Rise: Ini Kalilah is film was inspired by the events of GE14, and will be released in cinemas on September 13.
Made in just 100 days, you’ve probably seen the trailer, shared widely on social media.
The premise of the film is how Malaysians from all walks of life participated in their own way and made history on that day.
However, if you have been trawling through the internet the past few days, the general reception to the movie has been lukewarm at best, with some saying that the film should be titled “Lain Kalilah” (which means “next time”).
I’m not going to rehash what other reviews have said, but instead, rather than focusing on the main plot, I wanted to take a look at 3 side characters that most will probably overlook. I feel that they actually play a significant and symbolic role in events of the film and in that, mirror reality.
They might not have even gotten many lines (or even any), but they stood out to me. Not everyone gets to be a hero, but everyone has a part to play.
I’ll try to keep it spoiler-free, but we all know how it ends.
1) Sharifah Sakinah As A Policeman’s Wife
Remy Ishak’s character who is a policeman has a wife and two kids who are in a tough financial situation. His wife, who is played by Sharifah Sakinah, is a loving and compassionate mother and wife. However, in the middle of the film, her husband begins to get richer as he begins to take bribes and help politicians do the dirty work.
She could have easily devolved into the nagging and angry wife archetype, sniping away at her husband as he does what he thinks is necessary. However, instead of going down that route, her character remains calm.
Embodying the statement of “make love not war”, instead of getting mad she makes sure to remind him of what they work hard for—their kids.
This is very reflective of the attitudes many Malaysians held in the lead up to GE14. They wanted change, they didn’t like what was going on, but instead of taking to the streets in riots, they chose to react peacefully, yet firmly.
And this brought about the change that so many had longed for.
2) Farhanna Qismina As The Spark Of The #PulangMengundi Movement
The next side character we will focus on is Mira Filzah’s roommate who actually sparks the #PulangMengundi movement. The both of them are Malaysian students who are currently studying in London. They were facing the issue of getting their postal votes late and were thinking of solutions on how to get it back to the country in time.
The #PulangMengundi movement which means “return to vote” in Bahasa Melayu was a movement where those in need of financial assistance—predominantly students—took to social media platforms to seek help from fellow Malaysians to bring their postal votes back here.
This aspect of the film clearly highlighted the major role social media played in GE14. Social media served as a neutral meeting ground that brought everyone together. It also helped with cross-border communications and without social media, we might have had a different outcome.
Farhanna Qismina’s character also remind us that no matter how far we are from our home, Malaysia still is where we’re from and we should never forget our roots. This signifies the togetherness of Malaysians: no matter how far they are from the country, they are still willing to carry out their responsibilities.
3) The Kid Who Threw Eggs
Another side character whose presence has extra significance was a scene-stealing young boy. He was a bystander when a bunch of kampung folks were scolding teenagers who were dismantling opposition party flags. However the person in charge of the teenagers just paid off some of the villagers with bribes of RM50 to make them shut up.
Some villagers didn’t take the bribe and were still persistent. The police were involved, but they stood by and only asked everyone to disperse and pretend that nothing is wrong.
The kid who had been watching everything decided to take action and throws an egg at the police car, signifying his discontentment with the policemen who didn’t carry out their duties. This is symbolic of the younger generation who have a voice and that they are willing to stand up for what they believe is right and wrong.
This was also seen in reality where the youth came out in droves to voice their concerns against corruption during the Bersih rallies, and they were also a key deciding factor during GE14. The government of the day should not take the youth for granted.
They have a voice, and some are willing to move for change. And something else for ruling parties to keep in mind: youth are likely to switch their support to parties that present better suggestions for growth and progress.
Contrast that with one of the other youths in the same scene, who was actively helping to take down the opposition flags for payment.
He probably wasn’t old enough to vote, but his presence is significant because of the question raised: if the younger generation is so easily swayed, what happens when they grow up and have the right to vote and shift our nation? What will drive and motivate them, and will these be the right reasons?
Rise: Ini Kalilah is definitely not a movie with as much international appeal like say, Ola Bola. The target audience is clearly Malaysians who lived through GE14, and resonate with the emotional highs and lows of that season.
Although there were certain scenes that made me cringe, there were others where I was rooting for the characters on-screen, even though I knew how it was all going to end. Special mention should be given to Remy Ishak and the writing behind his character, which was both believable and very watchable.
At the end of the day, I think we should look past the cheesy plots and characters and agree to disagree about how the film turned out.
For a movie being filmed and produced in such a short time, I would say they did a pretty good job. I personally would give the movie a 7/10.
Feature Image Credit: Rise: Ini Kalilah