BETO KUSYAIRY is a familiar face in the Malay entertainment scene but he’s one of those that doesn’t not only act to entertain but also conveys strong messages to his audience. His involvement in dramas and telemovies such as Geng Surau, Sepuluh, Juvana, Kashaf Imani, Apa Dosaku?, Uri and films like Warkah Terakhir: Rosli Dhoby and most recently Bravo 5, has captivated many hearts with strong and steady performances.
Believe in delivering the best, the passionate actor feels strongly about educating his audience with his characters. The Rakyat Post caught up with the 35-year-old actor who talks about the importance of passion in acting.
Q: How did you get started with the industry?
A: I started right after my SPM, in 1998. I entered UiTM in 2002 and in between of semester breaks, I did some part time work in the production line. I did everything they asked me to do. I was a technical crew, there were times I was involved with the art department and I also became the runner.
When I first met Erma Fatima (producer, director, actress) the Malaysian director, producer and actress, I was hired as her personal chauffer. Sometimes I will be pulled in as an extra whenever the production needed one. I was the guy who wore the Along suit when KRU produced the show in the late 90’s (Along was a mathematics and science educational programme for kids originally produced by RTM during the 80’s).
Q: When did you get to that point of ‘this is what I want to do with my life’?
A: I never really had an ambition in life before. When I was a kid, I thought that I wanted to be a race car driver. But that didn’t last long. I was actually a very shy boy to begin with. I even had problems when it came to public speaking. When I started acting, it somehow became a therapy that helped me break away from isolation. The moment of realisation came to me when I started playing someone else. I found it refreshing and fun! That was when I decided that I wanted to be an actor, to learn and explore more about people’s character and act it out.
Q: What was your breakthrough point?
A: Erma Fatima informally introduced me to acting, but the first person who trusted me with my first leading role was director and producer, Zulfikli M. Osman. There are a few films that I’d consider a breakthrough channel for me, but if I have to choose and name only, it would be Warkah Terakhir: Rosli Dhoby.
Q: How do you identify yourself as an actor?
A: I consider myself to be a serious actor. Fame doesn’t really bother me. When I speak to younger artistes, they’d say that they are looking forward to gaining popularity and brand themselves. I respect their intention but I also can’t help feeling angry. There are so many good actors who are serious and passionate about acting who don’t do this for popularity. I love what I do. I bring audience into my story through the roles I play. I see talent, not face. People can say I am boring and uptight but it doesn’t bother me.
Q: Have you ever found yourself being in a position where you have to play a role that you don’t agree with?
A: Yes I have but I’d still take on the role because I have been tasked to deliver that character. There are stories that need to be told. The character that you are playing is bigger than you and you just need to become it in the eyes of the audience. When you tell stories to the public, the stories are no longer yours. As a responsible actor, it’s always about playing the character right. I was once offered a role as an extreme racists. I hated the role but I had to play it right and it appeared to everyone that I was truly being racists when I am actually not.
Q: In your opinion, are there productions that you would consider to be dull-witted?
A: Sadly, yes they do exist. This is difficult to answer… I am not implying that it is wrong to write and produce fantasy but I do think a little too much of it (simpleminded and less intelligent stories) will lead to a mentally-malnourished society. People believe what they watch on TV and it will eventually become trends. Some who has high discrimination power know what unreal and real but we can’t just ignore a percentage of population who literally adopt things they watch on TV. Having said that, it comes back to the awareness and responsibility of the industry people. Fantasy stories are okay if it has substance and are presented with wisdom.
Q: Do you have an idol that you look up to as reference in this industry?
A: Honestly, I don’t. I don’t have a specific figure who I adore so much. When I play certain characters, I do my best to make it look natural. Viewers should be able to relate to me and have an original idea of what the story is all about. To do this, I can’t emulate what others have done or make them a reference point. To me, staying true to oneself is always preferable than having an idol to influence the way you act or deliver your stories.