Carissa Perusset as Keara and Refal Hady as Ruly in Rizal Mantovani's 'Antologi Rasa,' adapted from Ika Natassa's book. (Photo courtesy of Soraya Intercine FIlms)

'Antologi Rasa' Film Adaptation Slated for Valentine's Day Release


JANUARY 08, 2019

Jakarta. Loyal fans of Ika Natassa's novel "Antologi Rasa" better get ready for a romantic Valentine's Day this year as it has been confirmed as the release date of the film adaptation, with the trailer set to be launched on Saturday.

According to the author, more than 100,000 copies of the book have been sold since it was published in 2011.

Ika and production house Soraya Intercine Films have been teasing fans with still pictures and behind-the-scenes stories on social media since last year. Soraya also released the film's official poster, featuring the main characters, on Instagram last month.

Directed by Rizal Mantovani, "Antologi Rasa" tells the story of Keara (Carissa Perusset) who has had a crush on her ambitious best friend and co-worker Ruly (Refal Hady) for four years, but Ruly likes someone else – Denise (Atikah Suhaime) – who is already married.

Meanwhile, one of Keara's other close friends, Harris (Herjunot Ali), has feelings for Keara though she only thinks of him as a friend.

Ika revealed during a press conference on Friday last week that the project has been underway since 2014, when Soraya acquired the film rights. This was in fact Ika's first book to have landed a film deal, even before "Critical Eleven," which Starvision released in 2017.

Co-producer Dian Sasmita said the studio tried to get everything right because "Antologi Rasa," being a best-seller, has a huge following.

What took the most time was finding the right actors, especially to play the role of Keara. The studio finally settled on Carissa, a model who had never acted in a film before.

"Both Sunil [Soraya, the producer,] and I are perfectionists. We believe perfection takes time. It can't be rushed… When we saw Carissa, I was like 'Oh my God, she's Keara.' She got the vibe," Ika said.

Carissa, who described Keara as "girly but edgy," said she was grateful yet worried after passing her audition.

"When I got the part, I was so surprised. It's quite a huge pressure, because the book has many fans. I was panicking more than I was happy," Carissa said.

"Antologi Rasa" will not be the first time Keara and Harris made an appearance. "Critical Eleven" features them as supporting characters, played by Anggika Bosterli and Refal Hady.

However, Refal now plays Ruly instead of Harris, while the role of Harris went to Herjunot.

"My books are connected, but in 'Critical Eleven,' Harris was a supporting connection. At that time, Refal was the right person for the role. When developing 'Antologi Rasa,' we called both Refal and Junot. We asked them to read for both parts to see who brought something different to the characters," Ika said.

Ika added that Refal managed to bring something new to Ruly, which "convinced us why Keara could fall in love with Ruly."

Herjunot, a regular in Soraya's productions, said he had been eyeing the role of Harris since he first read the book.

"If I were to play Ruly, I would need to work harder. But for Harris, I felt I was going to do it effortlessly. He's somewhat of a joker, but not the type that people look down on," he said.

Herjunot said he had received some backlash on social media because he's best known for nice-guy roles, such as in "Suzzanna: Bernapas Dalam Kubur" (2017) and "Tenggelamnya Kapal Van der Wijck" (2013) but if we go further back, he also had more playful roles in "Realita, Cinta, dan Rock 'n Roll" in 2006 and "5 CM" in 2012.

After finding the cast, "Antologi Rasa" continued its long journey.

"The filming process took a year, with six to seven months for script reading. It was quite a long process," Refal said.

Ika and director Rizal Mantovani both emphasized that fans should not expect the adaptation to be an exact replica of the book.

"In the end, what we adapted to the screen are not the technical aspects. Some places may not match what's in the book, but the emotions we try to provoke remain the same," Rizal said.

Ika added that "Antologi Rasa" will be a romance everyone can relate to.

"This is not our love story. This is your love story," she said.