The Jakarta Post
Based on a classic novel of the same name, the "Siti Nurbaya" TV series is hoped to inspire the Indonesian public to enjoy local literature, with the show expected to air at the end of this year. (Shutterstock/File)
Marah Rusli's classic novel Siti Nurbaya is set to grace the small screen, as state-owned publisher Balai Pustaka and television station TVRI get working on a modern adaptation with the aim of reintroducing the tale about arranged marriage to millennials.
Speaking during the inauguration of the Istana Peradaban (Palace of Civilization) at Balai Pustaka's headquarters in Jakarta earlier this week, the publishing company's president director Achmad Fachrodji said both parties were still discussing story ideas in order to suit today's audience, which he said was dominated by millennials.
"We hope viewers will be able to tune into TVRI to watch the Siti Nurbaya sinetron [local television series] and make it the number one most popular sinetron in Indonesia. We have started discussing stories that are relatable to today," Achmad said.
He added that the plan to air the Siti Nurbaya sinetron was hoped to inspire the Indonesian public to enjoy local literature, with the show expected to air at the end of this year.
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TVRI's president director Helmy Yahya said retelling the Siti Nurbaya story was a challenge in itself, noting that it would be important for the show to be able to sustain interest.
"The challenge is how to package it because our generation is easily bored. The problem is how to link this literary work with the millennial generation," Helmy said.
On the other hand, he further noted that the screening of the show could be educational, exposing a classic piece of literature that was especially popular in the 1960s.
First published in 1922 by Balai Pustaka, Siti Nurbaya is set in Padang, West Sumatra, in the same year, prior to Indonesia's independence from Dutch rule.
The novel tells the complex story of young loves Samsul Bahri and Siti Nurbaya, who had to separate when Samsul had to leave to Batavia for his studies. With her father in debt, Siti Nurbaya was then forced to marry Datuk Maringgih, a womanizer and bloodsucking usurer.
The book had previously been made into a sinetron in 1991, directed by Dedi Setiadi and starring Novia Kolopaking as Siti Nurbaya, Gusti Randa as Samsul Bahri and HIM Damsyik as Datuk Maringgih. (liz/wng)