Original film title in Malay: Nujum Pa’ Blalang (or Nujum Pak Belalang)
Literal English translation of film title: Father Grasshopper the Astrologer
Directed by P. Ramlee
Written by P. Ramlee (adaptation of Malay folklore)
Starring: P. Ramlee, Bat Latiff, Hashimah Yon
Produced by Malay Film Productions (Shaw Bros.)
Initially a character in Sumatran folklore, the original Pak Belalang (literally ‘Father Grasshopper’) reads from a fake magic book that he purports can give accurate predictions. In the comedy film Nujum Pa’ Blalang, Pak Belalang (P. Ramlee) is a laidback slacker who depends on his child’s genius to make a living as a fortune-teller. His prediction “skills” become much admired by the folks in his kampong, and his village chief even recommends him to the Sultan when the princess’ jewelry is stolen. Pak Belalang (with the help of his son) doesn’t disappoint and points the royalty to a cave where the loot was hidden. (The Sultan had to crawl through the cave’s entrance on all fours!). Pak Belalang is then proclaimed as the Royal Astrologer, outwits a challenger to the Sultan’s kingdom and eventually wins the hand of the princess.
Nujum Pa’ Blalang was shot mainly in the studios, but a handful of rural scenes were filmed on location – places that we reckon were in Singapore. (A Singapore Free Press report had indicated that the film “will be shot entirely in Singapore”.) A scene of the farmlands opens the film, as we follow Pak Belalang’s son walking through a plantation back to his home in the kampong…
1. ‘Hashimah (7 films) and Ramlee (50) team up’. The Singapore Free Press. 12 October 1959, p. 7.
© 1959 Malay Film Productions
© 2002 Music Valley