14 Years On, ‘AADC’ Fans Sound Off About the Much-Loved Romantic Drama


APRIL 26, 2016

Jakarta. In the history of modern Indonesian cinema, only few films have reached the stature of “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?” (“What’s Up With Love?”) when it comes to receiving equal parts critical acclaims and wide fanfare.

Directed by Rudi Soedjarwo and co-produced by Mira Lesmana and Riri Riza, the 2002 romantic drama captured the imagination of audiences across the country with the unique love story at its center.

The typical boy-meets-girl narrative was turned on its head as Cinta, a popular high-school girl played by Dian Sastrowardoyo, encounters and later secretly falls for Rangga (Nicholas Saputra), a reclusive boy with whom she shares a passion for poetry and literature.

While the film mainly focuses its lens on the trials and tribulations of teenage life, it is also peppered with poignant poem verses and occasional allusions to the socio-political situation in Indonesia at the time — in effect transforming the teen drama into a classic on its own right.

For many fans, the euphoric attention given to the film’s forthcoming sequel has conjured up nostalgic memories about the original film.

“I consider myself a big fan of ‘AADC,’” said Artha Larasati, 29, who first watched the movie in theater as a junior-high student fourteen years ago.

A long-time admirer of Dian, whose modeling career was already blossoming before “AADC,” Artha said that she found the film speak about young love in a different way.

“In the film, the boy happens to be more quiet, while the girl is more out there,” she reminisced. “Both actors were a great fit for the script and the storyline — they perfectly portrayed the love life of Indonesian teenagers at the time.”

The film’s vivid depiction of high-school life was also what drew Hotmaida Nainggolan to watch the film on VCD — “it came with a postcard with a  photo of Rangga and Cinta” — when she was 15 years old.

Some of the film’s memorable scenes were shot at the Gonzaga high school in Pejaten, South Jakarta, where many of Hotmaida’s friends went to study.

“My friends who went to the school always talked about it, so I became curious,” she said. “The actor who played Borne, the guy who bullies Rangga, was also my senior in junior high, which intrigued me even more,”

Now 29, the die-hard fan still remembers all the catchy lines from the movie.

“The dialogues are unforgettable. For example, the exchange between Rangga and Cinta when he finally wants to be interviewed by Cinta for the school magazine,” Hotmaida said, referring to a particularly fiery scene. “I also still often joke about them with my friends.”

Asked to pick her favorite “AADC” character, she pointed out Milly (Sissy Priscillia), a member of Cinta’s clique.

“She is so funny, naïve and a bit silly,” Hotmaida laughed. “She sometimes quips something that makes me laugh, even in the middle of a particularly sad scene.”

Dian Sastrowardoyo and Nicholas Saputra in a still from 'Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2.' (Photo courtesy of Miles Films)

Newfound admirer

When film producer Mira Lesmana announced last year that there would be a sequel to “AADC,” there was a flourishing enthusiasm among fans that has been generating endless media coverage until now. This led Jacqueline Alexa, who was only 8 when “AADC” was out, decide to finally see it for the first time last March.

“Because everyone was talking about the sequel all over radio and TV, I was like, ‘Let’s watch it, finally, after fourteen years,’” she said.

Jacqueline admitted that at first she knew little about the film, but she also became eager to know more when running into the shooting of “AADC 2” while on vacation in Yogyakarta.

“Honestly, I kind of thought it’s a cheesy love story, but at the same time, I kind of wished it could really happen,” she said, laughing. “It’s the same fairy-tale feeling when you watch the films of Disney princesses.”

As the sequel hits cinemas across Indonesia this Thursday (28/04), fans are looking forward to seeing the now grown-up characters interacting again on-screen — especially after they bid farewell to each other at the end of “AADC.”

“I want to see Rangga and Cinta back together again, like in the short film by LINE,” Hotmaida said, referring to a promotional video released by the mobile messaging app in 2014. “Although when I saw the sequel’s trailer, it seems they still misunderstand each other.”

Artha, meanwhile, likened the upcoming sequel to another widely adored drama, “Before Midnight,” the last installment of Richard Linklater’s love trilogy that follows a couple, played by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, as they grow together with time.

“I watched the first two films and finally found an answer about their relationship in the last one,” she said. “In ‘AADC’ sequel, I hope to find a similar answer about Cinta and Rangga as well.”

Watch the trailer of "Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2" below: