One of the hottest actors lately in Indonesia has been Oka Antara. He is Balinese, but was born in Jakarta 30 years ago. Oka’s film debut was in 2006 with Gue Kapok Jatuh Cinta.
He gained widespread acclaim in the hit film Ayat-Ayat Cinta (2008), for which he garnered a nomination as Best Supporting Actor during the Indonesian Film Festival.
On Sang Penari, he tells us that it has piqued his interest in history. “This movie made me promise myself to learn more about this country. Acting in it made me ‘live in’ the dark past of Indonesia. When I was done shooting, I said, ‘I never want to play in this kind of movie again. You guys tricked me into this!’” he says with a chuckle.
Nonetheless, the film has generated awards buzz and good box-office numbers, the latter of which Oka is more proud of. “I think a movie is successful if a lot of people go to see it. What good is a movie if no one watches it? I’m much happier if we have a million viewers. In the end, movies are made to be watched, not to get some kind of award.”
Photograph: Christina Phan
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