Actor Aiman Hakim likes to try his hand at new things – literally.
Once, he was visiting a shopping mall in the United States when he spotted an impressive domino line. It had taken about a month for the organisers to set up the long line of dominoes which spanned three stories high.
Aiman, who was 13 then, says he always had a penchant for feeling objects with interesting textures.
“I didn’t want to push the dominoes, I just wanted to touch one of the pieces. I wanted to know how its surface felt,” the now 27-year-old actor recalls in an interview with Star2 at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya.
“I touched it and the domino pieces fell, like all three stories of it.”
The incident cost him (or rather, his parents) a US$3,000 fine.
While it has definitely gotten him into trouble before, perhaps it is this same sense of curiosity that led Aiman to dabble in a number of diverse career fields.
“It all started at the neighbourhood field,” he shares the beginnings of his football career. “I was five, I was too young, I couldn’t play. So I started out as a ball picker for the older teens. Then one day, they asked me to play.”
Before he knew it, he was part of the school team and made it to the district, state and national level, even competing internationally in numerous football youth championships.
Unfortunately, a leg injury brought Aiman’s football dreams to a halt.
“I had to decide whether I wanted to study or play football. During that time, football wasn’t really paying well. So I thought why don’t I study first while waiting for my leg to heal, and then play football.”
Aiman pursued an accounting degree at a private institution. “I love numbers. That was the only thing I was good at in school,” he offers, before cheekily adding, “I was good at History but I wrote my own (version of) history.”
While studying, Aiman modelled and acted in commercials in his free time. On a resume he submitted to a talent agency, he included singing as one of his hobbies. Little did he know, the talent agency was managed by the wife of popular 1980s rock singer Rahim Maarof.
He was encouraged to audition for the fifth season of reality singing competition Mentor. Aiman, who always had a passion for music, decided to give it a shot and was chosen to become Rahim’s protege.
Aiman, who didn’t make it through to the show’s finals, reveals he had a challenging time on the show as his musical style couldn’t quite fit into the show’s mould.
“Still, it was a good learning process. I learned a lot. And at least, I got the chance to feel what it was like to be on stage,” he says.
After his stint on Mentor in 2011, Aiman got a call from director Erma Fatima, asking if he wanted to be a part of her upcoming drama.
“I thought why not? So I acted in my first drama and she told me how I could improve. From then on, other productions started to take me on and then I got offered the lead role in Vanila Coklat.”
Aiman’s showbiz career took off through this TV3 drama; his popularity cemented when he won Best New Artiste at the Anugerah Bintang Popular Bintang Harian in 2013.
Since then, Aiman has settled down comfortably in acting with lead roles in Diandra, Projek Memikat Suami, Selamat Pengantin Madu and Sesal Separuh Nyawa to name a few.
The actor currently stars in Demi Cinta Ain, which he says is more than just a love story. “What happens when the economy is down? What happens to you? To your family? To the society?” he shares the drama’s themes.
In the series, IT graduate Alif (Aiman) can’t get a job due to the bad economy and resorts to purchasing a lorry to run a transportation business. The business doesn’t quite take off, and pressured by the pile up of his wife’s medical bills (she was recently diagnosed with cancer), he is forced to commit robbery, landing him in prison.
Aiman admits playing the role was quite a challenge, shaving his head to get a better understanding of the character put behind bars.
Next up, the actor will be making his film debut with Kimchi Untuk Awak, a romantic comedy which sees more than half of its production shot in South Korea. Directed by Michael Ang, Aiman plays part-Korean, part-Malay Daniel Lee.
Slated for release early next year, filming is currently underway. The actor shares his experience on the film set so far.
“Because the screen is so big, you have to act ‘smaller’ or softer compared to TV,” he says of the subtle differences between acting on film and TV.
Another difference is film’s greater attention to the details.“For example, if you just lift up a hand in one shot, your hand must remain at the exact height for the next few shots. You may be able to get away with things like that on TV but not on film.”
Viewers will also be seeing Aiman in a horror film, directed by Ombak Rindu’s Osman Ali, where he plays an orang bunian (bogeyman) who gets its strength from kidnapping and killing women.
While he has left his football dreams behind (he plays football as a hobby now), he wants to venture into music again in the future.
“I miss singing a lot, I want to make a comeback,” he says. Aiman has written a few songs and hopes to record them. He even has plans to build a studio and hire a team.
“Even as a kid, I realised I like to do a lot of things like football and singing. This boils down to just wanting to show more of myself,” he talks about becoming a multi-hyphenate artiste. The handsome Aiman is also the face of a skincare brand.
“My idol is P. Ramlee. He can sing, act, write, compose and play lots of instruments. I want to become like him, but in my own way.”
Demi Cinta Ain airs Mondays to Wednesdays at 10pm on TV3.