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Embracing fatherhood

First-time dad Shah Iskandar speaks about his joy and fears going into this new phase of life

16 Oct 2020 / 09:56 H.

ACTOR Shah Iskandar is playing against type in his latest TV drama Ryan Aralyn, which is currently airing on TV3.

His character Zarul is a nasty piece of work. He abandoned the woman who loved him, after she was involved in a car accident. She had to be confined to a wheelchair, and Zarul refused to accept a paralysed woman as his wife.

In real life, the Singapore-born actor is the total opposite of Zarul, and is always talking about his wife, Siti Sarah, in the most endearing manner. She is a chemist who runs her own beauty spa.

The 28-episode television series Ryan Aralyn is directed by Riza Baharudin and stars Zul Ariffin and Raysha Rizrose as the titular Ryan and Aralyn respectively, and also features Fify Azmi, Sharifah Husna, Kodi Rasheed and Raja Azura.

Besides his new series, Shah is also embarking upon a new chapter in his life: he and his wife welcomed their first child, a boy, on Oct 10 after four years of marriage.

In this interview conducted shortly before the birth of his son, the actor addressed questions about his career and fatherhood.

Shah and Siti are embarking on a new journey as parents. – ASYRAF RASID/THESUN
Shah and Siti are embarking on a new journey as parents. – ASYRAF RASID/THESUN

You are going to be a father. Describe your emotions to us?

“My wife could give birth at any time. I take my wife wherever I go. I want to be the one who drives her to hospital when she has to deliver our baby. I do not want to miss the moment my child enters the world.

“I am nervous and excited about my new role as a father. I am ready to change the dirty diapers and to face the sleepless nights.

“My greatest fear is if I am unable to calm my child when he cries his heart out. For the time being my wife and I have not decided on a name yet.”

Can you describe your own relationship with your father?

“I lost my father when I was 24. He was only 55. He was suffering from lung cancer and at the same time, my mother was battling breast cancer. My mother managed to beat her cancer. But my father did not. It was the darkest period in my life.

“My father was strict. He brought me up with the belt. I do not blame him for beating me. I was a rebellious, naughty kid. The more he beat me, the more rebellious I became.

“One of the sweetest moments between my father and I was when he bought a Batman bag for me when I was seven years old. I remember kissing him [for it].

“One advice he has given me is that family should come first, and that I should always love my wife.”

You will be turning 40 in two years’ time. Some actors are afraid of getting old. Are you in the same boat?

“Some actors have grown old gracefully, like Rahim Razali and Jalaluddin Hassan, and I want to follow in their footsteps. I am not afraid of ageing.

“The only thing I am afraid of is that these days I gain weight far too easily. I have been told that I should take care of my weight. That I should learn to cut my food intake. Cleaning the house is my only gym routine!”

You have taken a diploma in Film Studies. Do you have plans to be a film director?

“If I ever go into directing, I would not direct a film or a television series. I would love to direct an entertainment magazine show like Melodi or a singing reality show like Akademi Fantasia.

“Personally speaking, I would like to go back to doing hosting again. In the early years, when I was starting my entertainment career, I was hosting a handful of shows. Then I stopped and focused on acting. I miss hosting shows.”

You seem to detest social media. Why is that?

“I am not active on social media. I do not like to broadcast every little thing I do. I don’t believe in everything that goes viral.

“But I have to change my perception of social media. I cannot deny its importance.

“You need social media to get job offers and to let your fans get in touch with you. I have lost a lot of fans because I was not active on social media. Social media is important for the growth of my career.”

You have been acting for more than 10 years, do you have a dream role in mind?

“I would love to play a ‘soft’ guy in a realistic manner. Some actors give over-the-top performances as ‘soft’ guys.

“I really admire the way Que Haidar played a ‘soft’ guy in the telefilm Pencipta Pegang Waktu recently. He is my favourite actor.

“My other dream role is to play a guy with autism like Dustin Hoffman in Rainman. When I was younger, I used to teach children with autism. I have observed their behaviour. I believe I can play the role convincingly.”

$!– ASYRAF RASID/THESUN
– ASYRAF RASID/THESUN

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