Dato Jalaluddin Hassan is instantly recognizable, firstly being the face of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and secondly having the velvety sonorous voice apt for commercial and hosting shows. His latest work, “Temuan Takdir” which can be translated into ‘Destined Meeting”, is the gentleman’s latest movie slated to hit the cinema soon. Recently, Top 10 of Malaysia chats up one of the most iconic Malaysians and learns a little something about the affable artist.
Hailing from a big family of 22 siblings, Dato’ Jalaluddin Hassan had always wanted to be a performing artist from a young age. However, his father, a teacher of religious studies, and who had a penchant for singing, did not approve of his third child’s dream. As a young man, Jalaluddin felt that he had failed his father by eschewing studies and dreaming to be an artist. That is why he started acting full time only at the age of 35, when those who started in their early 20s had already established themselves in the industry.
With a smile on his face, Jalaluddin recounted his first screen test at RTM where he had to compete with candidates from all around Malaysia. He says, “It was not as easy as I thought. I couldn’t even project my voice!” As it turned out, the producers saw beyond Jalaluddin’s nervousness and recognized the talent in him; he was called two weeks after the screen test and offered a part!
In an industry which puts premium on good looks and glamour, it is harder perhaps for a more down to earth actor to outshine the rest. While Jalaluddin fully agreed on the importance of outer appearance, he has this to say, “It is important to have passion. It is important to work hard and learn along the way. For the long run, to have substance matters a lot.”
Jalaluddin lights up with passion whenever the topics about multiracial came up. He cites the amazing success of Ola Bola with admiration. “People were talking about Ola Bola for months,” he enthuses.
“If I am only known as an artist by the Malays only, I would feel like I have not done a good job. I really like my works to be watched by Malaysians regardless of race. Acting for audience regardless of race has been the motivation in all my works,” he says, adding that he felt happy when he was spotted out on the street by people of all races thanks to “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.
Jalaluddin says that he is never hesitant to seek the advice of other people, regardless of the person’s age. He regards Zahim Al-Bakry, fellow actor in Temuan Takdir, as his teacher in acting although he is a younger man. He adds that if he were to give a score for himself for his acting, he would only score a humble 50%, although he had acted in more than 40 movies and appeared in scores of other shows.
When asked for his opinion on the local entertainment industry, Jalaluddin says he would love the industry to expand its horizon by embracing a multiracial audience and having an international outlook to learn new lessons.
Jalaluddin remembers the advice from his father which had served him well, “Be sincere, good to people, down to earth and be nice regardless of their race”. And now, he gives the same advice to other people, an advice that is very much needed in this day and age.