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Chomel: Wonder Cat To The Rescue

by Helmy Sa'at

Chomel’ is available to watch on Qalbox (*Territories apply). New users enjoy a 7-day free trial, which also gives access to the full features of the Muslim Pro app ad-free! Claim your free trial today!

Most of us would have had a pet cat when we were younger. Or, at the very least, we continually come across strays in our neighbourhoods that we have been feeding for weeks, months or even years. It seems that we just cannot resist these cute (comel, in the Malay language) yet mischievous four-legged snuggly fur balls.

Any animal lover would be thrilled to watch a film featuring a cat as one the main protagonists. Chomel deals with heavy family issues, such as the death of a wife/parent and the aftermath of such a major and painful shift in family dynamics that need to continue with life and start healing in the process. Yet, the film is still filled with lighthearted and comedic moments that are interspersed aptly throughout, largely due to the mischief and antics of Chomel, an adopted stray cat and its 9-year-old owner, Mimi.

Shades Of Grief

Mimi is the youngest of two children in the family. With the recent passing of her mother, it inevitably leaves a huge hole in her life, emotionally and physically. The heavy responsibilities of having to care for Mimi and her older sister, Nora, naturally falls on the shoulders of their father, Imran, a batik artist. Now, a single father juggling work and familial duties without his wife’s help. Adding to Imran’s stress, his mother-in-law, Wan, is also challenging for full custody of her granddaughters in court.

A still from Chomel, which is available to stream on Qalbox.

Akin to the gradient colours of a batik painting, each of them is dealing with the grief of permanent loss differently. Blame, guilt, confusion and frustration all rolled into one huge turbulent emotional wave that creates more distance among them.

During a family dinner such emotional outbursts, just like a cat and mouse argument typical of siblings escalated very quickly. It barely scratches the surface of the family dynamics that had shifted as they are constantly confronted with a painful reality:

Kak Nora jahat!” (“You are mean!”)

Mimi nak apa lagi?!” (“Mimi, what else do you want?!”)

Mimi nak mama!” (“Mimi wants mama!”)

Mama dah tak ada!” (“Mama is no longer with us!”)

A still from Chomel, which is available to stream on Qalbox.

Later, Imran’s outburst at Mimi and Chomel after the cat accidentally ruined his batik work is indicative of his hidden emotional turmoil compounded over time. As evident, adults do not always have the answer after all; albeit Imran is trying his best:

Dah berapa kali dah ayah cakap. Ayah, ayah dah ada banyak benda tahu tak nak settle dalam rumah ni! Dah lah ayah sorang-sorang aje. Apa susah sangat nak faham ni, Mimi?! Allah! Dah sekarang ni ayah dah lambat tahu tak, ayah nak pergi present semua. Ayah tahu ayah balik nanti, ayah tak mahu tengok lagi binatang ni!” (“How many times have I said so. I, I have so many things to settle in this house, you know! I am all alone. What is so hard for Mimi to understand?! Allah! Now, I am late, I have to go do the presentation and all. When I get home later, I do not want to see this animal here!”)

Wonder Cat Without A Cape

A still from Chomel, which is available to stream on Qalbox.

At times, we rely more on our pet cats than we care to acknowledge or even realise. As portrayed in Mimi’s situation who readily accepted Chomel into her life to subconsciously fill an emotional gap. Everyday heroes could very well be people around us who do not possess mutant powers, including our beloved pets! Our everyday heroes do not need to don a cape to have made and continue to contribute to positive changes in our lives. Chomel’s subtle messaging here is clear.

Furthermore, no matter what animal we come across or choose to have as our pets, we need to treat it right. Same goes for our family, friends and colleagues, even strangers, despite our skin deep differences and fierce disagreements, especially when we stand our ground, it is a choice to stick to our beliefs and uphold our cherished principles that are being challenged from time to time. Be it between Imran and Wan, or Mimi and Diva Girlz, a group of bullies in her neighbourhood. Acceptance beyond mere tolerance is key.

And, most importantly to do what is right. Chomel’s sudden intrusion into Imran’s family is a hidden blessing that created opportunities for family bonding to happen and their familial healing to start:

Ayah tahu sejak mama dah tak ada ni hidup kita dah tak sama dah, kan? Tapi, ayah akan cuba jadi ayah yang terbaik di Malaysia. Tak nak, di serata dunia … janji.” (“I know that since mama passed away, our life together has never been the same, right? But, I will try to be the best father in Malaysia. No, in the whole world … promise.”)

Alas as Nora, Mimi together with Chomel in tow attended a birthday party, chaos ensued. Not to mention in a subsequent court hearing for the custodial battle.

Ultimately, what is Chomel’s fate? Is Imran able to keep his family from being torn apart? The answers would have to wait until you watch Chomel by streaming it on Qalbox.

A still from Chomel, which is available to stream on Qalbox.

Do explore other similar articles with a focus on Malaysian titles, which are available to stream on Qalbox now:

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