Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sophan Sophiaan - Indonesia’s King Of The Screen

Sophan Sophiaan, Indonesia’s King Of The Screen, is no more.

The 64-year-old actor who has been compared with India’s Amitabh Bachchan and Britain’s Sir Sean Connery, died in a road accident yesterday while participating in a high-powered motorcycle procession around the island of Java.

The 270-member procession comprising Harley Davidson bikers from around the republic set off from the capital Jakarta last April 12 and was scheduled to return on May 20.

In the accident, Sophan was crushed by his Harley when it landed in a hole on the road at the Central Java town of Ngawi near Jogjakarta. He died at a local hospital of chest injuries.

The procession was part of year-long celebrations to mark 100 years of the Indonesian independence movement.

Born on April 26, 1944 in Makassar, Sulawesi, Sophan was the son of prominent politician and former Indonesian ambassador to Russia Manai Sophiaan.

He began his acting career in 1971 and appeared in more than 30 films. He also directed more than 20 films.

Sophian’s last film was Love, screened in 2008, as an adaptation of the 2006 Malaysian film Cinta. He played a grandfather stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease who was cared for by a widowed coffee shop proprietor played by his real-life wife, veteran Indonesian actress Widyawati.

Sophan was also a member of the Indonesian Parliament and a dear friend of former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Sophian is survived by his wife and 2 children.