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Thursday, June 28, 2012



Credit title as shown in the film
Year of release: 1955 (30 October)
Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes (appx.)


AMRAN, a poor trishaw puller, was booked by Azizah, Orangkaya Marzuki’s daughter, after an incident where Amran helped Azizah from being disturbed by Ghazali (a playboy who was under police watch list) together with his good friend, Borhan.

Orangkaya Marzuki who was stingy, initially disagreed especially when he had to pay rental fixed by Azizah at 40 ringgit but in order to please his only daughter, he gave in and agreed with the rate but only for that month. “Next month we negotiate a new rate”, he said.

Due to his stinginess, Orangkaya Marzuki had a heated argument with a trishaw puller because he wanted to go to Kampung Besi which was far for a small payment of 25 cents whereas the trishaw puller asked for 40 cents - considered a reasonable rate.

The trishaw puller insinuated Orangkaya Marzuki for his stinginess by saying “It would be better for you to walk because it would cost nothing. If not, I give you 30 cents, 5 cents more. I take the seat and you pull the trishaw. Do you agree?”

That insinuating remark inflamed Orangkaya Marzuki’s anger and wanted to hit the trishaw puller with his walking stick but failed and it was thrown into the middle of the road.

The trishaw puller added, “Eh, you stingy fellow. It is easier if you hit the telephone pillar. I am alive, I can fight back.”

When Orangkaya Marzuki wanted to get his walking stick back, a car suddenly hit him and coincidentally it was driven by Ghazali who used to disturb Azizah.

When Ghazali knew that Amran, whose trishaw was booked by Azizah, he tried to scold and insult Amran with harsh words.

When Ghazali invited Azizah to ride in his car to the tailoring school, she said, “I hate you Ghazali. I don’t like you to insult poor people. Just remember, you don’t have the right to scold him.” “Now I have a right. Isn’t it that your father had entrusted you on me?” Ghazali replied. Azizah insinuated,”Ah, you are just overdoing.”

Being a good pretender, Ghazali was able to win over Orangkaya Marzuki and this opportunity was used by Ghazali to split Azizah from Amran. Amran’s relationship with Azizah grew closer. At a meeting by the beach, Azizah confided to Amran, “Amran, do you know where is life’s happiness located?”.

Amran replied,”Actually, you are the one who should know it, Azizah. People like me will not know where happiness lies in life.” “The reason?” Azizah asked. Amran replied,” I’m just a trishaw puller earning a living on people. My life is no different from the wandering animal. Not like you, you live in total luxury”.

Then Azizah said,” Don’t misunderstand Amran, rich or poor, we are all the same. People’s wealth is the world’s filth. Remember Amran, every human being should have a right to happiness.” Azizah told Amran that she would like to meet his mother. Initially Amran was reluctant but on Azizah’s insistance, he brought her to his mother.

Azizah was greatly surprised at the terrible condition in Amran’s home and immediately requested Amran to go to a night school at her expense. Ghazali’s arrogant attitude added to Azizah’s dislike towards him but she could not do anything because Orangkaya Marzuki liked him.

Because of Ghazali’s slander towards Azizah and Amran, Orangkaya Marzuki believed him thus stopping Azizah from continuously riding Amran’s trishaw. To prevent Azizah from continuously meeting Amran, Ghazali proposed to Orangkaya Marzuki that Azizah be married to him and it was agreed by Orangkaya Marzuki because he thought that Ghazali was from a rich and noble family background.

Azizah disagreed and fled from the house and went to Amran’s old house. Ghazali knew where Azizah was heading to and followed her. On arrival at Amran’s old house, a fight broke out between Amran and Ggazali when the knife thrown by Ghazali towards Amran was stuck into Amran’s mother’s body as she tried to defend her son.

Being frightened at his mistake, Ghazali fled to meet Orangkaya Marzuki and asked him to give him 10,000.00 ringgit for him to disappear. However, the stingy Orangkaya Marzuki refused and did not want to collaborate with Ghazali for what he had done to Amran and his mother.

When Orangkaya Marzuki refused to help, Ghazali snatched a dagger hanging from the wall and threatened to kill Orangkaya Marzuki who had to open his safety box and gave him the 10,000.00 ringgit but Ghazali took all the money found in the safety box.

However, as Ghazali was leaving the house, Amran and Azizah arrived. Another fight broke out where Ghazali was finally defeated while Amran fainted. Then only Orangkaya Marzuki was aware of his mistakes and regretted for his attitude of humiliating Amran and his poor mother.

While at Amran’s house he said,”All this while I thought that anything that shines is diamond. Now I have made a mistake, I even mistook glass for diamond.” To pay back all his mistakes towards Amran and his mother, and being grateful to Amran, Orangkaya Marzuki told of his readiness to take Amran as his son-in-law to take care of his wealth and also his daughter - Azizah.

As Amran and Azizah sat beside him, Orangkaya Marzuki said again,” Later, both of you will be married on an auspicious day”.

P.Ramlee as Amran

Sa'adiah as Azizah

Salleh Kamil as Ghazali

P.Ramlee, Sa'adiah and Salleh Kamil

Kemat Hassan, Omar Suwita and Salleh Kamil

Sa'amah and P.Ramlee

Habsah, P.Ramlee, Sa'adiah and Udo Umar


(Sumber: Sha3818)


Even though this was first film P.RAMLEE directed, it cannot be treated as an experiment by the director. If we look and study carefully, the film’s quality was as if it was produced by an experienced director.

Most probably, this happened because P.RAMLEE was involved in the film world for seven years and was guided by B.S. Rajhans in all kinds of film job such as looking after continuity, clap stick, and handling the camera.

His experiences in acting under B.S.Rajhans, L.Krishnan, S.Ramanathan, K.M.Basker and B.N.Rau (Rao), and as assistant director to S. Ramanathan in film “Juwita” and “Ibu” enabled P.RAMLEE to produce this film towards perfection beyond expectation.

With the birth of this film, P.RAMLEE had distanced from the influence of Hindustani and Tamil films often found in Malay films. It can be said that it had become the barrier towards the two influences from creeping into Malay films, though not totally. This can be seen where after this film, many MFP films had become more Malay centred when Jamil Sulong, Omar Rojik and S.Kadarisman were given the opportunity to be directors.

However, P.RAMLEE could not run away from copying some film scenes in which he himself acted. The most clear was when P. RAMLEE was with Sa’amah (as his mother) in an old house. It was taken from the film “Miskin”. Another scene was the quarrel between P.RAMLEE and Salleh Kamil for fighting over Sa’adiah. This was found in “Putus Harapan” where the only thing not there was, Sa’adiah but Rokiah, a trishaw and a car.

In this film, it seems that P.RAMLEE was not able to portray a more demanding role as in “Panggilan Pulau” or “Merana”. Maybe this happened due to his role as a trishaw puller (Amran) who was a gentleman, patient and giving in made his act as he did.

From the beginning until the end, P.RAMLEE’s face looked unhappy in torn old clothes. He was seldom seen laughing. Since his role was like that he could not do better than that. Amran not only gained sympathy from Azizah but also from the audience. P.RAMLEE played his role moderately but convincing.


As the first film directed by P.RAMLEE, it was a success beyond expectation. The issue arising from it is a common occurrence in our society (the Malays) where the rich people look down upon the poor people.

The story plot was consistent, without sub-plot. If there was any, it was when Udo Umar (Orangkaya Marzuki) quarreled with Azizah and the argument between Muhammad Hamid (trishaw puller) and Udo Umar regarding the trishaw fare going to Kampong Besi. Muhammad Hamid charged one ringgit 40 cents, the stingy Udo Umar was only willing to pay 25 cents.

P.RAMLEE was considered successful in choosing actors and actresses. Sa’adiah who was still developing her popularity after starring in “Kerana Kau”, “Iman”, “Kechewa”, “Jasa” and “Insan” suddenly peaked her name after acting in this film and became a strong contender to other popular actresses such as Siput Sarawak, Mariam, Rosnani, Normadiah and Latifah Omar. Her role as Azizah was very convincing.

Salleh Kamil, was also good. In fact Salleh Kamil had acted in many MFP films such as “Istana Impian”, “Siapa Salah?”, “Panggilan Pulau" and “Roh Membela” but was not that impressive. As Ghazali (he hated Amran for saving Azizah from being disturbed) he slandered by informing Orangkaya Marzuki that Azizah was in love with Amran and furthermore, he intended to marry Azizah so that he could control Orangkaya Marzuki’s wealth. Salleh Kamil succeeded in making viewers hate him.

Even though this was his second appearance in a film, Udo Umar (as Orangkaya Marzuki) was also quite good. His only weakness was in his dialogues, just like Osman Gumanti.

The photography techniques managed by R.C.Purushotham was good while the introductory music following the credit line, the emerging SB logo (the music score by P. RAMLEE) was very interesting and had the initial feeling of the film’s grandness.

On the whole, this film was successful and can be considered as one of the best films directed by P.RAMLEE competing with “Semerah Padi”, “Antara Dua Darjat” and “Ibu Mertua Ku”.


* Best Film
* Best Director (P.RAMLEE)
* Best Acress (Sa’adiah)
* Best Supporting Actor (Salleh Kamil)
* Best Song ("Inang Baru", composer & arranger by P.RAMLEE)
* Sponsored by Utusan Film & Sport, Singapore (1955).
* In the selection of Best Actor award, P. RAMLEE who starred in this film lost to S. Roomai Noor who acted in “Kaseh Menumpang” directed by L. Krishnan.
* It is quite interesting that Best Film (“Penarek Becha”) defeated “Kaseh Menumpang”(L.Krishnan) , “Kipas Hikmat” (S.Ramanathan) and “Merana” (B.N.Rao). Previously, P.RAMLEE had acted under the three directors.

"Azizah" sung by P. Ramlee

"Engkau Laksana Bulan" sung by P. Ramlee

"Inang Baru" sung by Saloma

"Dengarlah Sang Ombak Berdesir" sung by Momo & P. Ramlee


There were only 4 songs in this film which were all liked by the listeners:
1. "Inang Baru" (Saloma)
2. "Dengarlah Sang Ombak Berdesir" (P.RAMLEE & Momo)
3. "Engkau laksana Bulan" (P.RAMLEE)
4. "Azizah" (P.RAMLEE)
* Composer & arranger: P.RAMLEE
* Lyrics: Jamil Sulong
* Accompanying music: Fred Libio & Lionel B.Ventura
* "Inang Baru" was a traditional (Asli) Malay song, the most popular song
* Azizah was the first song P. RAMLEE recorded. Even so, its rhythms and lyrics were slightly improvised.


There were two versions as to why P.RAMLEE became a director. Firstly, it was the lobby by Norizan, then P. RAMLEE’s wife. Norizan very strongly convinced Run Run Shaw that P.RAMLEE could become a director if given the opportunity.

This was told personally by Norizan in a column (magazine) "Bintang Bertemu Bintang" (Star Meets Star, UFF 1976) together with M.Shahdan.

She said, “Maybe not many people know that P.RAMLEE’s desire to be a director at MFP studio, Singapore was realised through “Penarek Becha” due to my efforts. When I was married to the Sultan, I was on good terms with Run Run Shaw, and on my request, he agreed to appoint the deceased (P.RAMLEE) as director”.

Secondly, the staff of MFP personally wrote to the MFP top management suggesting that P. RAMLEE be appointed as director.

Looking back at P. RAMLEE’s acting in films from “Chinta” to “Abu Hassan Penchuri”, it was difficult for Run Run Shaw to appoint P. RAMLEE as film director.

His acting was still weak while his work behind the scenes was not that excellent. The only thing was that P. RAMLEE had a very good (melodious) voice (singing), composing and arranging songs with charisma to attract people in droves to the cinemas. Run Run Shaw was not easily pressured.

Therefore, the argument that Norizan could be the determining factor for the MFP boss to accept P. RAMLEE as director was well founded.

“Chinta” started P. RAMLEE’s career as a film actor and “Penarek Becha” started his career as film director. P. RAMLEE was the second Malay to be appointed as director at MFP after Haji Mahadi’s failure to direct “Permata Di-Perlimbahan” which was starred by Maria Menado and Nordin Ahmad.

From the early days, the production of MFP films was monopolised by directors of Indian descent and it was not surprising that most Malay films were based on Tamil and Hindustani film.

When Run Run Shaw agreed to give P.RAMLEE the opportunity to direct a film, he was inundated by Chinese and Tamil films to be copied. During that time, the Malay films produced by MFP and directed by Indian and Filipino directors were based on Chinese, Hindustani, Indian, Japanese, Filipino and Western films.

However, P.RAMLEE could not get suitable stories from the films he viewed and told Run Run Shaw that he wanted to create his own story based on his inspiration from the films he had viwed (especially Chinese films brought into Singapore by the Shaw Brothers). Run Run Shaw agreed and so this film came into being.

Basically, this film was P.RAMLEE’s creation but it cannot be denied that he also copied from any Chinese, Indian or Japanese film based on the trishaw puller theme which at that time in Malaysia (Singapore) was diminishing in numbers. Futhermore, most of the trishaw pullers were of Chinese descent.

Some said, P.RAMLEE have been copying from the Japanese's filem "The Rickshaw Man" (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1943). But not exactly, the story is entirely different. If the film "Insan" (1955) directed by K.M.Basker and starring Omar Rojik, Siput Sarawak and Sa'adiah, it may be right.

Aziz Sattar told, the story of "Penarek Becha" written by P.RAMLEE, but it come from various films including Chinese, Hindustani, Tamil and Japanese.

Even though at the time of its screening this film not only attracted many P. RAMLEE’s fans who had multiplied in numbers, it also succeeded in binging about changes long awaited by the Malay film fans.

Looking from the story’s point, the photography and the rest, it was not inferior compared to the other films previously directed by directors of Indian and Filipino descents and it was not an overstatement to say that it had overcome them on most aspects.

This film was continuously screened at a cinema for 21 days (something which rarely happened to Malay films during that time) and this reflected the level of response it generated.

This film can be considered as the best MFP film and, even though it was P. RAMLEE’s first film, P. RAMLEE had shown his capability better than the more established and experienced directors.

It not only increased P. RAMLEE’s popularity but also Sa’adiah, Salleh Kamil and Udo Umar who were introduced in this film apart from being the pride of the Malays as a whole.

Even though P.RAMLEE (a Malay) was the director, the Tamil and Hindustani elements were still noticeable though much less now. This was because P. RAMLEE often acted under Indian directors like B.S.Rajhans, L.Krishnan, S.Ramanathan, B.N.Rao and K.M.Basker.

Even so, the dances which previously were based on Indian dances (the choreographer was Edith Castillo) but with the emergence of dances and song like "Inang Baru", it had shown the elements of original Malay dance. The "Inang Baru" dance was created by Habsah who also acted in this film.

As P. RAMLEE sang the song "Azizah", it was still with a Tamil environment and when he sang "Engkau Laksana Bulan" it was in a Hindustani environment.

Nevertheless, P.RAMLEE’s success became a strong motivator for the top MFP authorities (Shaw Brothers) to appoint a few more Malay directors such as Jamil Sulong ("Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup” 1959), Omar Rojik (“Sumpah Wanita” 1960), and S. Kadarisman (“Sri Andalas” 1966).

Another interesting thing, apart from getting wide publicity from the Malay newspapers and magazines, it also received coverage from the English magazine (Movie News) owned by Shaw Brothers Sinagpore edition.

Previously, this magazine never really bothered anything about the Malay films produced by the MFP.


* The first film directed by P.RAMLEE.
* The second film Udo Umar acted after “Hang Tuah”. However, this film was distributed earlier than “Hang Tuah”.
* The first film P.RAMLEE acted with Sa’adiah as hero and heroine. Previously they acted but not as hero and heroine in “Juwita”, “Anjoran Nasib” and “Sedarah”.
* It was written in the Malaysian film history where P.RAMLEE acted as a hero to two sisters, Mariam and Sa’adiah. Mariam in (“Anjoran Nasib” and “Abu Hassan Penchuri”) and Sa’adiah in (this film, “Penarek Becha”, “Semerah Padi”, “Sergeant Hassan”, “Musang Berjanggut” and “Antara Dua Darjat”)
* Initially P. RAMLEE wanted to take Daeng Idris to play the role of Orangkaya Marzuki but, because of certain reasons, P.RAMLEE had to take Udo Umar as replacement. However, in his second directed film (“Semerah Padi”), P.RAMLEE succeeded in getting Daeng Idris with the role of Penghulu Semerah Padi with Sa’adiah playing the role of his daughter, Dara.
* While acting in this film she was pregnant. Who was the child she conceived? The truth was, it was not Ogy Ahmad Daud because she was married to the first husband and not yet married to Ahmad Daud.
* Runme Shaw was the producer for P.RAMLEE’s first film, followed by Run Run Shaw for his second film, “Semerah Padi” and Vee Meng Shaw for “Labu Dan Labi”.
* Saloma was the first singer to sing ("Inang Baru") in the film directed by P. RAMLEE, followed by Momo (second singer) who sang a duet with P.RAMLEE singing "Dengarlah Sang Ombak Berdesir".
* Ali Fiji was a stand in for P.RAMLEE.
* Almost all actors and actresses no more with us - P.RAMLEE, Sa'adiah, Salleh Kamil, Udo Umar, Sa'amah, Habsah, Ahmad C., Zainon Fiji, Kemat Hassan and Shariff Dol.

From Anwardi Jamil's Blog
(Anak Wayang, 28 August 2008)

In the recent National Congress on the Entertainment Industry held in Johor Bahru, I had the opportunity to sit in on award winning filmmaker, Adman Salleh’s, presentation.

He began by talking about P.RAMLEE’s first movie "Penarek Becha" made in 1955.

In his paper, he mentioned that the movie was based on and influenced by Lao She’s epic novel "Rickshaw Boy" and that P.RAMLEE was asked to do a Malay version of the novel because MFP’s Chinese management had an underlying agenda of promoting the socialist ideas inherent in the novel.

When I heard this I am a little bewildered because I heard a different version of the story. So, to clear my dusty memory, I asked my father again, what had inspired P.RAMLEE to do "Penarek Becha" as his first movie – was it the management’s desire to translate Lao She’s epic into a Malay movie or was there something else.

I have never read Lao She’s full novel – just excerpts, reviews and criticism. And as far as I know, the story portrayed in that novel is quite different from "Penarek Becha" the movie. That is why I had a hard time to believe that P.RAMLEE was inspired or even read the novel by Lao She.

I am not sure, but somehow I also heard Adman saying that P.RAMLEE watched a movie based Lao She’s novel. That again didn’t ring true.

Lao She’s novel was never made into a movie except in 1982 which was subsequently banned by China’s censors until recently. The movie was immediately considered a classic and a masterpiece – but it was made in 1982. "Penarek Becha" was made in 1956. So that was out of the question.

Now, there was a movie called "The Rickshaw Man" made in 1943. But this was a Japanese movie directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and was remade by the same director in 1958 starring Toshiro Mifune. As far as I know, this movie was not inspired by Lao She’s novel as the storyline and conflicts within the story is vastly different.

The movie (original title "Muhomatsu No Issho") had a more familiar storyline to P.RAMLEE’s "Penarek Becha".

So, I asked my father, what influenced P.RAMLEE – the Chinese novel or the Japanese movie. According to my father, during the Japanese occupation, P.RAMLEE was amongst the thousands of Malay youths in Penang to be educated (can’t use the word indoctrinated) in Japanese culture. During this period, P. RAMLEE viewed many Japanese movies that actually instilled his love for quality movies.

One of the movies that he watched was the 1943 movie "The Rickshaw Man" by Hiroshi Inagaki.

So, according to my father, when P.RAMLEE was asked to direct his first movie, P. RAMLEE went back to his past to find out which story was ideal as he had no original idea yet. He chose "The Rickshaw Man" as his template.

No one forced him to do anything. It was his choice and his decision to make a movie based on Hiroshi Inagaki’s "The Rickshaw Man".

So, Adman’s paper began on a factually inaccurate note. The truth is, "Penarek Becha" did not have a socialist agenda and was not based on Lao She’s novel.


the best film directed by tan sri p. ramlee.


berapa banyakkah yang masih ada?


lebih cantik dibandingkan marilyn monroe.


apabila lagu-lagunya diorkestrakan.


pergi dan hilangnya bersama angin.


anak malaysia pertama jadi produser filem.


  1. I like this "Penarek Becha" article.
    Good work Mr. Mustafar & wife.
    Next movie, please.

    - CECILIA, Woodland, Singapore.