Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Isnin, Mac 23, 2009

#316. Hype : Lucky break for Mahesh [Talentime 2009]

Silence is golden: Mahesh (Mahesh) and Melur (Pamela Chong) have a quiet moment in Talentime.

First-time actor Mahesh Jugal Kishor nets a major role playing a deaf guy in Yasmin Ahmad’s Talentime.IT’S a shot in a thousand, really, but it’s the kind of story that dreams are made of. Mahesh Jugal Kishor was having lunch at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur when he was spotted by an artiste manager who asked him if he’d be interested in acting.While the 19-year-old is more keen on a career revolving around engineering and information technology, his response to the acting offer was, “Why not?”

As Mahesh would find out later, that particular offer was even more remarkable because it was for one of the leading roles in Yasmin Ahmad’s film Talentime, which features three teenagers with different backgrounds and personalities as protagonists.Mahesh soon found himself having lunch with Yasmin, Ho Yuhang and Pete Teo.

“We talked about everything else but the movie,” recalled Mahesh.

“Then before she left, Yasmin simply told me, ‘You’re in’. I was shocked. When I asked her, if she was sure, she said, ‘yes’.”

While Mahesh didn’t have any problems getting the acting gig, he did have initial difficulty getting into character. Understandably so; for his very first role he has to portray a teen who is deaf.

“Learning sign language was a challenge,” said Mahesh, who is currently doing his Diploma in IT at Asia Pacific University College of Technology and Innovation in Bukit Jalil.

“I met with deaf people to get an idea (of their world). What I’ve learned from communicating with them is that they have so much more emotions and expressions, it’s amazing. The best thing when talking to them is to see all the expressions on their faces.”

To help him re-configure how to protray his character’s emotions just through facial expressions and body language, Mahesh wore earplugs for a while.

He got the hang of things during rehearsals, and managed his character well when the cameras rolled.

He added: “The other actors really helped me a lot.” A lot of his scenes were shared with stage actress Sukania Venugopal, and newcomers Jaclyn Victor and Pamela Chong.

According to Yasmin, what she looks for in any talent is charisma, a trick she said she picked up from a Czech director, Jirí Menzel. Well, it’s a method that has worked well for her, especially for Talentime.

Established actors such as Sukania, Adibah Noor, Jit Murad, Azean Irdawaty, and newcomers Mahesh, Chong, Syafie Naswip, Hon Kahoe and Victor lend appealing interpretations to the characters they play. Yasmin said: “What you see in this movie is what any of us sees every day.”

Talentime starts with a group of teachers auditioning students for a one-night performance, in which the winner gets a cash prize. A group of male students with motorbikes are chosen to send the contestants from their house to the school for rehearsals and the performance night.

Through this arrangement, the most unlikely people come together to discover that differences can be set aside, and new friendships forged, finding common ground.

One story revolves around Mahesh, who comes from a family steeped in traditional values. His life becomes entangled with a Muslim girl whose family comprises many races.

Another interesting subplot revolves around Hafiz (Syafie) and Kahoe (Hon), two classmates who are direct opposites. Yasmin said: “The story is not about the competition, but about friendship.”

Mahesh is no stranger to the majmuk (plural society) concept that exists in Malaysia.

Besides becoming fast friends with his co-stars, his mother is of Indian and Chinese parentage and speaks several languages.

As for Mahesh, he tried to learn all the other languages but ended up mastering only English and Gujerati (his father is Gujerati).

With such a solid theme, Talentime promises to engage the audience in tears and laughter. For Mahesh, the ultimate challenge was in invoking raw emotions during an especially touching scene with his on-screen mother – take after take for different camera angles.

Mahesh said: “The crew was very understanding and gave me as much time as I needed to get ready for that scene.”

Although he’s certain that acting is only a part-time venture for him, he is nonetheless curious to see what happens after Talentime.

Unleash your talent

SILKYGIRL and GUA (gua.com.my) are working together to organise a talent-search contest in conjunction with the release of Yasmin Ahmad’s film, Talentime.

So if you are talented in singing, dancing or playing musical instruments, here’s your chance to “Unleash Your Talent”. You may choose any of the three categories you wish to participate in, record a short video of it and upload it onto www.gua.com.my/peraduantalentime

Those who make the grade will receive Silkygirl products as well as cash prizes of up to RM15,000. For more information, log on to www.gua.com.my/talentime

SILKYGIRL and Grand Brilliance are organising a special screening of Talentime tomorrow (March 24). To find out how you can win free movie passes to this exclusive screening, just log on to www.silkycosmetics.com.

Talentime opens in cinemas nationwide this Thursday.

Source : The Star

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