage, despite my condition.”

Indeed, when she stepped on the Muzik Muzik stage last week to perform Mimpi, the 39-year-old singer was seven months pregnant with her fifth child.

The final round of the song competition will take place around the same time her baby is due, in January.

“If I give birth in early January, I may have time to recover and prepare.

“Of course, if tomorrow is the finals, and suddenly I give birth today … there’s the possibility of me not singing.”

Since making her debut in 1997, Liza has cut seven studio albums and racked up hits like Siapa Sangka Siapa Menduga. She went on a hiatus around 2007 to focus on raising her family. She returned last year as a contestant on the fourth season of Gegar Vaganza, and placed second.

Striking while the iron is hot, she released Mimpi this year.

Asked if she feels pressured to sound current, Liza believes in staying true to her roots.

“I have my own style. Let people know me for who I am,” she replies.

“I take this as an opportunity for me to introduce myself to the younger generation. I hope with the various demographics in Muzik Muzik’s viewership, I can reach out to them.”

Still, Liza says the message of the song makes her offering very much relevant.

Mimpi is about two people who are very much in love but their relationship is not meant to be. It’s inspired by a true story of a newly-married couple. They happen to be friends of the songwriter. Just a few days after the wedding, one of them passed away because of an accident.

“I think something like this also happened again recently to another couple. The wife passed away shortly after nikah because of cancer. I would like to dedicate my performance to them as well,” Liza says.

Asked her favourite memory from Muzik Muzik, Liza recalls advancing to the AJL finale and winning Best Vocal Performance for Gelisah Mimpi in 2002.

“It was the first time the category was introduced. It means a lot because I’ve never won an AIM (Anugerah Industri Muzik, Malaysia’s equivalent of the Grammys) before.

“Receiving the best vocals award for a live performance at AJL is something I cherish a lot.”


Muzik Muzik is a weekly music chart show. Viewers vote for their favourite songs to enter and remain on the chart for as long as possible.

Thirty songs that clock in the most weeks on the chart by the end of the year will advance to the semi-final round. Here, each song is performed live in front of a panel of judges who will then whittle down the 30 songs to only 12.

In the splashy finale known as Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL)these 12 songs are performed live again to a panel of judges for a shot at the prestigious title, Best Song.

The semi-finals of Muzik Muzik airs for three Fridays, beginning Nov 9, Nov 16 and Nov 23 at 9pm on TV3. The AJL finale will take place on Feb 3.

Entertainment – Star2.com


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