Over the years, the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood have improved, churning out interesting movies time to time with box office hits. While some of these movies remain fresh in our memories as a master piece, some are as bad as not wanting to see the filmmaker’s film again.
As i see Nollywood movies these days, it’s either an Hollywood’s or Bollywood’s remake. Our filmmakers seem too lazy to draft out an authentic story. Rather, what they do is watch an Hollywood film that has been released over a long period of time, thinking we must have forgotten ( Good movies are not easily forgotten ) and quickly go to their drawing board with their fellow copycat team and retell the story to suit the Nollywood pattern.
Earlier this year, there were rumours of Omoni Oboli to have copied International director Spike Lee’s 2015 movie “Chi Raq” to make her film “Wives on strike” which the actress debunked that the similarities were mere coincidence. Wives on strike is a comedy that tells the story of a group of market women who decided to take matters into their own hands against their husbands by refusing to have sex with them in a bid to stir them into standing up for a young girl whom they wanted to protect from the wishes of her own father.
Chi Raq on the other hand is a story based on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, a Classical Greek comedy play in which women withhold sex from their husbands as punishment for fighting in the Peloponnesian War.
Coincidental or not, these two stories have the same theme, “Women denying their husbands sex for a course”.
When Moses Inwang released “Stalker”, there were mixed reviews, as some compared it to Hollywood movies ‘Obsessed’ and ‘The Perfect Guy’. The movie apparently has the same ending as ‘Obsessed’. The producer tried as much as possible to be smart in twisting the plot but one can not deny the fact that the movie has been seen somewhere.
As Nollywood is today, the second largest film industry in the world, it is so sad that we still settle for leftover stories from Hollywood. This is Africa, world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent with rich culture. What happens to stories born out of Africa content?
While we have some filmmakers whose works can never be likened to any movie elsewhere, examples are Niji Akanni producer of ‘Aramotu’ and ‘Heroes and Zeros’, and Tunde Kilani, producer of ‘Thunderbolt’, and ‘Abeni’ to mention few. These filmmakers work have been known to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and have a root in documentation, entertainment and promotion of the culture. Others are still busy in the art of lifting contents from other people’s film to make theirs.
The most deadening is the one common among the Yoruba genre of Nollywood. It all started when Funke Akindele made her comedy film “Jenifa”. We saw another actress, who went directly to her board to do a remake of the movie. Same theme, same plot. This is also true as almost all crime or gangster movies released lately are always staring Odunlade Adekola.
However, All the movies always have a subject matter, a local armed robber terrorizing the community, and it keeps going like that until he get caught by the police and “To God be the Glory” the movie ends. In fact I have lost counts of movies like that and whenever i see a poster with the actor, without watching the movie or reading the synopsis, I can summarise the story line which will inturn be true.
What these producers do is once they know a film is commercially successful, they do all their best to do a remake, indirectly stealing from their fellow producer’s job. Is it as bad as that? Does it mean there are no good writers in the industry again? Or are they just producing what the audience want?
I said this because in a recent chat with one of Nollywood’s finest filmmaker on why his movies hasn’t hit the big screens and the reply he gave me got me wondering. He said the cinemas wont show it. If its not a Romantic or Comedy film. They, the film houses think that’s what the audience what.
Prolific filmmaker, kunle Afolayan released his much talked about movie ‘CEO’ recently and there has been mixed reviews as regards it. While others commend the filmmaker for putting out such masterpiece, a writer said it’s another copy and paste saga as the writer likened it to ‘Exam’ a German film released in 2009 by Stuart Hazeldine.
The writer added that even his previously released October 1, was a remake of ‘perfume’ a 2006 movie by Tom Tykwer, Bernd Eichinger, Andrew Birkin and Caroline Thompson. As the directing technique, use of lightening and cinematographic styles used in ‘October 1’ were all stemmed from ‘Perfume’. Perfume, which tells the terrifying story of murder and obsession set in the 18th century in France has a plot similar to that of October 1.
The writer went further to say that the duo of Kunle Afolayan and his writer Tunde Babalola has mastered the art and business of creatively stealing souls of some of our treasured films.
If we need to move forward as an industry, we need to start producing movie that are born out of local contents, not the Romantic Comedies and Crime Thrillers all preaching the same thing thing. It’s either one is in an abused relationship or another is looking for a husband or one is been stalked by a secret admirer or better still an husbands snatching saga. In fact, there are no new stories in Nollywood. Majority are remakes of what we have seen in the past.