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Directed by Yasmin Ahmad
Produced by Ahmad Puad Onah
Written by Yasmin Ahmad
Starring Mahesh Jugal Kishor
Pamela Chong
Ida Nerina
Adibah Noor
Jaclyn Victor
Music by Pete Teo
Cinematography Keong Low
Edited by Raja Affandy
Affandi Jamaludin
Grand Brilliance
Distributed by Cathay-Keris Films
Grand Brilliance
Release dates
  • 25 March 2009 (2009-03-25) (Hong Kong)
  • 26 March 2009 (2009-03-26) (Malaysia)
Running time
120 minutes
Country Malaysia
Language English, Malay, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil, Hindi
Budget RM 1.3 million
Box office RM 420,000

Talentime is a 2009 Malaysian drama film written and directed by Yasmin Ahmad. Yasmin, in her blog, has described it "as a story full of joy and pain, hope and despair, a host of beautifully-written songs, and rich, rich characters".[citation needed] A Hindu open cremation and a scene reminiscent of the 2001 Kampung Medan riots are included in the film.[1]

The film was released on 26 March 2009 in Malaysia and marks Yasmin's last feature film prior to her death on 25 July 2009.[2]


"A music teacher, who is herself a great performer is organising an inter-school talentime. Through the days of auditions, rehearsals and preparations, running up to the big day of the contest, the characters get embroiled in a world of heightened emotions - ambition, jealousy, human comedy, romance, heartbreak - all of which culminate in a day of great music and performances. Yasmin also mentioned that the idea behind Talentime was that as humans, we have to go through a lot of pain and some measure of suffering before we can reach greater heights.[3]

A 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 brain tumor.

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 Hafiz 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, realising 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.


  • Pamela Chong as Melur: An Eurasian girl in the Talentime finals who sings and plays the piano.
  • Mahesh Jugal Kishor as Mahesh: A hearing impaired Indian boy who becomes Melur's love interest.
  • Mohd Syafie Naswip as Hafiz: A Malay boy in the Talentime finals who sings and plays the guitar.
  • Howard Hon Kahoe as Kahoe: A Chinese boy in the Talentime finals who plays the erhu and resents Hafiz.
  • Elza Irdalynna as Mawar: Melur's younger sister.
  • Azean Irdawaty as Embun: Hafiz's mother who is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
  • Harith Iskander as Harith: Melur's comical father.
  • Jit Murad as Ismael: A patient who befriends Embun at the hospital during her final days.
  • Mislina Mustaffa as Melur's mother.
  • Tan Mei Ling as Mei Ling: A Chinese Muslim convert who works as a maid for Melur's family.
  • Ida Nerina as Datin Kalsom: A friend of Melur's mother who distrusts Mei Ling.
  • Adibah Noor as Cikgu Adibah: The teacher in charge of organising the Talentime.
  • Sukania Venugopal as Mahesh's mother.
  • Jaclyn Victor as Bhavani: Mahesh's elder sister who has a penchant for picking on him.

Sharifah Amani was supposed to be cast as Melur in the film. However, due to clash of schedules, she was replaced by Pamela Chong.[4] She did, however, play a role as the 3rd Assistant Director for the film. This would probably mark the first time that Sharifah Amani has played a behind-the-scene role in Yasmin Ahmad's films.


Film score by Pete Teo. Songs include:

  • O Re Piya [Artist: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan]
  • I Go [Artist: Aizat. Written & Produced by Pete Teo]
  • Just One Boy [Artist: Aizat. Written & Produced by Pete Teo]
  • Angel [Artist: Atilia. Written & Produced by Pete Teo]
  • Kasih Tak Kembali [Artist: Atilia. Written by Ahmad Hashim. Produced by Pete Teo]

Original soundtrack album released by Universal Music includes Malay language versions of many of the principal songs in the film including 'Pergi' [I Go], Angel and Itulah Dirimu [Just One Boy]. The song "Ore Piya" was taken from the Bollywood movie, Aaja Nachle. Available online and in shops all over Malaysia.


As in all of Yasmin's previous works, Talentime opens with the Islamic verse Bismillahirahmanirrahim (In the name of God, the most Gracious and most Merciful). Like Muallaf, the verse is displayed in a script different from Arabic in Talentime, i.e. in Tamil - பிஸ்மில்லாஹிர்ரஹ்மானிர்ரஹீம்

Awards and nominations[edit]

22nd Malaysian Film Festival
  • Best Director - Yasmin Ahmad
  • Best Actor - Mahesh (nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Syafie (nominated)
  • Best Screenplay - Yasmin Ahmad
  • Best Original Story - Yasmin Ahmad (nominated)
  • Best Cinematography - Soon Keong (nominated)
  • Best Editing - Affandi Jamaludin (nominated)
  • Best Original Music Score - Pete Teo (nominated)
  • Art Direction - Nick (nominated)
  • Best Promising Actress - Jaclyn Victor
  • Special Jury Prize for Implementing Humanitarian Elements In A Motion Picture
23rd Song Champion Awards of Malaysia
  • Winner - Best Song for Pergi by Pete Teo / Amran Omar. Performed by Aizat Amdan


  1. ^ Yasmin Ahmad (26 March 2008). "So now they've met.". The Storyteller. 
  2. ^ Anwar Farinordin (5 August 2009). "COVER STORY: TALENT TIME". NST Online. 
  3. ^ Yasmin Ahmad (15 October 2007). ""Talentime". My new film in the making.". The Storyteller. 
  4. ^ Yasmin Ahmad (15 June 2008). "Who will play the lead girl in "Talentime"?". The Storyteller. 

External links[edit]