An Analysis of the Scene 'Tanya Sama Hati' in Anakku Sazali (by P Ramlee)



I do not have many Eureka! moments in my life, but this is definitely one of them. I was watching a youtube video of the part where the two lead characters sang the song 'Tanya Sama Hati' (Ask the Heart), and I was hit by a sudden whirlwind of thoughts. It was so exciting that my mind began racing and racing! Was this how scientists felt when they discovered something new? haha..

While in the past I only viewed the video casually and for fun, this time I began to see and appreciate the so many little nuances that are evident in this tiny scene, so much so that I now begin to appreciate that films could be so symbolic and powerful, not just mere things captured on film.

The thing that struck me most about this scene was that basically this scene is about MATURITY, and it could be seen in all the elements in the film:

1) From children to adults - Okay this is the most obvious one
2) From lousy violin playing to skilled
3) From day to night - How symbolic is that?!?! I thought that was just for fun!
4) From lesser plants to more plants/shrubs - Again, symbolism!
5) But the most profound symbol that signifies change and maturity in this scene definitely lies in the music (even though the music for both 'young' and 'old' is essentially the same!).

Let me explain:

1) Notice the childish lyrics during the 'young' scene compared to the 'adult' scene:

Young Scene
Tanya pada pokok,apa sebab goyang? (Ask the tree, why do you shake?)
Nanti jawab pokok, angin yang goncang (Then the tree would answer, 'the wind shook me')
Tanya sama langit, apa sebab hujan? (Ask the sky, why does it rain?)
Nanti jawab langit, tanyalah awan (Then the sky would answer, ask the clouds)

Adult Scene
Tanya sama hati, apa asal sayang? (Ask the heart, where does love originate?)
Adakah tandanya, nampak dipandang? (Could the signs be seen?)
Kumbang rayu bunga, bulan dan bintangnya (The ladybug and the flower, the moon and its star)
Punya tanda-tanda hubungan mesra (Show the signs of a loving relationship)

Notice the 'maturing' transition of the content of the song, from asking the tree and sky frivolous questions, to asking the heart about deeper questions regarding one's feelings.


2) The music is VERY different:

Although both the 'young' and 'adult' scenes have EXACTLY THE SAME melodic lines, the two songs which are sung during the two scenes are very different. This is also done in order to show the maturation of the characters.

For example, the music during the 'young' scene is more upbeat. Notice the rhythmic-style singing by the children, almost like chanting out the words like a nursery rhyme. Compare this singing style to the 'adult' scene where the singing style is more flowing and legato. MATURITY!

Another example: the instrumentation!
Notice in the 'young' scene there are prominent 'upbeats' in the music, thus creating a happy atmosphere, almost like a pseudo-march. and also notice the strings that are also playing the melodic lines are the lower-pitched strings. NOW, compare this to the 'adult' scene, there is a radical transformation in the arrangement! The strings that are playing the melodic lines are playing a higher pitch. I'm not sure if this is musical maturity, but it makes the melody sound stronger, so I guess in a way it is a form of maturity. Also notice the introduction of the gendang (drums) in the 'adult' scene, further adding to the 'weight' and feel of the music.

I have never analyzed a scene in a film so thoroughly before, but I feel like a discoverer now waiting to see what 'treats' lay in store in the films that I watch. Films are amazing mediums and I hope that I would be able to truly appreciate their worth. Love it!

9 comments:

izad said...

appreciate your simple but meticulous analysis!Good Job!

Anonymous said...

You just touched the surface of the genius and creativity of Malay films of that genre...all lost at Ampas Singapore......films are powerful....but they need a free environment such as that in Hollywood and maybe Mumbai to flourish....

Singapore with the Shaw brothers once possesed such a place in the Malay Archipelago that brought Indonesians, Malays, Indians and Chinese producers, directors, lyricist, musicians, etc together to create such an environment of creativity that brought forth this song in Anakku Sazali......it was also an environment where our own P. Ramlee shone and was head and shoulders above the pack...such was his talent...such was his genius..All of which was lost when Ampas closed and Shah proposed Merdeka Studios in Ulu Klang....the graveyard of the Malay film industry....

You want such creativity, ,music, stories, lyrics to flourish again....the Malay movie industry needs to move back to Singapore or even Madras.....until such time....there will be only one P. Ramlee

misslulu said...

wow...i stumbled upon your blog by chance..as i was googling the lyrics to this song for a children performance and im impressed with ur analysis.
very enlightening =)

qutr3x said...

nice job.. i've nvr seen it da way u describe here.... its juz da lyric dat i'm interested in... dis is great ^_^

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