Singer Taufik Batisah couldn’t figure out why Sabri Yunus cast him as the lead in Dukun Doktor Dani.
“I was scared to ask him initially. I told myself to find out when we do the press interviews for the movie,” he said.
The veteran actor-director who is famed for notable television drama series like Sanggul Berdarah (Anugerah Skrin 2011 winner for Best Drama), Sorok Bau Budu and Parut Asyikin confessed that he is not a fan of Taufik’s most popular hit song #AwakKatMane.
“I don’t think it’s meant for someone my age,” Sabri, 54, said.
In Dukun Doktor Dani, 34-year-old Taufik plays the titular character. After losing a patient during an operation, an emotionally-distressed Dani quits the medical profession and retreats to his hometown. Then he meets Sudin (played by Sabri), a traditional medicine practitioner and decides to work with him.
However, the other village folks start accusing Dani of exploiting Sudin’s reputation in hopes of establishing his own medical practice in the kampung. Thus begins Dani’s struggle to change the negative perception surrounding him. The comedy-drama also stars Fasha Sandha, Khatijah Tan and Amerul Affendi.
Sabri shared that he had the idea for Dukun Doktor Dani 30 years ago. He described it as an old story inspired by lives of those in the kampung. Despite his light-hearted approach, the movie bears a serious message about accountability.
“It’s basically about someone who is so disappointed by his own failures that he stops offering his service or gift. He thinks by doing so, he can prevent more deaths. But he ends up ‘killing’ more people especially his own mother,” he said.
Dani has a close relationship with his mother (Mak Siti played by Khatijah) which is something that Taufik could easily relate to.
“I’m a mummy’s boy in real life. I know what it’s like to be someone who is scared to let their loved ones down.”
Previously, the Singapore Idol winner has acted in telemovie Demi Adriana and stage musical Fried Rice Paradise. With Dukun Doktor Dani as his feature film debut, Taufik said he felt nervous about stepping into a leading role. He even got some advice from wife Sheena Akbal.
“She was excited and nervous for me at the same time. I think she knows that I’m very critical of myself. She told me to not be shy about asking for help. She also reminded me to rehearse and be well-prepared with my lines,” he said.
Taufik is ready to face any criticism about his performance in Dukun Doktor Dani. After all, he did get his start on a reality singing competition where he was judged on a weekly basis.
“I’m ready. After 12 years in the entertainment industry. I learned that criticism comes with the job. I can’t please everyone. I’m willing to accept any feedback and apply it to my next project, whether it’s in acting or music.”
If Taufik is looking for a believer, he doesn’t have to look further than Sabri. Sabri said he first noticed Taufik as a judge in popular comedy talent show Maharaja Mega Lawak in 2014.
“I saw how he was very smart at giving comments to the contestants. He seemed to know what he was talking about especially when it came to comedy.
“I felt that is a much-needed quality in an actor. He has the knowledge and I want to help him develop that into talent,” he revealed.
Dukun Doktor Dani is currently showing at cinemas nationwide.