Malaysian cinema grows up (Ola Bola)

“Goalll Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal!”

Only Hindi movies can make me cry. I am always prepared with a packet of tissues if I am about to watch a Hindi movie. Little did I expect a locally produced movie about a bunch of footballers could have caused me to shed tears, scene after scene. It wasn’t just a movie about some guys in tight shorts running after a ball, it had everything!


Expect drama, suspense, comedy, heart gripping scenes, love, sacrifices and more in Ola Bola. It was an emotional roller coaster ride. It made my heart weep with joy, seeing the togetherness of people from different cultures and background supporting a common cause. We screamed, we cheered, we gasped and sighed loudly, and we even clapped in the cinema. All cinema formalities were forgotten whilst watching Ola Bola. Luckily no one shushed us and after a while we realised, we weren’t the only vocal ones in the crowded cinema.

It made my heart swell up with pride when it showcased how beautiful my home country, Malaysia is. It was filmed in various locations in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor such as Stadium Merdeka, Victoria Institute and the lush greenscapes of Broga Hill. They even went to Perak, Penang, Johor, and Sabah; the train ride between Beaufort and Tenom was something like from an European movie. I know Sabah is famous for its lush green tropical forest and its beautiful sea but the train ride was simply breathtakingly beautiful and unexpected.

If you think Ola Bola is all about football, you are wrong. I feel every Malaysian whether a football fan or not, must make it a point to watch this movie. It is of top quality.

I was transported back to the 1980 through this film. An actual ’80s-style carnival complete with a Ferris wheel, carousel and game stalls were constructed specifically for this film.

Director Chiu Keng Guan did a brilliant job in capturing the emotions of Malaysian football supporters. Although the plot may be fictional but it was still based on a monumental real event in Malaysian football history. The 1980 match between Malaysia and South Korea was replayed in this movie. A vivid picture of how it must have felt being Malaysian football supporters, regardless of race or gender was cleverly incorporated in the scene.

I was just a little girl in the 80’s when this match was being played, a tad too young to comprehend why many Malaysians were glued to their televisions (which was a rare commodity at that time) or listening attentively to the brilliant live football commentary over the radio waves. But I am pretty sure the euphoria the football fans must have felt isn’t so much different than the 1992 Thomas Cup; the final badminton match between Foo Kok Keong of Malaysia vs. Allan Budi Kasuma of Indonesia. I remember how my brothers and sister cheered, screamed, and cursed at the television set. How we hugged and screamed when Malaysia won the Thomas Cup and how elated we were when the PM declared a national holiday to celebrate this victory.

And that’s exactly what Ola Bola will give you.

The attention to details depicting life in the 80’s is worthy of praise. It captured the essence of Malaysians in the 80’s; how we dressed then, the lifestyle many Malaysians lead, the quality of life we had and even the kind of houses we lived in. It showed a harmonious multicultural cast that every Malaysian can relate to. Each with their own personal struggles and conflicting personalities.

Spoiler alert:
This movie focuses around a couple of footballers and their personal struggles. You would laugh and cry at the same time as you follow these characters on their journey to international success. You will learn about the obstacles life had thrown their way and how they succeeded at overcoming it.

It was their love for the game that ultimately taught them the importance of teamwork and need to overcome their differences in order to achieve the same goal. They learned that if they win, they win it together and if they lose, they lose it together. There is no ‘I’ in football. It’s a team game and takes a team to win it. I feel it speaks about R. Arumugam, Mokhtar Dahari, Soh Chin Aun, Santokh Singh, James Wong and Hassan Sani just to name a few. Even the cast selected for this movie hold some resemblances to our National football legends.

Was it worth watching this movie? YES!

If you had watched it, what did you think of it? Do tell

Thank you for stopping by at BeeRaise. If you enjoyed my story why not share it with others & let’s stay connected for more:
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ola bola
Image via Instagram @ain235

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