Oka antara is a well-known Indonesian actor, he had won at least four awards including best Supporting actor for his movie The Crescent Moon. born a balinese, he lived in new York in his younger years, and came back to Indonesia to pursue a music career. he did release a hip hop/ r&b album that opened up his road to host MTV Jamz. not too long after that he started to do acting, and fell in love with it to this day. he now stars in movies like killers, Foxtrot Six as well as brata, a crime thriller web series to name a few. We would love to catch up with how he is today, so we met him for an up close and personal talk.
As a Balinese descent, do you remember any stories or experience about your area (Karang Asem)?
The only distinct memory I had was that every time my family and I went to Bali, we weren’t allowed to stay in the city. We had to go straight to our village from the moment we landed at the airport. And man.. the road to my village was painful. There were no bypass back then, so the trip consists of a 4-5 hour drive non-stop in a cramped up minivan. Just when you thought you got through the long hour drive, the car had to stop at the very end of the asphalt concrete road. So we had to reach the village by walking a few kilometres further. But this was in the 80’s. Ever since they built a bypass that cuts through the mountain and saved 3 hour, coming home is always something I look forward to.
Being born in Jakarta, and grew up in New York, did your parents ever teach you about Balinese cultures?
No. But they did sent me to Sunday school in which I learned the basic teachings of Hinduism.
If yes, what do you think is the most crucial thing (could be a religious view, history, culture, etc.) that you still hold dear to this day?
That there is only one God. I know it’s nothing for any other religion to believe in this. But as a Hindu, I often get exposed to a lot of different Hindu teachings that offers many deities. For example, Hindus in India never heard of Sang Hyang Widhi. That term is only believed by a Hindu sect in Bali called Hindu Dharma. We believe God as the one and only. That’s what I believe in.
How proud are you, being a Balinese male who became one of the best actors in Indonesia?
I am super proud to represent the place where I come from.
How did you break free from the stereotype that Balinese don’t leave the island?
My dad has never let any of his children live in Bali. So technically I have never left Bali if i have never lived there. Hehe. But I thought about living in Bali once I’m done with the industry.
What’s your favourite staycation place in Bali?
Definitely my home in Karangasem, now that we have a shortcut to get there. My house in Renon, also Ubud area, mainly because they have beautiful hotels and restaurants there.
Do you think it is important to bring Balinese culture more into movies?
Absolutely. How else are we going to introduce Balinese culture to millennials? Movie is a fun way to introduce things – in this case, culture – to the younger generation.
How do you want people to think, feel and experience Balinese culture?
That it’s peaceful, people of Bali are very forgiving and easily forgets the bad that had happened and chose to carry on. Bali bombing for example. I don’t think Bali millennials are aware of such tragic event ever happened. Not that they don’t care but what had happen happened. No one is trying to instil fear or hatred toward others.
Do you teach your kids about their Balinese heritage?
Not yet. They’re still too young to care. But all in due time.
Sometimes people feel like they’re stuck or bored doing what they’ve been doing for so long. Did this ever happen to you? how did you overcome that?
Happens to me all the time. I always take a break every time it happens. Try to reconnect to other aspects in life which has nothing to do with the industry such as spending time with my family, hobbies and God.
How do you maintain a good reputation and image in the entertainment industry?
To be honest I don’t know haha. I just focus on performing, behaving professionally, respecting other co-workers. I believe if you laser focus on one thing and one thing only, you will never go astray. And that itself already built a good reputation for you.
Do you still have dreams that you want to make come true?
I want to give back to the community more. It will be great to give back so other people can also feel joy.
What keeps you busy lately? Any series, new series or upcoming movies?
I’m doing a drama movie based on a novel to be shot in early September, and a crime thriller series in November to December. It’s called Brata, the first season is already available through an application online.
Many people admire and look up to you, what’s your number 1 life hacks that you can share to the readers?
Everybody can be successful. But make sure to distinguish yourself by being successful yet a positive influence for the younger generations.