That day as I was surfing Zulkifli Abu’s FB page about ‘ikan puyu ‘ dish, I came across the name Hartini Abdul Hamid. I took a long look at the name and the picture.
I just realised I didn’t know her but the name Hartini was one that I knew very well and will always be in my mind. That’s the name that dragged Erma Fatima to court. Who dragged her? Aziz Afkar and Creative Enterprise. The reason? Erma produced the drama ‘Hartini’ based on the novel ‘Hartini’ written by the late Aziz Afkar .I was involved because at that time I was the one who bought the drama and aired it on TV3.
Everything started one day in 1995 (if I am not mistaken). At that time I was Director of Programmes for TV3. In one conversation with Erma I asked, “Have you read the novel ‘Hartini’?”
“I have never even heard of the name,” said Erma.
“Try reading the novel, could be suitable for a drama,” I said. Erma was at that time still popular as an actress. On top of that the first drama that she produced ‘Pengantin Popular’ reached the highest rating on TV3.
She become more determine to produce good dramas. At that time I was looking for two or three good special dramas to air for ‘Hari Raya Puasa’. I remembered a novel I read in school when I was in form Four, ‘Hartini’. The love story between Cikgu Hartini and Cikgu Hamli suppressing their love and never revealing it. Great story.
A week later Erma came to my office in Sri Pentas.
“Done, I’ve read it and I cried like crazy over that novel ‘ Hartini’,” she said.
“There’s no woman that does not cry reading that novel,” I said.
“I want to do a drama like this story,” said Erma.
“Refer to the producer about the copyright,” I reminded.
“The producer is Pustaka Antara. I know the owner,” said Erma smiling.
The drama was completed. Great acting by Umie Aida and Nasir Bilal Khan. TV3 aired it on the second day of Hari Raya.
Then everything came out in the newspapers. Creative Enterprise claimed to own production rights over the novel and Erma never had permission to produce the drama.
Creative Enterprise and Aziz Afkar later filed a summons to claim compensation against Erma Fatima and TV3. And I had to go to court. Up and down, up and down the court.
by Khalil Md Zain