In English/Malay/Tamil with Malay and English Subtitles
Director: Yasmin Ahmad
Cast: Mahesh Jugal Kishor,
Howard Hon Kahoe,
Mohd Shafie Naswip, Mislina Mustafa, Harith Iskander, Sukania Venugopal, Elza Irdalyna,
Tan Mei Ling
RunTime: 2 hrs
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films and Lighthouse
Rating: PG (Some Coarse language)
Official Website: http://www.talentimethemovie.com/
Opening Day: 22 October 2009
talent search competition has matched two hearts - that of
Melur, a Malay-mixed girl and an Indian male student, Mahesh.
Melur, with her melodious voice, singing whilst playing the
piano is one of the seven finalists of the Talentime competition
of her school organised by Cikgu Adibah. Likewise Hafiz, enthralling
with his vocalist talent while playing the guitar, dividing
his time between school and mother, who is hospitalised for
It all started after Mahesh, amongst the students assigned
to get the finalists to school for practice, delivered the
notice of successful audition to Melur's house. His handsome
looks attracted the girl. Early on of their relationship,
tragedy struck Mahesh's family when his uncle Ganesh who had
been the care-taker of the family since the loss of Mahesh's
father, was stabbed to death on his wedding day. Melur thinking
that Mahesh's silence was due to his grief over the tragedy
became furious when she was continuously ignored. She regretted
it however after Hafez revealed Mahesh's situation.
That changed Melur's perception of Mahesh. Likewise Mahesh,
who grew comfortable with the presence of the girl who often
quotes beautiful poetry. Mahesh, realizing that the relationship
will be opposed, kept it hidden from his mother,still grieving
over the death of Ganesh. Alas, the secret was exposed and
Mahesh was assaulted before Melur's very eyes. Just a day
before the competition, is Melur resilient enough to sing
the poetic lyrics of her song when her heart is tormented
by the thoughts of Mahesh? What about Mahesh who has found
his first love? On Talentime night, everything unfolds.
Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad once said that she hoped
to stop making movies after her seventh directorial feature.
Talentime, unfortunately, was her sixth and last movie. In
July 2009, the talented director passed on a few days after
collapsing at a TV3 meeting. She was still in pre-production
on two other movies, “Wasurenagusa”, a Japanese
collaboration and “Go Thaddues!”, which would
have been a Singapore production. This reviewer feels that
somehow, if you put all her commercials together, you might
get the seventh feature that she was talking about.
running into trouble and at times, courting controversy with
the Malaysian Board of Film Censors, she was revered in other
places around the world. She won awards in places like Berlin,
made Cannes fall in love with her now famous advert, Tan Hong
Ming in Love and gaining pretty much a strong following in
Singapore. This movie, Talentime, also garnered her a posthumous
award for Best Director at the recent Malaysian Film Festival.
movie is a departure from the director’s unofficially
named Orked Trilogy – 3 movies (Rabun, Sepet & Gubra)
which revolved around the lives of characters who were directly
linked to her family members. Afterall, the very reason why
Yasmin made movies in the first place were for her parents.
Talentime is about a bunch of school students who come from
different walks of life who are all directly or indirectly
involved with the school’s seventh annual Talentime.
has always made movies about people and through her stories,
she had hoped that people who watched her movies would learn
how to live life. She has created works where her characters
are normal people who do normal things like falling in love,
whether it is between children or people of different races.
Yet, she paints her movies with such sentimentality that even
clichés become heartwarming and endearing tales which
have left a lasting impression. In Talentime, Malaysia’s
multi-racial population is represented in the form of a modern
Malay-Eurasian family, a traditional Indian and Chinese family
and a heart-wrenching relationship between a Malay boy and
(Pamela Chong) is a finalist of her school’s Talentime
and as part of the event arrangements, Mahesh (Mahesh Jugal
Kishor) is the designated motorbike rider who has to ferry
her to and from rehearsals. Initially angered at the shy boy’s
refusal to respond to her, she discovers that he is deaf and
mute and the two fall in love. Mahesh on the other hand, tries
to avoid letting his very traditional mother from finding
out about this forbidden relationship. Hafiz (Shafie Naswip),
a new boy in the school has been topping the class and this
is viewed with disdain by the top student, Kahoe (Hon Kahoe),
who feels threatened by Hafiz and believes he is cheating.
Hafiz, though surprised by this has bigger things to worry
about and that is his ill mother who has been hospitalized
with a tumour.
In all honesty, this is not Yasmin’s best work but it
is a pretty commendable one. The way Yasmin has infused tragedy
and comedy together in Talentime has become a trademark of
hers but it felt like she was bringing out the big guns in
this one. She does not shy away from touching on racial misconceptions
which provide us with the funny touches and yet, she is able
to deftly handle death in as tender a form as possible.
the acting may be far from even (she did afterall cast virtual
unknowns for most of the main roles) and the editing on this
one a little too messy for this reviewer’s liking, there
is still a lot to like in the movie. For one, the songs that
she has chosen, which includes several by her longtime collaborator,
Pete Teo, are apt for every scene she places them in. And
in the end, when two of the leads perform the emotional song,
“I Go”, this reviewer cannot help but think that
she had placed the song at the end on purpose, as a form of
will tickle your funny bone, make you blush reminiscing your
own love life and make you cry your heart out. In essence,
doing what every Yasmin Ahmad movie will do and have done
to you. Most importantly, long after the credits have rolled
and the lights have come on, her works will continue to linger
in our memory, hopefully, for as long as we remember her.
you for the memories Yasmin Ahmad. We will miss you.
(Talentime grabs at your heart and will linger in
your minds for a very long time)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri