It was one of those usual Teh Tarik sessions we had, UU explained about this new gig that they're doing, people listen and after the usual on the fly documentation which is somewhat similar to a Multi Level Marketing meetup, naturally of course, like how rojak goes well with cendol, after the serious business we move on to the talking cock session.
Catching up, cracking jokes and the usual glances at some hot leggy chick that walks by, it was the usual hangout night with good friends atmosphere, standard. However, in between the jokes and friendly insults, one particular thing did caught my attention and it was when UU described what it means to be a Hero, a Heroine and a Villain. You see UU and ZZ recently went to this script writing course in FINAS and in one of the classes they had to define on what it means to be the main characters in a Malay movie. To sell a script you need to have a good story and to have a good story you need good characters.
Let me rephrase that again, to sell a script you need a story that people will buy and to have that you need characters that can easily be commercialised. The best way to sell a character of course is something that one can always relate to, or at least have the fantasy of relating. So before UU and ZZ start writing their best selling multi million dollar script, first they have to define on what it means to be a Hero, a Heroine and a Villain in the context of a Malay movie and this is what they came up with.
HERO - Someone who does stupid things (buat kerja bodoh), doing things the hard way or a person who does non sensible things. For example, let's take Rambo, in Rambo 4, Rambo went into the jungles of Myanmar facing a battalion of Burmese soldies because some missionary christian chick (who probably practices abstinence) touched his hand and that's it. Rambo masuk hutan, Rambo bunuh askar Burma, Awek terkejut tengok darah, awek nangis, awek peluk boyfriend dia, Rambo kecewa, Rambo balik kampung, THE END. How about Malay movies, look at almost all of P Ramlee movies, Kassim Selamat goes blind for love, Hang Tuah is the epic idiotic noble warrior while Sarjan Hassan goes deep in the Jungle waging a guirella war with the occupying Japanese for the sake of... Err... British colonisers.
HEROINE - A dreamer, loves fantasy and at the same time hard headed. She must marry and love that mat rempit, that lorry driver, she must not succumb to the pressure of her parents who although gives quite solid and sensible arguments, just don't understand the meaning of true love. She will wait patiently (Sabar) for that irresponsible husband/boyfriend who will someday, through the power of prayers, return on to the right path and 'insaf'. Eg Nur Kasih, in the drama her husband didn't love her, was forced to marry her, ran away, married an Australian chick, things don't go well with that chick so he ran back to Malaysia, had an affair with Nur without telling her that he's married, left his sick australian wife because he can't stand her, then there's this huge load of drama and somehow through the power of prayers and love, husband get's back with Nur, became pious and his Australian wife dons an Obedient Wives Club outfit and conviniently dies of cancer, which is somewhat a blessing for Nur.
VILLAIN - Someone who is sensible, realistic and pragmatic. Joker in Dark Night thought hey why do I work hard when I can just rob some money and be rich quickly, saving Gotham? Why so serious? They couldn't give a crap about you anyway. Darth Vader thought the best way to unite the universe is to obliterate all annoying rebelling systems while Hang Jebat thought why in the world should I listen to this stupid Sultan when I can take over his place, after all I am invincible thanks to Taming Sari. Why should I listen to the king when I can be king!
It made perfect sense to me and for a moment UU was like that travelling poet who tells far off stories and legends, he was like a wandering philosopher who gives out wisdom after years of meditation in some remote mountain, for a moment I had an ephiphany.
You see, these defenition, these characters dont only exist in movies, they actually exists in real life. Though not as clear as in the movies, these characters exists around us and chances are we are playing that role. Now I'm not going to write some long winded in depth argument regarding this matter, however I would like to present you this simplistic scenario as a conclusion.
The Hero is that person who keeps on pursuing for some idealistic cause, he keeps doing things the hard way on chasing his love because he thinks that through chivalry and hard work she will finally see his true quality, while on the other hand this heroine who keeps falling for that guy who is a douche and keeps cheating on her because she believes that deep in his heart there is good. While the villains are the ones that these two characters fall for, they're not neccescarily bad or evil it's just that it's nice for him to have a chick who cares and adores him while on the female side, she thinks that it's nice having free meals at fancy restaurants while having someone listen to you complain about things.
Of course, love isn't the only way to represent these characters, you can translate it into work, society or any sort of social engagements. But since we're talking about Malay dramas and movies, I thought that perhaps this scenario would be the best that we can relate to.
And so, as I facepalm thanks to this realisation of mine, I bid you good night, godspeed and of course the usual Dream A Little Dream of Me.
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