Actress Acha Septriasa has every right in the world to have nothing but giddy smiles these days, fresh on the heels of her Best Actress win at this year’s Indonesian Film Festival (FFI), held at the Vredeburg Fortress in Yogyakarta last Saturday.
For many local film fans, the victory came as no surprise, as Acha beat acting heavyweights Atiqah Hasiholan and Jajang C. Noer, who were nominated for their roles in Hello Goodbye and Mata Tertutup (Eyes Closed),
Acha won the award for her role as a stressed wife facing the possibility of infertility and her husband’s infidelity in Monty Tiwa’s Test Pack: You’re My Baby, which also features rising thespian Reza Rahardian.
It was only her second FFI nomination and her first ever win in the annual film awards. She was previously nominated as Best Actress at the FFI 2007 for her role in Hanny R. Saputra’s film Love is Cinta (Love is Love), which also starred Raffi Ahmad and her then-boyfriend, Irwansyah.
During a short interview with The Jakarta Post at her home in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Thursday night, she revealed that winning the award was a dream come true and something that reaffirmed her love for acting.
“Holding the Citra statue was something that I had always dreamt of doing since I started acting,” said the 23-year-old actress, referring to the nickname for the FFI awards.
“Well, to be honest, winning a Citra was never my goal [in acting]. However, as time went by and I got to act in more films, I began to hope I’d be recognized [for my acting abilities] on the national stage.”
For her, the Best Actress win served as that recognition.
“It feels like all the exhaustion, difficulties and challenges I’ve had to face on shooting locations are worth it. It makes me love acting even more,” she said.
Born Jelita Septriasa in Jakarta in September 1989, Acha describes herself as someone who “has always loved performing in front of people”. Her first love, though, was singing rather than acting.
When she was still a toddler, her family often urged her to sing in front of everyone during family gatherings.
It was during her first and second grades at the Muhammadiyah 06 elementary school in Tebet, South Jakarta that Acha began to fall in love with poetry recitations.
“My grandmother, who was an Indonesian language teacher, often encouraged me to participate in poetry-reading contests, which taught me to be brave enough to get up on stage and really delve into the texts,” she said.
Over the years, Acha kept on winning such competitions, beginning from a district level right up to national competitions.
“All in all, I have 37 trophies just from poetry-reading contests,” she said.
Then, when she was 14, she competed in the Gadis Sampul beauty pageant, which ultimately launched her career as a model.
A huge fan of Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal, Acha said that when she was a little girl, she never dreamt of becoming an actress.
However, she has always loved watching movies, as her father is “a huge film fan who knows the names of all the actors and actresses in the world”.
“I love watching films, although it was not because of the writing. I love them for the performances,” she said.
In 2005, she tried her luck in getting into professional acting by auditioning for a role in the romance Apa Artinya Cinta? (What is the Meaning of Love?). She ended up snatching a supporting role in the film, opposite then hot onscreen couple Shandy Aulia and Samuel Rizal.
While the film itself did not get much attention, Acha’s fresh face gained the audience’s notice. From there, acting offers started to come in.
In 2006, she starred in her second film, Hanny R. Saputra’s tearjerker Heart, which centers around a love triangle involving an energetic tomboy, Rachael (Nirina Zubir), Rachael’s handsome best friend, Farrel (Irwansyah) and Lunna (Acha), a lovely stranger with whom Farrel falls in love.
The film proved to be a runaway smash hit at the local box office and garnered six nominations at that year’s FFI. While Acha herself was not nominated for her role in the film, she was catapulted to national stardom.
Heart’s original motion picture soundtrack, produced by prominent music couple Melly Goeslaw and Anto Hoed and featuring Acha on three songs, soon became a favorite among teens and sold like hot cakes on the market.
Fast forward six years into the future and Acha is still a very popular film star among the nation’s teens. Her films continue to lure audiences to the theaters and her star keeps on shining.
Test Pack: You’re My Baby was Acha’s 10th feature film to grace local movie screens.
She has also recently finished her latest film Rectoverso, an omnibus film adapted from Dewi Lestari’s best-selling short story collection and directed by five local actresses. Rectoverso is slated for release on Valentine’s Day next year.
Next year, Acha said that she would try her luck behind the camera.
“Now that my acting has been recognized [with the FFI award], I want to direct my own film,” she said. “It’s going to be about women who get married when they’re still young, get pregnant and have children, and yet they don’t have the slightest idea about how to be mothers. I want to tackle that issue.”
Do the film, Acha. Your fans will be looking forward to it.