You know when you’re listening to a song that makes you feel like you’re in the movie of your life? High on emotions, fiddling your hair as you catch yourself sun/stargazing; on the verge of bursting into tears, reminiscing the romance you’ve never had, or craving the notion to be in love.
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You know that feeling when you’re listening to a song and it makes you feel like you’re starring in the movie of your life?  High on emotions, fiddling your hair as you catch yourself sun/stargazing; on the verge of bursting into tears, reminiscing the romance you’ve never had, or craving the notion to be in love. Goosebumps dominating your bare skin, you release a big sigh, motionless and internally damaged, all it does is make you cry.

Photo stills from the movie Idola (2002) courtesy of Astro Citra. 

I just easily described the emotional impact Idola carries as it sends me waves of hope and longing every single time I watch it: overlapping one another, unsure if I’m sad or happy, but I know it’s the good kind of uncertainty, and it’s absolutely pure bliss. Yes, it’s a movie, not a song but it features a song called Selintas Kesan, that has brought serenity to my life. The movie is like a song in itself if this even makes sense.

Anyways, I’m giving you my guarantee that this movie will ruin you, because the purest, most beautiful story takes place.

Idola basically means ‘idol’ in Malay. It is essentially about what goes on behind closed doors of a professional. There’s Elise: a young, rising singer, who stays true to her fans and music. She gains support from her manager, who happens to be her brother, Mukriz.

Trouble arises and the encounter of the main characters intertwine when Nana, Elise’s biggest, biggest fan, gets heavily involved in Elise’s (public and private) life as she ventures out into the scene without her sister’s permission. Her sister, Farah, is a strong-minded and highly organized lawyer who fundamentally believes that young adults in the creative industry have no discipline and no formal education. This fairly conventional judgment is soon dismissed by Mukriz’s positive outlook on the aforementioned distinction, being the mastermind behind most of Elise’s songs, as these two bickers in conversations about love and life which eventually blossoms into a romantic bond.

With all due respect to the current movie scene in Malaysia, I think and feel that movies, ads, music videos, fashion shows, of the 90s/early 2000s were all produced unabashedly with originality and groundbreaking choices that everybody is now committed to resurrecting the oldies.

No major, disheartening spoilers will be disclosed but I will promptly highlight my favorite moments of Idola- each share extra special space in my heart. The relationship between Mukriz and Farah is organic, passionate, and just sweet.

They quite remind me of my parents. My mom is firm, and would forcefully (with good intentions, ofc) feed her three kids when we refuse to eat, with her lips compressed and her eyes widened. Be that as it may, she is diplomatic, witty, just like Farah. My dad is extremely patient, and will practically say yes to anything his three kids asks for. He is incredibly charming, just like Mukriz. Except, Mukriz and Farah don’t have kids but each a younger sibling as mentioned above- to whom they play a parental role. And in a way, they do act as a ‘role model’ or ‘idol’ to their siblings, hence, the title of the movie.

The obvious affection between these two lovebirds is evident during their trip to Cherating with their respective families. As Farah steps out of her villa, she sees Mukriz in the midst of humming a melody into a tape recorder and decides to join him. I feel every single emotion along with her.

The movie version of the song is the only available version the public has access to, as far as one knows, which I had also voluntarily recorded using my phone so that I could listen to it offline wherever and whenever. Some scenes are accompanied by Selintas Kesan, be it an instrumental or a saxophone recording of it, it adds so much spirit to the storytelling and definitely serves a purpose. To avoid repeating myself, the authenticity and dreamy-like element of this movie are similar to what La La Land brings. Selintas Kesan is basically another Mia and Sebastian’s Theme. My heart physically hurts every time I listen to it and La La Land wouldn’t be as great as it already is without its magical soundtrack. Or that scene in A Lot Like Love where Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher are in her car, on a spontaneous road trip, and Amanda starts blasting If You Leave Me Now by Chicago; true love which sometimes just exists and defined at the moment; no words needed but maybe a song will suffice. Again with Idola, the movie doesn’t function without the song, vice versa.

Now, this is the scene where everything falls back into place. After a silly miscommunication between Mukriz and Farah, (and pretty much everyone else), the two talk it out over the phone. However, Mukriz finds it easier to communicate via song lyrics and so, he begins singing a song that translates as a mutual reassurance that as long as they’ve got each other by their side, everything will be okay. Just like the night, they shared at Cherating; leaving their differences aside as they share a moment that could never be forgotten- a pure exchange being captured in its most innocent and simplest form.

The official high-quality track can’t be found anywhere. Literally nowhere. And so, one day I came to rest on my knees, in an emotionally cataclysmic state trying to get the right angle for the best low-quality copy of the song- I gladly pressed record.

But I thought to myself, If I managed to find this one hell of an underrated movie online, I’d be able to find the official recording of the song too. I failed and gave up.