Original film title in Malay: Nasib
Literal English translation of film title: Fate
Chinese title: 洞天盜寶
Directed by B. S. Rajhans
Songs by Osman Ahmad
Produced by Shaw Brothers (Singapore)
Cast: S. Roomai Noor, Siput Sarawak, D. Harris, P. Ramlee
Released July 1949 (in Singapore).
Offshore islands of Singapore?
Kassim (S. Roomai Noor) is banished from his home by his elder brother and sister-in-law who plotted to keep the family inheritance to themselves. Kassim and his two close pals attempt to make a living at sea by fishing. But their boat topples over and they drift to a secluded island. There, they chance upon a pirates’ lair in a cave and manage to steal their ill-gotten treasures. Kassim’s fate takes a turn once more.
Being a story set in the ancient times of Malay kingdoms and fiefdoms, the bulk of Nasib had to be shot in the film studio with imagined creations of fictional royal palaces and archaic market towns. However, the Straits Times had reported that Shaw Brothers had spent “six months shooting in their Singapore studios in Ampas Road [Jalan Ampas] and on neighbouring islands…” (10 July 1949, p. 7; emphasis ours). Indeed, there are several scenes that were filmed outdoors in rural locations in Singapore and possibly even in then-Malaya. The film begins with a song shot at a waterfall with wading pool (Kota Tinggi?). Kassim and his pals set off for the sea from a sandy coast (Changi Beach). And the entrance to the pirates’ cave lair might have been shot on an offshore island made up of limestone or sandstone rocks. We haven’t had a chance to head out to the islands to track down the “cave entrance by the sea” that resembles the one in Nasib. Neither have we found information or evidence on the existence of tall natural caves (as tall as the one in Nasib) on the “neighbouring islands” of Singapore. A few islands under our “suspicion” were Pulau Tekukor, Ubin, Tekong, Sajahat and Blakang Mati.
From James Harding and Ahmad Sarji’s ‘P. Ramlee: The Bright Star’, 2002, page 24:
“Roomai Noor played an heir who is dispossessed of his property by an unscrupulous brother, and Siput Sarawak appeared as the beautiful sultan’s daughter whom he eventually marries. The plot featured marauding pirates, buried treasure, the abduction of a princess, and an exciting battle between the pirates and the forces of good. With Momo Latiff, Nona Asiah and a supporting chorus, P. Ramlee sang the title song, a number celebrating Fate in a cheerful, ambling melody [1:20]. It was one of the half-dozen songs which a fine composer Osman Ahmad wrote for the film, including a haunting invocation to the moon, ‘Oh Bulan’ [1:07:14]. P. Ramlee also played a substantial role as one of Roomai Noor’s two roving companions.”
© 1949 Malay Film Productions
© 2003 Music Valley