Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kuswadinata - Malaysia's Burt Lancaster

Kuswadinata aka Kuswa Bujang, a highly respected veteran actor passed away after a long illness on Feb 16, 2013 aged 74.

He leaves behind a wife Kamariah Said, 57 and four children aged 23-27.

Kuswadinata's square-jawed, ruggedly handsome appearance earned him the label Malaysia's Burt Lancaster. And not unlike Lancaster, he excelled in playing ruthless villains.

Born in Singapore with roots in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan, and Pontianak, Dutch Borneo (now part of Indonesia), Kuswadinata derived his stage name from a combination of his Banjarese maternal uncle, Nata, and his given Minangkabau name, Kuswadi.
Kuswadinata was discovered by filmmaker Tan Sri L. Krishnan in 1957. He first appeared in Malay Film Productions' Orang Licin, shot at Jalan Ampas Studio in Singapore. In the film, he played a baddie, with the late Datuk S. Roomai Noor (the father of singer Anita Sarawak) as the hero.
Kuswadinata excelled in baddie roles over the years, and his best-known despicable villain role was that of Datin Saadiah Baharom's vicious elder brother in Antara Dua Darjat.
He also appeared in comedies such as Seniman Bujang Lapok with Tan Sri P. Ramlee in 1961.
He starred in foreign films, too, such as Little Adventure, Pretty Girls and Beyond Rangoon.
His notable Malaysian films from the 1970s to 2000s were KLU, Kaki Bakar, Tarik-Tarik, Sikit Punya Gila, Jejak Bertapak, Kaca Permata, Aku Mahu Hidup and Jalang. In recent years, he starred in Mamat Khalid's ground-breaking film noir Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang as a doctor.
He was nominated for Best Actor in the Second Malaysian Film Festival in 1981, for the film Serampang Tiga. But he lost to Datuk Rahim Razali, who starred in and directed the film Abang.
In 2007, Kuswadinata was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Malaysian Film Festival.

Until his final year, he remained active in TV movies and readily shared his knowledge with newcomers, including multi-talented directors Rosyam Nor and Syamsul Yusof.