I am no kaki bola (literal translation: foot-ball; meaning: football fan) but I watched the locally produced Ola Bola, a semi-fiction on Malaysia’s football team that qualified for the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and enjoyed myself!
It was the first time that I watched a full-length locally produced movie. The only other local movie which I had watched was Bunohan, which, I thought was excellent, but I only caught it on TV and had missed the first half hour or so!
More than being entertaining, Ola Bola is sentimentally inspiring! It can make you teary-eyed! Well, I was. Even hearing the stars share their 30-second air time on why “you’ll believe again” — their advertising tagline — moved me and motivated me to see it!
It is a simple but moving story of how the Malaysians of different ethnic backgrounds in the national football team gave their best to make it to the Moscow Olympics. They succeeded, beating South Korea but the team did not go to Moscow because Malaysia that year boycotted the Moscow Olympics.
It is a story that tugs at your heart-strings because whatever race you are, you can relate to the characters. What warms your heart is to see Malaysians of various races working together despite the problems and issues for the good of the nation.
Malaysians are apparently flocking to the cinemas to see this movie. The Star reported today that it has grossed RM12 million after three weeks of showing. It is still showing so we’ll know soon if it breaks the box office record.
Ola Bola is food for thought for all Malaysians. At a time like now, maybe, we need to see the reenactment of specific instances in our common history when we, no matter what our backgrounds, came together for the well-being of the nation. Yes, a movie like that will make you believe again!