Comments by Wong Lung Hsiang
Director: P.L. Kapur
Year Released: 1959
The film starts with a flashback of a group of high school or college students, who are cycling in a park, singing a song about youth's role in building the society and how to achieve independence for the country (Singapore became an autonomous state in the same year the film was released, two years after they [errmmm, I'm a Malaysian by nationality] failed to gain indepedence from the United Kingdom along with Malaya). However, the entire movie has nothing to do with such a vision. It is about a crime of passion, replete with melodrama which is more coincidence than (plausible) plot-driven. As the story is too simple, the filmmakers had to pad it up to fill the 100-120 minutes that was expected of most of the Malay movies of that time. Hence they added in some song sequences (not even musical sequences) - that seem to materialize out of nowhere ... check out this scene: after the female lead breaks the news of her pregnancy, the entire family celebrates it by patronizing a Chinese restaurant (is it because of product placement because I thought those Chinese restaurants don't offer Halal [Muslim] food?) ... they listen to two very beautiful Malay songs [one of them is Bangawan Solo ... it has stirred me to hunt for CDs of Malays songs of that era] and they dance, but nothing happens and at the end they just return home.
"Welcome to the crowd!" a fellow audience member said to me when I entered the cinema hall. The crowd comprised of six audience members, one of whom was a Caucasian. Judging from the laughter at the dialogue, I can tell all of us [including me] understood Malay, as the film is not subtitled!