Publicity Stills of "Gubra"
(Courtesy from Lighthouse Pictures)

Sepet - List of Awards

Best Asian Film Award


1. Best Film - Sepet
2. Best Supporting Actress – Ida Nerina
3. Most Promising Actress – Sharifah Amani Yahya
4. Most Promising Actor – Ng Choo Seong
5. Best Poster - Sepet
6. Best Original Story – Yasmin Ahmad



Genre: Drama
Director: Yasmin Ahmad
Starring: Sharifah Amani Yahya, Adlin Aman Ramlie, Ida Nerina Hussein, Harith Iskander Musa, Adibah Noor, Alan Yun, Nam Ron, Noorkhiriah Ahmad Shafie, Roziwati Mohd Rashid
RunTime: -
Released By: GV & Lighthouse Pictures
Rating: PG

Official Website: www.gubra.com.my

Opening Day: 2 March 2006

Synopsis :

Gubra [Anxiety] tells a story of love and forgiveness, its possibilities and the hopes it brings. Essentially there are two stories which parallel each other, the first is the continuation of Orked’s (Sepet’s protagonist) life while the second tells the story of a muezzin; Pak Bilal Li and his efforts to assist two prostitutes in finding redemption for themselves and their families.

Seven years after Jason/Ah Loong (Ng Choo Seong), Orked (Sharifah Amani Al-Yahya) is now married to a much older guy, Arif (Adlin Aman Ramlie). Everything seems ideal in their marriage at first glance; Arif loves Orked to bits and theirs seem like a match made in heaven.

One fateful morning, Orked is awakened by a distressing phone call from Mak Inom (Ida Nerina Hussain) with news that Pak Atan (Harith Iskander Musa) has become catatonic due to diabetic complications. Orked rushes to her parents’ house, to find Pak Atan unresponsive and ill; Mak Inom and Annuar the family driver are hysterical. Kak Yam (Adibah Noor), the family maid however is rather calm and collected. After some chaos, they take Pak Atan to the hospital. There, Orked bumps into Alan (Alan Yun), Jason’s elder brother. His father, Pa (Thor Kah Hoong) has also been hospitalized. As the film develops, we witness the friendship between Alan and Orked flourish, to Arif’s apprehension. Perhaps because for Orked, Alan is a link to her first love.

Throughout the film we are also introduced to another ‘family’. The muezzin or Pak Bilal (Shahili Abdan aka Namron) heads an institution of sorts; consisting of his wife, Kak Maz, their 7 year-old child, two prostitutes, Temah and Kiah (Juliana Ibrahim), as well as Temah’s son, Shahrin and a mysterious gambler named Ki, played here by Khir Rahman.

Pak Bilal is portrayed as a non-judgmental and religious man whose way of ‘preaching’ is most unconventional. A family man, Pak Bilal chooses to surround himself in a community that seems lost, and lacking in hope, love and trust. They’re vivacity in this film is in direct opposite from Orked’s thus the audience is invited to observe the diversity between the two sets.

The story then unfolds into a web of deceit and heartbreak. Orked finds out that her husband has been cheating on her; Temah’s is diagnosed with a serious illness, Ki meets his illegitimate son under dismaying circumstances. Kak Yam falls for a hospital attendant named Pengki, to Annuar’s dismay, whilst taking care of Pak Atan in the ward and Kiah, the young prostitute is killed accidentally.

In Gubra, Yasmin has chosen to compare a conventional and rather stable family, which is forced to adapt to recent and surprising issues; with the unconventional and improvised group that makes up Pak Bilal’s family of sorts. Who are continually being challenged by the adversities in life. The dramas of these events and the difference in approach as portrayed by these two groups in adapting and overcoming these very real trials is what makes Gubra an entertaining multi-layered examination of human behavior and social perception.

Movie Review:

In the Malay language, the word Gubra is used to describe the feeling of anxiety. The same word could probably be used to describe the anticipation and pressure the release of the film might have on those involved. Afterall, its predecessor, Sepet, a Malaysian film that did not seem to fit the mould of its peers had managed to garner critical acclaim at international festivals. The marvel in question, who probably has a cult following of her own after Sepet, is none other than Yasmin Ahmad.

In this outing, Yasmin has chosen to reunite with the bulk of her original cast which includes the leading lady, Sharifah Amani, Harith Iskandar, Ida Nerina and Adibah Noor to name a few. Joining the gang are also the multi-talented Adlin Aman Ramlie and model, Alan Yun.

If anyone has any preconceived notions that Gubra will be just as light to watch as Sepet was, please leave them at the door. Unlike Sepet, Gubra has two concurrent stories. The first revolves around Orked’s family seven years after Jason and the second is about a muezzin and his tiny village community. Gubra is about love, hurt and forgiveness, all of which are represented by the two different “families”.

In Orked’s tale, she has presumably gotten over Jason and married an older man, Arif. Her family’s world is then rocked upside down when her father, Pak Atan takes ill and has to be hospitalized. At the hospital, she stumbles upon Alan, Jason’s elder brother, whose father is also in the hospital. Catching up with old times, they form an unlikely friendship. At the same time, Arif himself is seeing someone else much to Orked’s chagrin.

As for the second story, the muezzin, Pak Bilal, leads his community which consists two prostitutes, Kiah, who is constantly abused by her regular customer and Temah, whose son has just started Primary One and suffering from an incurable illness.

While both stories could have been stand alone ones, their combination brings out what probably is Yasmin Ahmad’s wicked sense of humour. Tragedy and comedy are brilliantly interwoven that it often appears to be a marriage of convenience. In doing so, Yasmin Ahmad forces our mind and heart to debate whether to laugh or to sympathize what is happening. A fine example would be the scene where Orked’s family is taking Pak Atan to the hospital.

Similarly, in doing so, Yasmin has also depicted irony in its finest form that you would be left powerless in not knowing whether to gawk or to smile. This is very apparent from the beginning of the film when the muezzin is on his way to the mosque to begin his work and he passes the two prostitutes who are on their way home after a hard day’s night.
Yasmin Ahmad is not only a storyteller, she is also a poet. Should you be searching for a film that would best represent poetry, look no further than any of Yasmin’s films. Look out for hushed moments and little nuances that lift the film in more ways than one. Sometimes it’s in the tiny things our hands do, the way our eyes look at different people or even the most menial of things like signage or posters that can touch the strings of our heart and snap them into pieces.

While there are two parallel stories, there are smaller tales of love which join each other in making Gubra like a comforting quilt. Sure, there would be those who feel that Yasmin’s attempt to piece these stories together to be a confusing one because sometimes we are the biggest cynics of our own love life that we cannot look beyond others’.

While Gubra starts off lightly, it slowly deteriorates into a web of every human emotion imaginable. It will make you laugh as it will make you cry when you realize that sometimes, we are all not that different afterall.

P.S. Do not leave the theatre until the credits have rolled. You will not regret it.

Movie Rating:

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri


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