I don’t watch local TV, but I watched the first 3 episodes of the Tamil TV show, Vyjayanthi and captured some screen shots of it to show you. I had to watch this moment of cross-cultural television history. I was very impressed by the young actress Silver Ang. She got all the Indian mannerisms down pat including the, side-down-side, head bobbling that means ok. She also delivered an emotional performance that was supported by a very strong cast. The actors who play the parents convey genuine love for their adoptive child Vyjayanthi. Silver was totally adorable too with her deep dimples and I think she’s got a whole load more of fans now.
Love the eye rolling bit by the pretty Indian actress during the opening credits. I am guessing a nasty sister-in-law who will appear in future episodes to add to the drama?
I found myself tearing at parts especially when the brutality towards the Chinese was depicted during World War II and they faced the wrath of the Japanese soldiers. It was pretty scary to watch, but heart-warming to see how close Singaporean neighbours who lived in kampongs used to be. They make the artificiality of a racial harmony day seem so silly.
A teacher of mine told us she could not forgive the Japanese as she saw her Chinese neighbour beheaded with his head placed on a stick as a warning to others. I just couldn’t comprehend it. I may be old, but not that old, so that war is something so removed for me.
Even my parents were too young to recall anything. My dad was just a toddler and I recall stories that he told me of hiding under the stair-case during the air raids. I take so much for granted and I just can’t imagine the terror of living through a war. No matter how much I gripe, I take peace for granted. It’s really a stroke of luck to be born at the right time.
Back to Silver and the cast. I think you all did a fantastic job and it makes me proud of the quality of local TV. I never thought I would be saying this. The only critique is that the pace is a little slow, but great performances. The set, the costumes all so authentic. The sari that Silver wears is like the one my grandmother wore when she was young. Checkered and striped saris were in fashion then. In a scene the mother sprays insecticide around the house and my mum said it was how she remembered it. No aerosol cans then, just a pump-like device.
The most touching scenes were when the child was totally loved by the adoptive parents as their own and they were so afraid to lose her when the war was over that they never revealed to her that she was adopted. It makes me think of all the children that lost their parents during the war and were adopted into loving families.
I am glad I started an additional blog that will make me learn more about Singapore and her history through self research. I am glad I was taught ancient history in school (the oldest civilizations), but I think theses days kids are taught Singapore history instead. In my opinion, a bit of both should be taught. History is just fascinating to me.
I will leave you with a video of Silver Ang to show you how different she looks in real life and how she morphed for her role. Also included a trailer of Vyjayanthi that she uploaded on her YouTube Channel. If you don’t understand Tamil there are English subtitles, but I am not certain if the subtitles alone can convey the depth of the emotions. It might be a bit of a lost in translation situation. Silver does not have to speak Tamil as her character is mute, but she does an excellent job with her facial expressions and body language.
You can read my previous post about the ground breaking TV show here.