A Summary by Nana Sofiani

Indonesia.com, in collaboration with Garin Nugroho and Teater Musikal Nusantara (TEMAN), Indonesia.com made the musical drama series Nurbaya, an adaptation of Marah Rusli’s literary novel of the same title. Nurbaya aired on Youtube in six episodes. The story begins with the background of the city of Jakarta in 1970.

There was a Cakrawala newspaper owner named Sultan Sulaiman and his daughter Siti Nurbaya. He was disturbed by the establishment of a nightclub called Taman Edan. According to him, the existence of it was very damaging to our morals as religious people. The articles he wrote decreased the number of visitors to Taman Edan; of course, this made Meringgih, who turned out to be the club owner, angry, and Anton was just a henchman. Then he devised a strategy to put Baginda Sulaiman in prison with his wealth and the women to bribe the judge. This article will highlight the three characters who build the story: Siti Nurbaya, Samsul Bahri, and Meringgih, and face their love, hope, and reality.

Samsul Bahri and Siti Nurbaya loved each other and could not be separated, so their friends often enticed to get married. Unfortunately, their love story ended because Siti Nurbaya’s beauty fascinated Meringgih, so he decided to ask her to be his tenth wife. Hearing her refusal, he devised a new strategy to subdued Siti Nurbaya by offering financial assistance to redeem her imprisoned father in exchange for marrying her. Having no other choice, Siti Nurbaya agreed to marry Meringgih even though not loving him showed her devotion to her sickly father.

Siti Nurbaya hoped to become a journalist like her father, wanted to write about her destiny, and defied that a woman’s job was to please her husband or to obey cultural rules since she thought that the woman was extraordinary and robust. Her fondness for reading made her  thoughtful and forward thinker, thus supporting  Samsul Bahri to study law in the Netherlands. Contrary to expectations, Bung Meringgih, usually called, is the wealthiest outlander in Jakarta, hoping to increase his wealth and eliminate anyone who interfered with his business.

Her unhappy marriage did not base on love, his father’s death, and the explanation from Isabella, Meringgih’s first wife, that Meringgih was a person who justified any means to get what he wanted. All of this made Siti Nurbaya realize that Meringgih was the culprit of all the problems. Samsul Bahri, who has finished his schooling in the Netherlands, returned to Jakarta, promising to help Siti Nurbaya uncover who Meringgih was. Meringgih, whose disguised began to be exposed and angry, ordered his men to kill Siti Nurbaya, who seemed to be about to commit suicide.

At trial, Meringgih denied all his actions, and there was no evidence of his crimes, and he almost won. Finally, Isabella and Anton were willing to be witnesses to Meringgih’s crimes. All the evidence has collected, and the witness against the accusation also made Meringgih helpless, so he decided to shoot himself.

Meringgih’s greed to get what he wanted making the love story of Siti Nurbaya and Samsul Bahri never come. The death and unhappiness of those around them cause deep sorrow. Like, Samsul Bahri was left forever by Siti Nurbaya. In Siti Nurbaya’s diary, she wrote down not only us who wrote our destiny but also others who interfered in our lives.



Anindita, N., & Yoshiantini, V. (2021). Nurbaya. IndonesiaKaya. https://youtu.be/JIdVU2rxVxU

Mutiah, D. (2021). Nurbaya. Liputan6.Com.

Yuhdi, A. (2021). REFORMASI SOSIAL DALAM SITTI NURBAYA DAN RELEVANSINYA SEBAGAI MATERI AJAR SASTRA INDONESIA DI SMA. Basastra, 10(1), 21–33. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.24114/bss.v10i1.24135