OlaBola – More Than Just a Football Movie
Set for nationwide theatrical release on 28th January 2016
You’ve seen the trailer, you’ve listened to the songs, you’ve watched the music videos. In just a little more than a week, OlaBola, the movie that everyone’s talking about, will kick off in cinemas nationwide.
Yes, OlaBola is a movie that features the beautiful game of football. But it’s also more than that. Much more. It’s about the beautiful people of different cultures in Malaysia. It’s about relationships, family, romance, friendship and what it’s like living in a country where everyone speaks multi languages. It just so happens that sports is what most unites us as a nation. And this is where all those elements in OlaBola converge to give us a heart-warming story of the loves and lives of a group of individuals whose passion for football drives them to make sacrifices for their loved ones and their country.
OlaBola, an original story by director Chiu Keng Guan, follows a team of footballers in the 80s as they struggle to reconcile their family and romantic relationships with their love of football and their odyssey towards international glory.
The hotheaded team captain Taukeh (JC Chee) walks a tough path towards trying to give his girlfriend and his family a better life. The question is, how long can he go on with a life dedicated to football before it all becomes too much? Then there’s Muthu (Saran Kumar) whose relationship with his father is strained because of his football ambitions. Meanwhile, there’s the animated Rahman (Bront Palarae), an aspiring sports commentator whose family is 100% behind him but has to struggle with his own lack of self-confidence.
Then, there’s the individual team members themselves who strive to find the soul of the team despite conflicts and disagreements. Adding to the friction in the team is determined striker Ali (Luqman Hafidz) fighting for a chance to wear the coveted No. 10 jersey.
As with his previous record-breaking blockbuster hit The Journey (2014), Chiu has once again crafted a movie that celebrates the cultural mosaic of Malaysia, and through drama, romance, action and comedy, stirs the emotions and evokes pride in the beauty and harmony of our country. And like in The Journey, Chiu shows us the amazing things people can achieve once they put their differences aside and learn to understand each other.
Also true to Chiu’s style, OlaBola wouldn’t be complete without a few tear-jerking moments and scenes that make the heart swell with emotions.
OlaBola also has cameos by a couple of legendary personalities in local sports that will give audiences a pleasant surprise.
Set in the early 1980s, OlaBola features quite an amount of Visual Effects (VFX) work to make the locations and sets look authentic. The football matches were shot in the historical Stadium Merdeka, and a real 80s-style carnival was constructed specially for the film. The astounding attention to detail extended to even having actors like Saran Kumar – whose character comes from an estate – learn to peel a coconut the traditional way.
Veteran sports personalities were roped in to assist the actors. Bront was helped by famous sports commentator Abdullah Hasim on the finer points of commentary, while Saran was trained by former national goalkeeper Wong Kam Fook.
Chiu spoke with football heroes such as Datuk Soh Chin Aun, Datuk Santokh Singh, Bakri Ibni, James Wong and Hassan Sani, who all generously shared their experiences on and off the pitch, and gave Chiu a richer picture of what it was like back then.
“These veterans are very patriotic, extremely passionate, and they wore the Malaysian flag on their jerseys with great pride,” said Chiu. “Like the characters in the movie, they also had to juggle their day jobs and football. One thing they all have in common is great discipline. They were taught to be punctual, and till today, they still go to their appointments half an hour early.”
The director also met with Karl-Heinz Weigang, who was the coach of Harimau Malaya in 1980, and on whom the character Harry Mountain is based. Even after more than 30 years, Weigang could still remember all the players and their positions.
During filming, the cast really became a team. At the army training to get them in shape, JC and Luqman almost wanted to give up. “I was the oldest among the actors, so I felt the responsibility to set an example to the others. I kept telling myself that to keep myself going,” said JC.
For Saran, it was the hospital scene that posed the biggest challenge, because it required him to cry. “I’m not really the emotional type, so it took me 10 whole minutes to prepare for that,” he said. “Thankfully, the director and crew were very patient.”
OlaBola is truly a Malaysian movie that not only features a multicultural cast but encourages us, Malaysians, to believe again in each other and in the greatness that Malaysia can achieve.
In association with Woo Hoo Pictures, OlaBola is presented and produced by Astro Shaw Sdn Bhd, Multimedia Entertainment Sdn Bhd and Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd, and is set for release in cinemas nationwide on 28th January 2016.
Panasonic and MILO® are the main sponsors while Munchy’s is the co-sponsor of OlaBola. OlaBola merchandise including t-shirts and hoodies are now available on www.3ciety.com.
“Perseverance is the key differentiator between success and failure in our journey through life. We at MILO® are proud to sponsor the OlaBola film as it reflects our long-standing belief of sports being a great teacher of life values. We remain fully committed to advocating learning through sports because of the powerful real-life testimonials we have seen throughout our decades of effort,” said Philomena Tan, Business Executive Manager of MILO®.
Watch the trailer here:
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