It was my privilege to attend the Malaysian premiere of “The Lady” at Kinta City’s TGV theatres on the night of April 23. The event was attended by a veritable Who’s Who of Ipoh’s elite and on hand to meet and greet the guests was Janet Yeoh, whose charm and grace made everyone feel welcome.
The film, of course, stars Ipoh’s iconic international film star Datuk Michelle Yeoh who fulfilled a long time desire to portray Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel laureate who also has the distinction of being the first woman in Asia to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Michelle made a brief appearance to introduce the film and dedicate the evening to her family and friends on hand explaining that prior commitments had prevented her from attending her mother’s birthday celebration several days before. She is currently working on a new film in Bangkok. In describing the challenges of playing the role of Suu Kyi she relayed to the audience how she had to learn to speak Burmese and shed almost 8 kg.
“The Lady” which is set against the backdrop of decades of political strife and military oppression in Burma is as much an epic love story between Suu Kyi and her British husband Michael Aris (played by David Thewlis) as it is a commentary on the Burmese people’s goals to achieve democracy and political freedom. Suu Kyi and her husband are forced to endure years of separation and personal sacrifices in support of her determination to bring about political change in her beloved Burma. Most poignant is Michael’s love and devotion and unending support of Suu Kyi amidst all the turmoil.
I have seen most of Michelle Yeoh’s English language films and in my opinion, this is by far her best role to date. She is captivating and very believable in her portrayal of her character Suu Kyi and makes this film a must-see. Be forewarned though, you should bring a supply of tissues as you will surely be brought to tears at certain points in the movie.
Michelle Yeoh also informed the audience that the KL premiere is on April 25 and will be attended by the Prime Minister.