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Iqbaal Ramadhan: Positivity the key to happiness

A. Kurniawan Ulung

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, February 26, 2019  /  04:09 pm
Iqbaal Ramadhan: Positivity the key to happiness

Iqbaal Ramadhan (

Singer and actor Iqbaal Ramadhan made it big last year and the former member of boyband Coboy Junior is ready to grow even bigger this year. 

For a start, Iqbaal cannot wait to start his undergraduate program in media communication at Australia's Monash University in Melbourne, where he will be studying for the next 3.5 years. 

“Hopefully, I can graduate from the college on time,” said the 19-year-old. 

Before heading Down Under in March, he will be busy promoting his new movie, romance flick Dilan 1991, which will arrive in theaters nationwide on Feb. 28.

Iqbaal reprises his starring role as Dilan in Dilan 1991, the sequel to Dilan 1990 (2018), with follows the ups and downs of the romantic relationship between Dilan and girlfriend Milea (Vanesha Prescilla). It is one of the most anticipated films of the year.

“I am so excited to hear people’s response to Dilan 1991,” said Iqbaal. 

He wondered whether Dilan 1991 would follow the original film's box office success, which garnered more than 6.3 million ticket sales.

Directed by Fajar Bustomi, Dilan 1990 is the film adaptation of Pidi Baiq’s best-selling novel, Dia Adalah Dilanku (He is my Dilan), and was the most-viewed film of 2018 as well as the second highest grossing Indonesian film of all time. 

Dilan 1991 is special to Iqbaal, and is reportedly also special for West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil because it was shot in Bandung, the provincial capital. The governor even plans to establish a "Dilan Park" in the city's Saparua sports complex.

Prior to Dilan 1990, Iqbaal starred in several soap operas and films, such as 2013's Coboy Junior The Movie, which did not impress critics. 

Iqbaal had won the hearts of nationwide audiences in 2011 as a member of Coboy Junior. The band's first single, "Kamu" (You), was an instant hit and the group won various awards, including most favorite boyband at the 2012 Indonesia Kids’ Choice Awards. The band was renamed CJR in 2014 and disbanded in 2017.

Iqbaal probably ranks among the brightest young artists in showbiz today, thanks to Dilan 1990.

When Falcon Pictures announced that Iqbaal was cast as the title character, many fans of the novel objected, saying he was "too cute" to portray Dilan, a bad boy who heads a teen motorcycle gang.

However, Iqbaal shined as Dilan and his performance earned him the best actor nomination at the Indonesia Film Festival (FFI) and the Piala Maya film awards, proving he was more than just another pretty face.

After his success as Dilan, Iqbaal faces another big challenge in his upcoming film, Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind), the film adaptation of its namesake novel by the country's greatest writer, Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

He said filming had wrapped for Bumi, which is directed by Hanung Bramantyo. Iqbaal takes on the starring role as Minke, an outspoken boy of Javanese nobility who rejects hierarchical society while opposing the injustices of the Dutch colonial government.

Also produced by Falcon Pictures, its announcement of Iqbaal in the lead again met with objections from the novel's fans, who said he was not the right choice to play Minke.

Even so, Iqbaal is optimistic that the Bumi film adaptation will receive positive feedback from moviegoers. Staying positive is his key to happiness. 

“Life is too short to spend just listening to other people’s comments and opinions. Be yourself, trust yourself and love yourself,” he said. 

Despite his success as an actor, Iqbaal has not given up on his music. After Coboy Junior, he formed the R&B band Svmmerdose, in which he is a bassist. He has always dreamed of being recognized as a musician.

“On my identity card, I want 'musician' to appear as [my occupation],” he said.

Svmmerdose released a new single last November titled “Crush”. Iqbaal hopes his band is able to release an album this year, although he will be in Melbourne. 

Iqbaal is grateful for the appreciation his work in music and film has gained – even from fans who seem to have crossed the line.

One of his fans in Palu, Central Sulawesi, caused a viral sensation when she claimed to be his wife through poorly touched-up photos that she posted on her Instagram account.

“There will always be people who try hard to tell their idols that they are their biggest fans, to get more attention [...],” he said. (hdt)

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