Keluarga Iskandar was the brainchild of Wan Hasliza Wan Zainuddin. The idea for the series began in 2007. There were not many family drama series shown on the television back then – the last notable one was ‘Opah’ back in the eighties. Feeling the need for more stories with strong family values, Wan Hasliza set out to fill the niche in the industry with KL Motion Picture’s own brand of family drama series.
The series’ creator wanted to make a story that she herself would want to watch – a story that the Malaysian audience can easily relate to, something which is uniquely Malaysian. So, naturally, when the story was drafted, it was written with the audiences in mind. Tackling real-life family issues such as parent-child relationships and sibling rivalry, the story was mostly based on personal experiences and inspired by the people she knows, including her own family and friends. The famous ‘Allah dah set from the top’ line actually came from her own mother, who was also the inspiration behind the character ‘Mak Jah’.
Wan Hasliza had no production experience whatsoever when she wrote the first draft. In a nod to Malaysians’ tendency for a big family, especially among the older generation, the story started off with a total of nine siblings and the working title of ‘Famili DLL’. However, the first proposal she submitted for the series was rejected, citing the story as ‘not something that Malaysians would be interested in’ as the reason.
Disappointed but not dejected, she put ‘Family DLL’ on the back burner for a while. Through KL Motion Pictures, she gained more experience in the world of motion-picture production. However, Famili DLL was never forgotten and from the experience gained, she worked on improving and fine-tuning the storyline and the characters. The all-new ‘Famili DLL’ was cut down to six siblings, with one of them missing for the most part. It was actually a production decision (fewer characters mean lower budget) which coincidentally fitted nicely with the new storyline. Taking into account the tendency for family members to talk behind each other’s backs despite being supportive for one another, she decided to make ‘Famili DLL’ in the mockumentary format instead of a normal sitcom.
Three years after her first rejection, she, through KL Motion Pictures, approached Astro with the new proposal and presented her idea to them. Astro liked the story, but wasn’t too keen on the title ‘Famili DLL’. Inspiration for the series’ new title came from a Johorean friend who suggested that the series be based in Johor and called ‘Keluarga Iskandar’, after the Iskandar region. She went back to Astro with the new name and they finally approved. The Iskandar Regional Development Authority eventually jumped on board and helped the series to be shot in the Iskandar region.
Kismah Johar, the actress who plays ‘Mak Jah’, had been the first choice for the role right from the beginning. Nevertheless, other actresses had also been called in to audition for the role just to be fair. But as fate would have it, Kismah nailed the part – it was as if the role was made for her. A great deal of actors and actresses came to audition for the other roles, including several esteemed names, but selection was not based on their popularity but rather their on-screen chemistry as a family.
The first season was aired on Astro Prima in 2013, and it went over well with the audience. This was followed by a second season in 2015. The series quickly gathered a cult following and went on to become one of Malaysia’s biggest household names. So far, Keluarga Iskandar has won two awards, namely Anugerah Lawak Warna’s Best Comedy TV Series Award in 2013 and Best Comedy TV Drama Programme (Series) in 2015.
Despite nationwide recognition, Keluarga Iskandar was cancelled and Season 3 which was supposed to answer some of the questions in Season 2 never took off. This was most unfortunate because Keluarga Iskandar Season 2 ended with so many questions. Who ends up marrying Huzairah – Abang Long or Alan? What about Adibah and Faris? And who was Uda?
Every story needs to continue and eventually have an ending, and that is what we at KL Motion Pictures aspire to achieve. After so many requests from fans writing in, we have decided to try to give Keluarga Iskandar new lease of life.
What’s next for Keluarga Iskandar? Astro has kindly given us the license to adapt the series into a movie, so let’s see where it leads us from there.
The family’s future is in our hands. Let’s come together in deciding what is next for Keluarga Iskandar.
Keluarga Iskandar has not reached the end yet. Instead, it is only just beginning.