Original film title in Malay: Anak-ku Sazali
Literal English translation of film title: My Son Sazali
Directed by Phani Majumdar
Written by Phani Majumdar
Starring: P. Ramlee, Zaiton, Rosnani, Nordin Ahmad
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Bros.)
Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and coffeeshop
Sandy beach with pillbox (along the East Coast?)
Marine Parade Jetty at Joo Chiat Road end
Junction of Balestier Road, Prome Road & Jalan Kemaman
Singapore Police Radio Division, Combined Operations Room at ‘Upper Barracks’ on Pearl’s Hill (dubbed the “UFO”)
Talented and popular Malay film artiste P. Ramlee has a dual role in Anak-ku Sazali, as a caring father and a rebellious son. Hassan (P. Ramlee) is an orphan who develops a passion for playing violin. The melodious tunes that he churns out on his favourite instrument so attracted his master/foster father’s daughter Mahani (Zaiton) that they become lovers in secret – a relationship that would be frowned upon by her status-conscious parents. After hearing of Mahani’s betrothal to a rich family, Hassan decides to leave the kampong to pursue a music career in the city. Mahani learns of his decision and elopes with him to Singapore.
They first arrive in Singapore by train, being received by Mahani’s brother at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. They hang around at the station coffeeshop as they discuss the eloped couple’s plans for the future. Hassan soon finds success as a leading musician-composer. Their lives pick up and they have a son whom they name Sazali. Mahani passes away after giving birth, and Sazali, spoilt with too much care and leniency from his father, grows up to be a terrorizer, a scourge of the society. As a child, he plays truant, tells lies, and sabotages hawker stalls and shops (at Marine Parade Jetty and Balestier Road). Hassan tolerates his only son’s behaviour and Sazali soon gravitates to bigger crimes, becoming the leader of the largest gang in the city.
The road next to the Marine Parade jetty at Joo Chiat Road end used to be crowded with itinerant food hawkers in the 1950s. The jetty itself began as one used by fishermen to land their catch. The City Council then redeveloped the site into a seaside recreational promenade and built a new, longer jetty with an open-air seafood restaurant and eateries at the end of it. In the second half of the 1960s, the incumbent government embarked on an ambitious land reclamation project on the east coast of Singapore. The sea was pushed back by a few hundred metres, and the Marine Parade jetties were demolished. A new housing estate was built on top of the freshly reclaimed land at Marine Parade. Where the jetty with the open-air restaurant once was, now stands the former Republic Theatre (junction of Marine Parade Road and Marine Parade Central).
1. Amir Muhammad, 120 Malay Movies (pp. 107-109). Petaling Jaya: Matahari Books, 2010.
2. Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board, 2007.
3. Marine Parade. Singapore Infopedia. National Library Board, 2010.
4. ‘Like dining in the days of Elvis’. The Straits Times. 13 July 1986, p. 4.
© 1956 Malay Film Productions
© 2002 Music Valley
Digital Map Source:
Great Britain. Royal Air Force, Singapore photomap, National Library of Australia, MAP G8041.A4 s6 1950. [http://nla.gov.au/nla.map-vn502375]
© 2014 Toh Hun Ping