Dian Sastrowardoyo takes pole position in 22 countries with ‘Gadis Kretek’

KUALA LUMPUR – Indonesian actress-model Dian Sastrowardoyo has created history by taking the pole position in 22 countries with her phenomenal series “Gadis Kretek” (Cigarette Girl) in the video streaming Netflix.

Expressing surprise, Dian said the series is now being watched in Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Romania, for example.

“These are countries which I have never been to,’’ she said, adding that the world’s movie-watching trend has changed completely.

Dian said she is thankful that her strong base of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, has given their support to the series.

The actress also expressed surprise when told that there were Malaysian viewers, who chose to switch to the Javanese language audio, to get an authentic feel of the series, which has a 1960s setting in Indonesia.

She spoke in impeccable English and occasionally switched to Bahasa Indonesia in an interview with Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, on his webcast “RealChunWai’’ which appears on YouTube and Facebook. The 35-minute show will be broadcast on Dec 1 from 9 am.

Dian said she shared a fair amount of time and effort to prepare for the role of Dasiyah.

Dasiyah is a strong-willed woman character, whose family owned a small-scaled kretek – or clove – cigarette factory in the Town of M.

Although very talented in her work, with her ability to create new products, Dasiyah found herself discriminated against in a male-dominated industry. It didn’t matter if the factory was owned by her father.

Dasiyah’s father is prepared to marry her off to another businessman, who is also in the kretek business, but Dasiyah has eyes for Soeraja, an ordinary worker. This led to serious implications but love never dies.

To prepare for the role, Dian said she immersed herself in the character by making several self-imposed sacrifices.

“Once my husband and children left for work and school, I abstained from watching TV, stopped my social media engagements, withdrew from my social life and spent hours listening to gamelan and Indonesian classics,” she said.

Dian, who also created a name for her role as Kartini, the Indonesian woman emancipation heroine, said the role of Dasiyah required quite similar preparations to that of Kartini.

“It took me a lot of effort to walk like a respectable, elegant Javanese woman, with a certain stature. Should I say I learnt to glide,” she said, adding that she spent months learning the slow walk.

Dian interestingly shared that her husband, businessman Maulana Indraguna Sutowo, did not want to watch the series but declined to say why.

Placing priority on her family, the actress said she would not pose for selfies when she was with her family, citing that if she agreed to one selfie, it would open a floodgate for fans to rush for more. – BERNAMA