The Jakarta Post
Her cute face lures moviegoers to catch a glimpse of her at the cinema and her beautiful voice has won her multiple platinum awards. Now she returns with another love story.
When you mention the name Jelita Septriasa, it may not ring a bell. But if you refer to her as Acha Septriasa, you’ll get a knowing look.
Around five years ago, she suddenly rose to fame and her face was splashed across many teen magazines and tabloids while her voice was heard on radio stations across the country.
Back in 2006, teenagers were willing to line up in front of ticket boxes at theaters to watch her love flick Heart, directed by Hanny R. Saputra and also starring young actor Irwansyah and actress Nirina Zubir.
The film centers around a love triangle involving energetic tomboy Rachael ( Nirina ), Rachael’s handsome best friend Farrel ( Irwansyah ) and Lunna ( Acha ), a lovely stranger with whom Farrel falls in love.
Heart was Acha’s second movie after her supporting role in teen flick Apa Artinya Cinta? ( What’s the Meaning of Love? ), opposite then hot onscreen couple Shandy Aulia and Samuel Rizal.
The original motion picture soundtrack of Heart, produced by prominent musician couple Melly Goeslaw and Anto Hoed, soon became a favorite among teens and sold like hot cakes.
Acha’s fresh cute face, which lured moviegoers to catch a glimpse of her performance at the cinema, along with her duet with Irwansyah really put her in the spotlight.
The fact that Acha and Irwan were a real off-screen couple at the time heightened the enthusiasm as many TV reporters and journalists tried to air and pen their love story.
“We never imagined that Heart would be such a huge hit. It was beyond our expectations. We gave it our best shot,” Acha told The Jakarta Post.
“It was a phenomenal flick. People in Malaysia, China, Korea and Australia even recognized me because of the film,” she said, adding that she received six platinum awards in Malaysia.
Her popularity soared further when Acha teamed up again with Irwan in another teen flick — Love is Cinta ( Love is Love ), also directed by Hanny R. Saputra – a year later and did a duet for the film’s sound track.
For her performance in the film, Acha was also nominated best leading actress at the 2007 Indonesia Film Festival.
Today, four years after the films’ successes, Acha and Irwan get together in the latest romance Love Story, which is the last part of the Heart trilogy.
Just like its predecessors, Love Story, which is inspired by the traditional tale of Joko Angin-angin and Dewi Bulan, centers around forbidden love between two people — Ranti ( Acha ) and Galih ( Irwansyah ) — who live in two different villages separated by a river.
The two share a similar dream: setting up a school in the area. But they are forbidden to continue their relationship as the villagers believe it could only lead to disaster.
“The film shows the strength of their love and their struggle in making their dream come true while attempting to develop their villages,” Acha says.
The situation today, however, is much different from five years ago as Acha and Irwan are no longer a celebrity couple.
Acha divides her time between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta as she is studying mass communication at Limkokwing University in Malaysia, while Irwan is married to singer-actress Zaskia Sungkar, the daughter of veteran actor Mark Sungkar.
How does it feel to star in a movie with an ex-boyfriend?
“It feels a bit awkward, but it’s fun. It’s great that I can reunite with him in this movie because it had been such a long time since were last in a movie together, about three years ago,” Acha says.
“This is a combination that, I believe, has been anticipated by our fans for a long time.”
They may not be a couple in real life, but Acha said that everything remained professional during shooting.
“When we were doing Love Story, we had to put aside our feelings and be fully responsible for the project.”
In considering an acting job, Acha said she always took a look at the script, director, co-stars and, of course, the payment before accepting an offer.
“The reason I wanted to take on Love Story is because I’m familiar with Mas Hanny, who directed me in my four
previous films. Besides, it is part of the Heart trilogy,” said Acha, who eventually wants to direct films.
Acha expressed optimism that her latest movie would enjoy the same success as its predecessors.
“We want to fulfill the wishes of moviegoers in Indonesia who might be longing to watch a romantic drama, which is now rarely found in local cinema.”
Apart from the Heart trilogy, Acha has played in other movies like Love, In the Name of Love, Krazy Crazy Krezy, Sst... Jadikan Aku Simpanan ( Psst...Make Me Your Mistress ) and Menebus Impian ( Catching Up On Dreams ).
Even though she now studies abroad, Acha regularly comes home to keep her name alive in the entertainment industry.
The 21 year old, who launched her career as a model in the Gadis Sampul beauty pageant organized by teen magazine Gadis, has just finished filming a movie trailer for her upcoming project, which also stars Titi Sjuman, Mariana Renata and Dian Sastrowardoyo.
“I’m so honored to be in the same project as those actresses. It is a great opportunity to explore my acting skills,” she said before cutting short details of the new project, in which filming will start after she finishes her studies in November this year.
Currently, her studies are her priority and she has no plans to release a solo album in the near future.
“It really requires full concentration to make an album. It takes about five to six months to record a solo album. And that does not include the album’s promotion. So, it’s hard for me to do that while I’m studying overseas,” says Acha.
She admitted that she really missed singing.
“Sometimes I accept an offer to sing during my free time,” she said. “[But] I must concentrate on my studies because this is my last year in university. Keep your fingers crossed for me.”
To be part of the entertainment world is not Acha’s one and only goal in life. She also dreams of setting up her own businesses.
“I want to have a beauty salon because I like makeup. I like putting on my own makeup and applying makeup on my friends. I’ve also learned that friends who run beauty salons can survive through this business,” she says.
“I also hope to one day own a restaurant. I’m inspired by my father, who can cook a variety of dishes, from Indonesian to Western and Mediterranean.”
She is also busy paying extra attention to her hair and beauty regiment as part of her new role as brand ambassador for Matrix hair dye.
“I cannot appear in public with messy hair. I have to be prepared and look good all the time,” Acha says.
The actress, who goes to beauty salon twice a week for hair and beauty treatments, admits to going through a bad hair experience.
“I dyed my hair blonde two years ago out of curiosity. I saw models and celebrities in magazines and the Internet looking great with blonde hair,” she says.
“It was a bad decision, though. My hair became very dry since it was bleached, and I ended up feeling embarrassed whenever I was on campus because I felt like a weirdo.”
The blonde hair only lasted for about two months.
Now, she does not want to repeat the same mistake, preferring brownish hues like brown light or chestnut shades that fit her girl-next-door character.
“The point, is I need to choose hair colors that are suitable for my profession as an actress.”