I was literally forced to watch this movie with about 1 hour’s notice and given the wrong time of screening for this movie. It’s not that I don’t want to watch movies but I guess, I’m not such an impromptu person. However, I was proved to be silly in doing that because the movie was worth watching every minute of it. Thanks Alina! ;)
Talentime is produced by the late Yasmin Ahmad (who was popular for her movie: Sepet). It tells the story of 3 main scenarios which touches the undercurrent of racism, religion and difference of the multi-culture, racial and religion among Malaysians.
It echoes a similar style from Sepet with the love story of a Malay girl and a Chinese boy which was what started my admiration for Yasmin Ahmad’s movies. In fact, every year, I look forward to the Petronas National Day commercial which would be produced by her. But I didn’t notice any this year. *sniff* but then, I don’t really watch the local tv channels since there’s Astro.
Anyway, Talentime focuses on a Malay girl of Eurasian descent, Melur (played by Pamela Chong – made famous by her participation in The Amazing Race Asia) and a hearing and speech-impaired Indian boy, Mahesh who fetches her to school for her talentime’s practices in his motorcycle as requested by the school. Somehow, in silence, their love grows and blossoms. However, Mahesh’s mother could not accept their relationship as she was too distraught and did not want to lose his son to the other side (to the other religion).
The “reflections” were on his mother’s reaction to his uncle,Ganesh’s relationship with an Indian Muslim girl last time. The family was against their relationship because of the religion despite her being very nice to everyone. It didn’t matter. He complied with his family wishes and left the girl… harbouring the hope she might return to him but in the end, prepared to marry another after many many years later.
There's also the scene with a Malay boy, Hafiz and his Chinese classmate, Kahoe. It shows the obvious prejudice of Kahoe towards Hafiz who took over his spot of being the top student in his class. Kahoe is under the impression that Hafiz is not so smart because of his race (the generalisation of race) and even reported to the teacher that he cheated. However, when he found out that Hafiz is truly a smart and nice guy who was doing well in school despite a dying mother in the hospital. Kahoe's hate suddenly changed into respect when he accompanied Hafiz during the talentime. The scene of Hafiz singing and playing the guitar; accompanied by Kahoe playing the erhu shows the ideal scene most true Malaysians would want.
There are a few more interesting scenes to highlight but I don't want to give the entire plot away. Watch yourself!
Things to note: I like the symbolic scene of Ganesh's fiancee playfully throwing the white fabric for her wedding attire over Ganesh. This was shown as a flashback after his death. It looks like the body being wrapped in the white fabric. Deep!
Oh, I am still puzzled over this scene: Why were there suddenly babies in diapers around them in the park?
To cut it short, this movie touches the differences in religion which prevents relationships between two persons in love. It also touches the prejudice of other races which prevents friendships to blossom. Here's also another review I found online.
Whatever happens, this is a true glaring fact we are facing in our society today. No matter what happens, we might be friends today; but in the face of survival, everyone will act and side based on their same skin colour, faith and believes. ..
I quote the witch,Ursula who sang this to Ariel in the song, "Poor, Unfortunate Souls" in the Disney movie, Little Mermaid.. “It’s sad but it’s true…”