Is popular actress and TV host Rozita Che Wan a pro at making teh tarik now?

The glamorous star, affectionately known to fans as Che Ta, kicks off a press conference at Angkasapuri, Kuala Lumpur recently, showing off her teh tarik skills. Arms stretched wide, it is quite a sight to witness the immaculately-dressed star pouring the beverage this way and that.

It turns out the Kedah-born actress has had some practice as each week, she personally brews and serves her guests teh tarik on her new talk show Teh Tarik Che Ta on RTM.

“Teh tarik is synonymous with the Malaysian lifestyle. When we hang out with friends, we always go, ‘Jom teh tarik,’” actor Yusmal Ghazali, who directs the talk show, shares the idea behind its concept.

Che Ta adds cheekily: “It’ll be hard if interviewees are eating mee goreng while answering questions.”

Perhaps the sweet, frothy drink is also a way to help ease the week’s guest stars into the interview portion.

The 13-episode series, produced by Zamriez Golden Picures, sees the 43-year-old host getting up close and personal with some of Malaysia’s most beloved veteran artistes such as Erra Fazira, Amelina, Ziana Zain, Ayai Ilusi, Raja Ema, Razis Ismail and Nassier Wahab.

Former beauty queen, actress and singer Erra (left) having a heart-to-heart with Che Ta.

Former beauty queen, actress and singer Erra (left) having a heart-to-heart with Che Ta.

To prepare for the show, Che Ta spent time researching her subjects before each interview. Photo: The Star/Raymond Ooi

To prepare for the show, Che Ta spent time researching her subjects before each interview. Photo: The Star/Raymond Ooi

“The show’s main objective is to look at the lives and careers of our country’s artistes that we haven’t seen on TV for some time. In order to appreciate their contributions to the local entertainment industry, we must give them an opportunity to make an appearance again,” Yusmal explains.

“They’ve made us laugh, they’ve made us cry and we miss them. It’s time that TV stations provide an avenue for these senior artistes.”

To prepare for the show, Che Ta says she spends time researching the industry greats before each interview.

“When I got the list of artistes, I did my own homework and found out how they first got their start or what kind of achievements they have attained. You have to do your homework, if not, you don’t know what to ask.”

The host adds she was most nervous about interviewing Rubiah Suparman as she has never met the 1970s actress before.

Well, it seems Che Ta had nothing to worry about, after all. “When I mentioned during the interview that she (Rubiah) had won best supporting actress before, she was surprised since it was such a long time ago. ‘How did you know?’ she asked me,” Che Ta recalls.

Another memorable moment on the show was with Menaruh Harapan singer Zaiton Sameon. “She was so funny, I wanted to film the interview with her again and again,” she enthuses.

Besides looking back at their career achievements, will Che Ta press her interviewees for some juicy personal details?

“Of course,” she swiftly responds. “When you’ve read a piece of gossip about an artiste, you’ll remember it for a long time. So, when I get the opportunity, I would ask them face to face … ” she trails off.

Asked if she drew inspiration from any existing talk show hosts, Che Ta says she felt comfortable simply being herself.

“The director gave me the freedom to just be myself and do what I want. So I did. Maybe when it comes to acting, people don’t know who you are because you are acting based on the character you are given.

“But as a host, people can see you for who you are,” says the actress who is also currently starring in the TV3 drama Kak Marr.

This isn’t Che Ta’s first hosting gig, having helmed another talk show Primadona with Raja Azura and Erra on Astro Prima.

Yusmal, who describes Che Ta as “one of the better female hosts out there”, gushes: “Whenever she talks to people, they want to open up to her. The way she asks her questions, she makes her interviewees go, ‘Alright, I’ll tell you my secret.’”

Should Teh Tarik Che Ta return for a second season, Yusmal reveals he plans to bring in personalities from various fields, besides those from the entertainment industry.

He hopes the show will also help change the audience’s perception of the public broadcaster.

“Some may think that RTM programmes are not very lively. But we have to let people know that that era is long gone.

“RTM programmes today are different, they are modern, lively and very nice to watch,” he says.

Teh Tarik Che Ta airs every Sunday at 12.30pm on TV1.