Hosts Raja Azura (right) and Fauziah ‘Ogy’ Ahmad Daud.
The witty hosts and delightful performances by the artistes of Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian overshadow the surprises in certain award categories, writes DENNIS CHUA.
M. Nasir won the Special Lifetime Achievement Award.
HAVING seen pop phenomenon Asmawi “Mawi” Ani win Most Popular Artiste award ever since he became a celebrity, followers of the annual Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (ABPBH) in Genting Highlands could be forgiven for calling this year’s results a foregone conclusion.
True, Mawi bagged the above title for the third consecutive year, and won himself an RM185,000 Peugeot 407 and RM150,000-worth of jewellery from Habib Jewels, among others.
Garnering 119,268 votes from Berita Harian readers to win the grand prize, he also defended his Popular Male Artiste title which he first clinched two years ago.
But ABPBH 2007 did not revolve monotonously around the most famous resident of Felda Taib Andak in Kulai, Johor Baru, as it did in the past two years.
Just like the recent general elections, ABPBH 2007 also saw several “upsets”.
Linda Onn of Era FM ended her six-year reign as Popular Female Radio Presenter, vanquished by her chatty former protege Fara Fauzana who migrated to Hot FM two years ago.
Melodi host Fara, who also defended her Popular Female TV Host title for the third year, paid tribute to Linda as a great mentor who “showed her the ropes” during her days in Era.
Fara’s Hot FM colleague Faizal Ismail, won the Popular Male Radio Presenter, replacing Linda’s former colleague Halim Othman, who decided to take a break from showbusiness last year.
Another surprise departure was cinema’s leading man Rosyam Nor, and top funnyman, Saiful Apek, who were deprived of the Popular Film Actor award by newcomer Rusdi Ramli, best known for his convincing role as the long-suffering softie in the film Waris Jari Hantu.
Popular actress Fasha Sandha, who won Popular Film and TV Actress last year, failed to defend her small screen title, and lost it to her fellow northerner Dynas Mokhtar. Rosyam retained the Popular TV Actor award he dominated since 2004.
Berita Harian readers remained fiercely loyal to pop queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, nasyid kings Rabbani, “king of comedy” Saiful, “queen of comedy” Sheila Rusly and the irrepressible former “Mr Akademi Fantasia”, Aznil Nawawi.
Siti continued to reign in the Popular Female Artiste category, marking her 12th year on its “throne”, while Saiful and Sheila celebrated five years as Popular Male and Female Comedian, respectively.
The zany Aznil also celebrated five years as Popular Male Television Host, largely due to his sterling performance as the face of Malaysia’s No.1 reality talent show.
And Rabbani defended its Popular Nasyid Group title for the seventh year.
Akademi Fantasia 5 (AF5) champion Nor Syarmilla (Mila) Jirin won Most Popular Female Newcomer while her close pal and fellow AF5 graduate, Gadaffi (Dafi) Ismail won Most Popular Male Newcomer.
The cutesy duo recently lent their voices to the Bahasa Malaysia voiceover for Disney’s High School Musical 2 on Astro, playing the part of lovebirds Gabrielle and Troy respectively.
Only one award for outstanding veterans of screen and song was dished out this year and it went to “sifu” M. Nasir.
The Singapore-born composer, songwriter, actor, director and singer, who was behind the success of Mawi and many other award winners or nominees over the years, received the Special Lifetime Achievement Award.
Thanking his loved ones, fans, the media and collaborators, Nasir paid special tribute to his late friend Rosli Khamis, better known as Loloq, and received a standing ovation from the crowd gathered in the Arena of Stars.
Loloq, who penned the soulful, philosophical lyrics of most of Nasir’s hit songs, died after a long illness early this year.
The award ceremony, telecast “live” by TV3 at 9pm, was hosted once again by Raja Azura and Fauziah Ahmad Daud, or Ogy.
The duo kept the audience in stitches throughout the evening with their sassy, motor-mouthed brand of comedy which, among others, saw them spoof single, desperate women and gossipy housewives.
And as in the previous year, Azura and Ogy also enlightened viewers with interesting trivia on the awards, such as the fact that Ogy’s late father Datuk Ahmad Daud hosted the first award in 1997.
Viewers at the Arena were given additional entertainment during advertisement breaks courtesy of funnymen Zul Yahya and newly-crowned “Raja Lawak” Ahmad Nabil.
However, their jokes paled in comparison to those cracked by the naturally funny Yasin Yahya last year.
Siti led the performers for the evening with Ku Mahu, the catchy, Latin-sounding theme song for TV3 mini series Spa-Q.
Sterling performances were subsequently delivered by P. Ramlee — The Musical star, Liza Hanim, who sang Merawat Luka (the theme song from Fasha’s TV series Natasya), Bob Usop (Jangan Bersedih Lagi), Anuar Zain (Ketulusan Hati) and Raja Atilia (Mungkin).
Vocal powerhouse and heartthrob Anuar was easily the crowd-puller, who belted out his spell-binding hit song to roaring applause.
Ning Baizura, dressed in black and white and accompanied by masked men, got the crowd dancing to her environmentalist hit, Age Of Pollution, while actor Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan surprised and impressed many by singing Antonio Banderas’ hit song Beautiful Maria.
The suave host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? had “back-up dancers” in the form of winning actresses Fasha and Dynas, and newcomer Fouziah Ghous.
Up-and-coming rockers Meet Uncle Hussain also wowed the crowd with their catchy hit Lagu Untuk Mu.
Mawi performed his latest duet Doa Dalam Lagu with AF5 finalist Heliza Helmi of Terengganu. Sadly, it failed to sizzle due to the lack of chemistry between them.
The one performance which really moved the crowd was an otai (old-timers) tribute to Nasir by rockers Ella, Awie, Hattan, Amy and Ramli Sarip. The respected quintet dedicated a heartfelt Kepada Mu Kekasih to the iconic maestro.
Nasir’s acceptance speech was as moving as the tribute song.
He said: “My journey has not finished and I still have a long walk. But I’ll always remember the many wonderful souls who have inspired me along the way.”
Mawi also took the opportunity to announce that he was going steady with actress Ikin Rahmat, after a year of denying rumours that they were an item.
He said their friendship recently “graduated” into romance, but added that it was “too early” to declare her as his life partner.
Most Popular Artiste: Mawi.
Most Popular Male Singer: Mawi.
Most Popular Female Singer: Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.
Most Popular Duo/Group: Sofaz.
Most Popular Nasyid Group: Rabbani.
Most Popular Film Actor: Rusdi Ramli.
Most Popular Film Actress: Fasha Sandha.
Most Popular TV Actor: Rosyam Nor.
Most Popular TV Actress: Dynas Mokhtar.
Most Popular Male Comedian: Saiful Apek.
Most Popular Female Comedienne: Sheila Rusly.
Most Popular Male Newcomer: Dafi Ismail.
Most Popular Female Newcomer: Mila Jirin.
Most Popular Male TV Host: Aznil Nawawi.
Most Popular Female TV Host: Fara Fauzana.
Most Popular Male Radio Presenter: Faizal Ismail.
Most Popular Female Radio Presenter: Fara Fauzana.
Special Lifetime Achievement Award: M. Nasir.
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