Myanmar’s king of laughs

A Yine (right) plays Ko Tint in 'Ko Tint Doe' Super Yatkwat' (Photo - Supplied)

With his extensive background as a noted “anyeint” (a comedic show combining jokes, music and dance) comedian, A Yine has appeared in countless entertaining capers as one of the most sought-after comedic actors for many years. In "Ko Tint Doe' Super Yatkwat" (“The Super Ward of Ko Tint”), the veteran actor takes on  the lead role as Ko Tint, a famous character in a popular comic book series of the same name that is being adapted for the big screen. In this exclusive interview with the Myanmar Eleven, the comedian relates how he’s maintained his stellar career through the decades.How did you come to play in "Ko Tint Doe' Super Yatkwat" (“The Super Ward of Ko Tint”).After playing the character of Ko Tint in eight direct-to-home videos, I had a discussion with Ko Moe Oo (Kyaw Zaw Linn) to bring this comic book series to the big screen. When I want to offer something that the audience likes and is satisfied with, I want them to have a sense of longing for more. I don't like showing the same thing over and over again. I always think about presenting a new version of the art [form] that the audience likes. When we started thinking about making a film about Ko Tint, we talked about using popular film stars to play the residents of Ko Tint's ward. We asked for their help when we started planning the film. At that time, all the film stars told us that they would happily take part in the film without taking any fees. After negotiating with them, we had to negotiate with Ko Shwe Htoo [the comic book’s artist] and Wai Thar [the novelist]. It took a year just for planning. Only then can we start the filming.Were there any difficulties during the filming given that there were many film stars in it?There weren't many difficulties. Back in the days we used film, Ko Moe Oo has plenty of experience of making notes as he is from the A-One family. We also have extensive experience gained from having worked with veteran film directors like Ko Wunna and U Aung Myint Myat. So we understood many aspects [of the filming] exception one thing: we just started to use HD cameras so we needed to cope with the technical differences that had arisen in like the camera frame and the frame that will appear on the big screen. The rest was okay. In the scenes with costars and film stars, there were many people but everything was fine. Except for the tempo of the plot, all of the characters are active people. They had to portray what's happening in the ward. This is one of the advantages.When the film debuted in cinemas, it has broken a new record since so many people came to watch it. How do you feel about this?I'm happy and overjoyed because I play the lead role in the film and I have never obtained that level of success even though I've been working in the film industry for a long time now. This film has not only set a new record, but also offered new ways to fulfill the needs of the film industry. You can say a new method has come up for the people working in the film industry. We now know that the audience will accept any film as long as it’s close to reality – whether a drama, a romantic comedy or a family film. We're happy to learn how to create such kind of films about what's happening in real life with a much less budget.Will there be a sequel?I'm still thinking about it. I'm satisfied that we could give full entertainment to the audience. I'm very satisfied that they went home with lots of happiness after watching the film. But I don't want to eat the same delicious snack over and over again. We're thinking about how to present this in a new style. Maybe we will make this into a TV series. We're also thinking about doing another comedy film with a strong plot.Does this film mark a turning point in your career?Yes, you can say so. I was so successful [as a comedian] of Anyeint that I ended up in jail. I was able to speak on behalf of the audience. I was able to use my comedy routines to aid the reform of the country. By that time think I had gone past my turning point. Even now, I'm trying to revive the art form at Anawmar Thukhuma Tabin. In the direct-to-home video, I wrote the script for “Hnin Si Wine” (“Rose Wine”). I also wrote the script for “A Kywan Tawin” (“Intimately”) with the late actor Ko Thar Gyi (aka Dway). The audience recognised my efforts. When I was writing the script for “Hnin Si Wine”, I’d just graduated from university. So I wrote about all the pranks I’d been pulling back in my university days. It was a very fun script to write. In "Ko Tint Doe' Super Yatkwat", I got to play the lead role. It was a big success so you can say this is another turning point for me.