Aidilfitri ads back to tug at our heartstrings

This year, Aidilfitri commercials are back with some boasting an impressive ensemble

by HARIZAH KAMEL / Pics source: www.youtube.com

ONE of the things that Malaysians of all races look forward to during festive seasons is the TV and YouTube commercials which are always vibrant, entertaining and heart-piercing.

Last year, due to the strict movement restrictions, commercials were scarce and had to resort to animation as most economic sectors, including production houses, were not allowed to operate.

This year, we are in for a treat as Hari Raya Aidilfitri commercials are back with some boasting an impressive ensemble starring Malaysia’s beloved thespians including Namron, Sharifah Amani, Bront Palarae, Aziz M Osman, Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan, Fatimah Abu Bakar, and many more.

Here is a look at some of the Aidilfitri offerings for this year to get Malaysians in the festive mood despite being back in lockdown:

“Andaian” by Digi

Digi truly stepped up and presented a powerful and exceptional commercial. The story begins with an existential question: “Is it a sin to make an assumption without truly understanding something?”

Aliyah, played by Sharifah Amani, is a student who is behind her rent and school fees but has decided to come home to help her father, Pak Amin, played by Namron, to run his little grocery shop.

Witnessing her father giving groceries to his customers for free, Aliyah would post on social media, writing more existential questions like “why help others when you cannot even help yourself?”

In the climax, Aliyah has grown frustrated with her father and confronted him to take care of her needs first before anyone else. To her, what her father is doing is unfair and she again took to social media with “I guess it is easier to care for others than for your own flesh and blood”.

The acting in this commercial was sublime. The story showed Aliyah’s rude awakening; she thought she had it worse when others, barely surviving, to even make ends meet for their own family.

Based on the story, we make assumptions because we do not see the bigger picture, we do not walk in other’s shoes and feel the weight of the burden they carry.

The character of Pak Amin saw the bigger picture and strives to help others quietly with what little he has, while the character of Aliyah is too deep in her problems and voicing them loudly on social media for the world to hear.

In the end, Aliyah realised that the very least she could do is to simply help after seeing her father’s little “555” notebook in which he listed those who needed daily essentials.

“Raya Si Sakan” by Maxis

For those who are into documentary-style reminiscing “The Office” series, Maxis Bhd’s fun Aidilfitri ad is the answer.

This is a story about a husband (played by Aziz M Osman) and wife who are looking forward to this year’s festivities. The former bought everything from Raya outfits to new curtains online and interestingly, the commercial showed details of the products including the brands and where they were from.

From what started as something delightful, the wife began to doubt her skills because her husband just bought everything, without asking her to sew the outfits or curtains.

In true Malay drama fashion, the wife even asked her husband: “Don’t you love me anymore?” — over him buying her too many nice things.

The husband’s point of the story, which is to help others. As the duo can afford to spend a little more, there is no harm in helping others to celebrate Aidilfitri as well. The story rings true in that “the more we buy, the more we give”.

“Mangkuk Tingkat Mak Teh” by Saji

Inspired by a true story and in remembrance for those who are no longer with us this Aidilfitri, Saji brand (Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd) introduced viewers to Mak Teh, played by Fatimah Abu Bakar, a wife whose husband, Abang Din, works as an ambulance driver.

She cooks his favourite dishes and sends them by cycling to the hospital where he works so that he can have his meals hot and fresh during the night shift.

However, the sad truth is, Abang Din passed away five years ago but Mak Teh still sends food to the hospital for her husband.

This is a story about a wife who is still grieving the death of her husband, demonstrating how she deals with grief in her own way.

This commercial resonates with people who have lost their loved ones and miss the things that they had shared together, even the simplest things like cooking for their loved ones.

Earlier in the commercial, Mak Teh fusses that her husband often missed having dinner with her and their daughter due to work, a circumstance shared by most families nowadays. It might be mundane for some people but being able to have a meal together as a family is a privilege.

Fatimah’s outstanding act shines brightest in the scene where Mak Teh said she knows her husband is gone but she will not stop sending food to the hospital — it is a gift from her, as well as her way to overcome her longing for him.

The story ends with the words “true love lasts forever, as sincere as a gift from the heart”.

“Dodol Pak Dollah” by Shopee

A comedy that captures the spirit of Aidilfitri about a father (Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan) who wants to make a grand ol’ Aidilfitri favourite, the delicious dodol, but his three children unanimously felt dubious about the whole idea.

The father suddenly fell ill and everyone has to come together to fulfil his only wish — make the dodol.

Against all odds, they did it, saving their father and Aidilfitri —butthereisatwisttothetale— their father was not really sick and was pulling the strings from the very beginning.

The moral of the story is that children should be more attentive to the wishes of their parents while they are still around.

“Syukur Raya” by Petronas

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) gives viewers a different flavour in the mix, presenting an animated musical Aidilfitri ad about fostering better bonds with one’s neighbours.

In this story, e-hailing rider Poji finds himself stuck in the city during Aidilfitri. He terribly misses his mother, so much so that he keeps daydreaming his neighbour Mak Jah (who bore a resemblance) is his mother.

Mak Jah, however, is not Poji’s biggest fan, which is called for as Poji is a little too zany around her. Despite everything, Poji has a good heart and will come through for his neighbours when they need help.

The story ends on a happy note with Poji’s neighbours including Mak Jah giving Poji and his housemates food during Aidilfitri while they were just about to go to work.

This is a topic up for debate. City dwellers have a reputation of being cold towards each other and lack friendly relationships with their neighbours, but the message of the commercial is that for people who are far away from family, neighbours are the closest thing they can consider as one.

Despite having ups and downs (like a family), if anything happens to us, our neighbours will be the first to arrive at the scene.