The years certainly have been kind to this former leading actress
By Bissme S. | 05 Feb. 2010
Source of article here.
IN HER heyday, Sarimah Ahmad mesmerised movie-goers with her ravishing looks, hour-glass figure and ‘good girl’ image. Now, the veteran actress stills looks attractive and can give women much younger than her a run for their money.
And, to think that it was never her intention to be part of the glitz and glamour of the cine world. “I never wanted to be an actress,” recalls Sarimah at a press conference to announce her one-day beauty seminar entitled Sehari Bersama Datuk Sarimah at Hotel Royale Bintang in Mutiara Damansara on Feb 27.
This mother of six and grandmother of 31 says her original ambition was to become a doctor. But being a sickly child and having to miss school often put paid to her ambition of taking up medicine.
“The doctors were unable to find out what was really wrong with me. I suffered from a mysterious sickness.”
Being home most of the time and feeling bored and restless, the young Sarimah decided to try her hand at acting and sent her pictures to film studios.
“Actually, I didn’t really expect the film studios to call me for an audition.But the truth was they sent me many telegrams but my family hid them from me as they didn’t want me to be an actress.”
But as fate would have it, one telegram somehow found its way into her hands and she has not looked back since. The person who auditioned her was no less than the late legendary actor/director Tan Sri P. Ramlee.
Sarimah was 17 then, and married with a child. Nevertheless, the pretty lass was given a pivotal role in the Ramlee-directed Ali Baba Bujang Lapok in 1961.
Almost immediately she shot to stardom. Later, when her marriage collapsed, she became more serious about acting as it was her main source of income.
Her other notable movies include Doktor Rusdi, Raja Bersiong, Batu Durhaka and Ibu Mertuaku.
In the 80s, she tried her hand at producing films such as Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan, Dia Ibuku and Detik 12 Malam.
In1982, she sat on the director’s chair for the first time and co-directed Kabus Tengahari with veteran director S. Sudarmaji.
She is pleased that her old black-and-white movies are still being screened on television as it has enabled the younger generation to appreciate her films.
“Often, people think I’m rich because my movies are screened repeatedly. They think I must be getting some royalty. But this is not the case.
“Singers get royalty payments when their songs get played. But actors do not.
“What’s the point of calling me a legend when I’m not being given what I deserve?”
When asked how she maintains her youthful looks, she says there is no short cuts in preserving one’s beauty and health.
“Since the time I was young, I’ve been taking precautions to preserve God’s gift to me.”
Of course, she has heard the rumours that she uses susuk (a form of black magic) to maintain her beauty.
“When I first heard the rumour, I was hurt. But I don’t care. People can say what they want. I believe God gives everyone some kind of beauty and it is our duty to preserve this gift and remain healthy and strong.”
But she admits that her beauty had its disadvantages, particularly in her role as a suffering farmer’s wife in Ranjau Sepanjang Jalan. One film critic commented that she did not look the part at all as she wore false eyelashes.
“But my lashes were natural!” she exclaims . “It was one of the hardest role I played in my career. I remember my legs were covered with leeches and I had to suffer under the hot sun. I fell sick many times on the set.”
Sarimah has never encouraged her children to follow in her footsteps. “Life as an artiste is difficult,” she reasons. “I wanted my children to have a better future.”
But she could not stop her son M. Jamil from dabbling in films, first as an actor and later as a director.
She says she sent him to the United States to study business administration. “During his summer breaks, without my knowledge, he took up courses in filmmaking. It was difficult to stop him.”
Last year, she made a cameo appearance in her son Jamil’s movie Momok the Movie.
But for the time being, Sarimah has no desire to make a comeback to the big screen unless she is offered a meaty role “and the script has strong religious messages”.
For more on Sarimah’s beauty seminar, call Syed Mahadi at 016-2862 156.