The Woman Behind The Pontianak


At only 17 years old, Maria Menado journeyed to Singapore from her hometown in Jakarta to participate in a Kebaya fashion show that moved from Singapore to a few Malaysian cities and thus began her dream of travelling around the world. She participated in a Kebaya Queencompetition in early 1951 and won. She was then offered a screen test which she successfully passed and from there, took on acting roles in movies such as Penghidupan, Pulau Mutiara and the famous 1957 picture, Pontianak.


And now, this screen legend has returned to Singapore for Esplanade’s Pesta Raya, celebrating her life and her career in this one night only performance. Singapore’s Malay Entertainment Portal had access to the veteran star for an interview and found out some little known facts about the actress-producer that has never been heard before!

Did you know her first film was Penghidupan and not Pulau Mutiara even though the latter was released first? Did you know ‘Maria Menado’ is not even her real name? Not only did the “most beautiful woman in Malaya” act but she also set up Maria Menado Productions to make her own films.

So what more is there behind this multi-faceted star of the silver screen? Well, fans of Malay cinema can get to know more about her when Maria Menado – Queen of the Silver Screen hits the Esplanade Recital Studio on September 8 at 3pm.

Dato’ Maria Menado will be accompanied by her Pontianak co-star Dato’ Mustapha Ma’arof, a fellow foreigner who first came to Singapore in the late 40s to seek for a job in the film industry. You may also know him from Bunga Percintaan, playing alongside Mislia. What exciting behind the scenes stories will they share? definitely cannot wait to see what’s in store!

For more information and how you can get your tickets, head down to Pesta Raya website for more information and check back for more events!