Listen, child

At some point or another, we all hate to admit this. But the truth is, more often than not, parents are always right — well, eventually. It could be that they have what the Malays say ‘dah lebih banyak makan garam’ ( have eaten more salt i.e the metaphor of having gone through life more than their children) or that they simply have the parental instincts of what it may lead to if their children make wrong choices. It may also perhaps due to wisdom which comes with age and experience, something which they have accumulated over the years in bringing us up.

But whatever it is, many times, we hear stories of how children who decided against their parents decisions eventually, in one way or the other had to face the ‘I told you so’ humble pie splattered upon their faces.

That was the central theme in my first Iranian film for the year, Heiran.

Image taken from

As in with any classic forbidden love story, Heiran zooms into the forbidden relationship between the top student  in the rural area somewhere in Iran, Mahi–whose path towards university education came to quite a sudden halt when she met Heiran on her bus rides home from school. Mahi’s destiny, in accordance to her parent’s hope was to complete college, since she was so bright and a top student. However, Heiran came into the picture during the bus rides home– Mahi from college to her village, Heiran from the town to the factory he was working in.

Well, nothing would be as bad if not for the fact that Heiran was an immigrant from Afghanistan. Although he came under the student visa to study in a university in Tehran, he had to work his days off as an illegal factory worker. Mahi’s father was of course livid at their relationship because he feared firstly, his daughter would abandon hers and their dreams of seeing her through university, she would get married to an immigrant whose status in Iran is not even recognized and he feared him getting deported and his only daughter would either be left all alone to fend for herself or brought back into war torn Afghanistan.

But as Mahi’s grandfather said, when two young people are in love, whoever in this world can stop them?

Mahi went on to marry Heiran in Tehran anyway, made possible by her grandfather’s help.  And she got pregnant, Heiran lost his student visa due to inability to pay the university fees, which he used to get married and secured themselves a rental, did odd jobs illegally and one day he just disappeared along with many Afghan immigrants.

Mahi, stuck with a baby and on her own,  then had that moment where suddenly, all that her parents (especially her father) had warned her about came unfolding right before her eyes. And the story ended with her braving to uphold her dignity over the decision she made by looking for Heiran all over, only to see him in the bus which was bringing all the deported immigrants back to Afghanistan. It was a heart wrenching ending to the film where she ran after the bus with her baby in her arms, and probably, her father’s ‘I TOLD YOU SO’ ringing at the back of her head.


4 thoughts on “Listen, child

  1. Great review. I was wondering about the movie, after seeing the poster at a local theatre. Been such a long time since I watched any Iranian film, but by the next time we dropped by, the film stopped its run already.

    I love that Iranian films center around culture and circumstances unique to them, yet transcend universal themes. While I’d hate to be in the whole ‘I told you so’ situation, I think it makes for a good ending. At the very least, it’s realistic and not pivot on the suspension of disbelief that seems to rule mainstream films.

  2. Ovenhaven,
    I so hate those I told you so lines, but now in my 30s, I look back and realised I’ve had many of those splattered upon my face. Bleargh 😦

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