SINGAPORE - Singapore-born actor Adi Putra might be a marquee name in the Malaysian television and movie industry today but his start in the entertainment scene was less than glamorous.
A former Pizza Hut delivery boy, 7-Eleven employee and air-conditioning technician, his first full-time job after completing national service was as a lighting technician for MediaCorp's Chinese television serials. His days as the lowly crew guy on a film set charged with making stars such as Fann Wong and Christopher Lee look good are long gone.
With a decade's worth of acting experience and more than 30 television dramas and over a dozen films to his name, the 32-year-old is to the Malaysian television and film industry what Wong and Lee are to Chinese television here.
For the last three years, readers of Malaysia's main newspaper Berita Harian have voted Adi as one of the top five most popular male television actors in the annual awards ceremony Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian.
Adi, who shuttles between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, now leads the lifestyle of an actor who has made good. He shares a terrace house in Ulu Klang with his producer wife Aida Yusof, 38, and four cars - three BMWs and a Satria Neo - are parked in the garage.
You could attribute the Institute of Technical Education graduate's success to a combination of hard work, luck and good timing. His handsome looks helped too.
In 2003, he joined a beauty contest organised by local Malay lifestyle and entertainment magazine Manja and was crowned Mr Photogenic.
Acting came by chance. While working at MediaCorp, producer friends asked him to be an extra in television shows on Malay station Suria.
After that, he was offered his first major acting role as a gym instructor in Anak Metropolitan 2, a popular television drama centred on wayward teenagers.
His performance led to his nomination in the Most Promising Actor category at local Malay entertainment awards ceremony Pesta Perdana in 2004 and another role in comedy drama Cinta Bollywood 2.
Then came the turning point in his life. Veteran Malaysian producer, director and actress Erma Fatima offered him a major role in Malaysian television drama Haryati 2.
Sensing the opportunity to make his mark on the much larger Malay acting industry across the Causeway, the 23-year-old Adi packed his bags and left for Kuala Lumpur.
After shooting was done in three months, he decided to stick around and try to break into the competitive entertainment industry in Malaysia.