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Of love and shuttlecocks
Posted by NewsBot on 8/01/2010 10:12:45 a.m. Reply to this post

The spirit of sportsmanship runs deep in the latest TV production Biar Putih Tulang Jangan Putih Mata, which premiered yesterday on Astro Citra (Astro 131).

Directed by Joyce Lee and James Lee, the drama revolves around the tumultuous friendship between best friends, Isa (Zahiril Adzim) and Musa (Azma Aizal Yusoof), amidst their passion for badminton from the '80s to the '90s.

Set in the idyllic town of Batu Pahat, the series begins with the background event of national badminton heroes, brothers Razif and Jailani Sidek making their mark after successfully beating Scottish pair, Billy Gilliland and Dan Travers at the All England Championship in 1982.

Badminton was chosen as the theme as it is a sport that is close to the hearts of many Malaysians, which can perhaps be called a 'Malaysian pastime'.

The eight-episode series hopes to re-infuse the spirit of nationalism in time for the Thomas Cup in May. The series also aspires to get viewers to go for their dreams while they still have opportunities to do so.

"We hope the series will send a message of patience and instill the spirit of badminton to the younger generation as well, especially teenagers," said Joyce Lee.

A lot of research and training had gone into the making of the series. Lee researched the history of badminton
in Malaysia and looked for settings that depicted the '80s while the cast had to undergo training to learn the correct methods of playing the sport.

"It took us one week to learn the right 'style' of playing the game. We didn’t start on the proper techniques.
The game is not as easy as people think," revealed 25-year-old Zahiril, who plays the serious, responsible Isa in the new series.

Playing his best friend-turned-arch enemy, Azma said he didn't know the history of badminton until he took on the role of Musa.

"Now I know how it feels to play badminton amidst all the pressure," said Azma who spent time with real-life badminton players Ramdan and Syawal (Datuk Misbun Sidek's sons) during the training.

The 27-year-old actor and director of Lagenda Merah Putih on TV3 described Musa as an aggressive man who can only be calmed down by his best friend Isa.

Their friendship changes when Isa begins dating Noraini (Eira Syazira), the prettiest girl in Batu Pahat High School.

After SPM, both Isa and Musa are offered a place in Teachers Training College, albeit in different locations — Isa gets a place in Petaling Jaya, Selangor while Musa goes to Air Hitam, Johor.

"Isa is worried to leave Noraini on her own as she has always been popular with other guys around her. Musa steps in and promises Isa that he would take care of Noraini like his own sister," Zahiril said.

However, things don't go as planned as fate, in the form of temptation, steps in between friendship and love.

Noraini believes Isa has changed his mind and turns to Musa instead, creating a rift between the two young men.

"The role is a challenging one for me, playing the anti-hero," said Azma, on the set of the series at a quaint rest house in Batu Pahat.

While Isa nurses his broken heart after being dumped by Noraini, he puts his energy into being a badminton coach with high hopes for his students to defeat Musa's students at his old school in Batu Pahat.

"The historical scenes are sure to bring a sense of nostalgia to viewers, including aspects of politics, culture and economy and hopefully bring back the spirit of sportsmanship to Malaysians," Zahiril said.

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