Mahesh Jugal Kishor and Pamela Chong in ‘Talentime’.

TALENTIME, a film directed by the late Yasmin Ahmad, is set to debut in Japan this month, eight years after its release in local cinemas.

It will open in Tokyo and Osaka cinemas beginning March 25.

Talentime was produced by Chilli Pepper Films and Grand Brilliance Sdn Bhd. It premiered in local cinemas on March 26, 2009, and was Yasmin’s last feature film prior to her death on July 25 that year.

The screening in Japan marks the first time the film is being shown in international cinemas, other than in Singapore, Brunei and at film festivals.

Primeworks Studios chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Izham Omar said: “We are proud to have this gem of a movie screened in Japan.

“The world was a better place when the late Yasmin made her movies. Her influence on Malay-sian cinema is still felt after all these years. My fondest memory of her was seeing her speak at a seminar called ‘Fearless’.

“Her words then have guided my work until today: If you do something that touches your heart, then you are able to touch someone else’s heart.”

Yasmin’s sister, Datin Orked Ahmad, also expressed her gratitude, saying: “I feel proud and honoured that Yasmin is remembered and loved for her work.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Japanese people and Primeworks Studios for granting the funds for her and her team to make this movie.

“Thank you for keeping her legacy alive.”

Talentime tells the story of a high school talent search competition that brings together two people — a Malay-British girl, Melur (Pamela Chong), and an Indian male student, Mahesh (Mahesh Jugal Kishor).

Melur, who has a melodious voice and sings while playing the piano, is one of the seven finalists of the Talentime competition organised by Cikgu Adibah (Adibah Noor).

Hafiz (Syafie Naswip), who is as good a singer as he is with the guitar, divides his time between school and caring for his mother, who is hospitalised with a brain tumour.

During training sessions, they face challenges and questions about belief, racism, love and life.

Yasmin described Talentime as “a story full of joy and pain, hope and despair, beautifully-written songs and rich characters”.

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