SINGAPORE: It has been more than 12 years since Taufik Batisah became a household name across the country, but the 2004 Singapore Idol winner is still a big feature in the local entertainment scene.
The 35-year-old first made a name for himself as a musician, but is now keen to exercise his acting chops once more.
He will be starring in Mediacorp’s Channel 5 weekly drama series Tanglin from Dec 30, and sees this as an opportunity to grow.
“I like to keep things fresh for the audience so that they look at me in a different light, and they won’t get jaded of hearing me just singing,” he told Channel NewsAsia in an interview. “I want to explore my options and see how it goes.”
The last time Taufik featured in an English TV drama series was when he starred in the 2005 show Shooting Stars, alongside Singapore Idol co-stars Sylvester Sim and Olinda Cho.
While he has made his big screen debut in Malaysian films Soulmate and Dukun Doktor Dani, Taufik is "privileged" for this chance to act in English TV dramas again.
“The beauty of doing a drama is you have the time to develop your character and if you do something badly, you can figure out and you can improve along the way. So today you might have not done so well in the scene, but then you have the space to improve tomorrow, or the next week when you shoot again,” he said.
“But for film, it’s like you’re stuck. You have to do it to deliver, and if you don’t deliver during that time, you’re going to look bad on-screen. The good thing about drama which I like is that I get to practise and hopefully I can develop my acting chops over time."
In Tanglin, Taufik plays Khairul, a charismatic, charming businessman who can be scheming and unscrupulous when it comes to work and love pursuits.
Despite describing Khairul as a “nonchalant douche” who “doesn’t have a filter”, Taufik admits that there are other aspects of his reel life character's behaviour that mirror his.
“In terms of getting work done, I too am a little bit ruthless," Taufik explained. “When it comes to my music and entertainment, I am my harshest critic. Even if someone else thinks the work is good, and I don’t think it is, I will figure things out to improve.”
A familiar face within the cast of Tanglin is seasoned actress Masturah Ahmad, who plays a motherly figure to Taufik in both TV dramas he has been involved in - Tanglin and Shooting Stars. He will also be working alongside Nathaniel Ho, who was a fellow contestant during Singapore Idol.
And Taufik has nothing but praise for his co-stars.
“It’s been great, the cast and production team, they’re all so cool. Very helpful and welcoming. That’s a privilege because they’re already many episodes in and I’m relatively new.”
CONCERT IN THE WORKS?
Besides honing his acting skills, Taufik continues to work on his singing career. Time and schedule permitting, he hopes to organise a concert for his fans in 2017.
In the more immediate future, Taufik will be part of Singapore's largest countdown street party on New Year's Eve, which will be held at Suntec City’s Fountain of Wealth on Dec 31.
Taufik will return to perform in this year's New Year's Eve celebrations. (Photo: Sherlyn Goh)
Taufik will be doing a collaboration with DJ Rave Republic, with whom he plans to do a remix of a song. “It’s going to be a huge party. This is a free concert, the acts are done by familiar faces,” he added.
The party focuses on local talents such as Gentle Bones, Shigga Shay, Tay Kewei and Najib Ali.
“We just want everybody to come down and have fun with us," said Taufik. "I am excited to see how the stage and the setup is gonna be at the fountain itself.”
Taufik's debut appearance on Tanglin will be on Dec 30, at 8.30pm on Channel 5.