In terms of sound and style, the history of modern Malaysian music cannot be told without highlighting P. Ramlee’s contributions
P. Ramlee (1929 –1973) was not only a famous Malaysian actor, but he was also a singer, a songwriter, a screenwriter, and a film director. He was active in the Malaysian film industry from 1948 until 1972. During his career, he was involved in the writing, filming, and production of about 66 films and 390 songs.
P.Ramlee single-handedly gave the entertainment scene an identity by introducing musical styles which straddled the best of East and West. Due to his great contributions to the Malay film and music industry, he is often considered as the icon of Malay entertainment in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
He won the Best Musical Score in the 3rd Asian Film Award in Hong Kong in 1956 for the film “Hang Tuah”, which was an officially screened at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival in the following year. At the same year, too, he received the Best Male Actor in the 4th Asian Film Award in Tokyo with the film “Anakku Sazali”. Many of his films won the Best Comedy Award in the Asian Film Festival later on.
P. Ramlee was married three times. His second wife was a member to the Royal Family of the State of Perak but their marriage only lasted for 6 years. His last marriage was with his fellow singer and actress, Saloma; they tied the knot in 1961. They both regarded each other as the “loves of their lives.”
In May 1973, P. Ramlee died at the age of 44 due to a heart attack. His death has not only been a great loss to the industry, but he also left behind a film legacy that continues to live on.