From left, Raline Shah, Derby Romero, Lukman Sardi, Cut Mini, and Fatih Unru in Ody C. Harahap

'Orang Kaya Baru' Shows Money Doesn't Equal Happiness


JANUARY 23, 2019

Jakarta. What happens when a poor family suddenly finds out they've been sitting on a fortune all this time? Ody C. Harahap’s new comedy drama "Orang Kaya Baru," or "Nouveau Riche," tries to provide an answer. 

The screenplay was written by Joko Anwar, better known as a director of box office horror-thrillers such as "Modus Anomali" and "Pengabdi Setan" ("Satan’s Slaves"). 

But Joko actually began his film career co-writing the script for Nia Dinata’s comedy drama "Arisan!" before going on to direct his own, "Janji Joni" ("Joni's Promise"). 

In a press conference on Monday (21/01), Joko said the story for Orang Kaya Baru was inspired by his experience of growing up poor in Medan. 

"I came from a poor family. Back then, all I really wanted was for my father to say that we’d actually just been pretending to be poor," he said. 

Joko said his original screenplay tried to show that there is no relation between money and happiness. 

"What makes us happy is simple: family and friends. Whether we have money or not, as long as we’re close to our family and friends, we will be happy," he said. 

Joko also said he was excited to finally get the opportunity to work together with Ody, whom he considered "one of Indonesia’s best directors."

Ody said the story of the film, though based on Joko's personal experiences, has universal appeal.  

"[The story] comes from Joko’s childhood imaginations, but I think they're everybody's imaginations. What would happen if a family suddenly had that much money? Would they use it wisely, or go crazy?" Ody said. 

The film follows the story of the Wardhanas, a happy-but-poor family living in a crowded Jakarta kampung. The father (Lukman Sardi) works at an auto repair shop while his wife (Cut Mini) helps make ends meet by selling homemade cakes.

Their children face struggles of their own. Duta (Derby Romero) is a struggling stage actor looking for investors to fund his plays. Tika (Raline Shah) is a bright architecture student preparing to take part in a prestigious competition, with a much dreamt of trip overseas as its main prize. The youngest child in the family, Dodi (Fatih Unru), is being bullied at school by his friends who make fun of his poor family. 

But when the father suddenly dies, the family is informed that he has actually stashed away a lot of money for them and that they are now officially rich. 

Orang Kaya Baru may be a comedy, but it has characters with seriously admirable qualities. 

"The father is a quirky character, but what he says about life, about the importance of sticking with your family, is very important. Whatever happens, family and friends are the most important thing in life,” Citra-winning Lukman said. 

Raline also praised her character's determination against all odds.  

"Even though she comes from a poor family, Tika always keeps a smile on her face, and studies hard to be the best of her class," she said. 

Also part of the cast is Refal Hady, who plays Banyu, a university student who has to take on increasingly obscure part-time jobs – from waiting tables to working as a gravedigger – to pay for his tuition. 

"Banyu is a character that we put in the film to inspire younger viewers. His rather strange jobs are a reminder for young people that all jobs are good jobs, as long as they’re halal," producer Wicky V. Olindo said. 

Orang Kaya Baru will be in cinemas on Thursday.