This is Nollywood’s second year in the devastating coronavirus pandemic, and although things aren’t as bleak as they once were, there’s no denying that it has changed the landscape. We are still monitoring Netflix’s footprint in the industry. Last month saw lots of Nollywood titles acquired by the streamer, from Ojukokoro, God Calling, Oloibiri to Seven, Doctor Bello and This Lady Called Life.
Rogers Ofime’s supernatural horror series The Mystic River premiered on Friday (more on this later), and perhaps this could signal the arrival of more horror productions on Netflix? The streamer doesn’t have a good record when it comes to the presence of Nollywood horror titles, compared to South Africa. Anyway, we are rounding up on stories that caught our attention in the industry this week, too small to be independently told but still big enough to matter. Well, some.
Aki na Ukwa remake
Charles Okpaleke is still in the remake business, and who else has the current portfolio to remake a comedy classic that is Aki na Ukwa? This film from the early aughts launched the careers of Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Ohime, turning them to screen superstars that despite starring in a plethora of movies afterward, they are still known as Aki and Paw Paw from the film. Both of them would later break into the space of social media and establish a meme omnipresence.
Directed by Amayo Philips, Aki na Ukwa follows the actors playing mischievous twin brothers on a mission to ruin their father’s attempts at remarrying after their mother’s death. Eighteen years after the film and we are confronted with a potential pitfall. Ikedieze and Ohime carved a notorious identity playing adolescent boys, and while they have slipped into a handful of mature roles, are we expecting to see adult men shoehorned into teenage roles?
Ikedieze is 43 and Ohime is 39 but physically they are diminutive, hence why many people mistake them for children. That said, Okpaleke hasn’t revealed the cast for the remake and the release date. We will just have to keep watching for more updates.
Elevator Baby gets an Indian remake
Early this week filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan tweeted that his 2019 film Elevator Baby now has an Indian remake. Elevator Baby bagged for the lead actors Toyin Abraham and Timini Egbuson their first AMVCA, and was also the directorial debut for Akay Mason. The Indian director, Ramesh Raparthi, watched the film and reached out to Akinmolayan for permission to have a remake. Akinmolayan agreed.
Titled Thank You, Brother, the remake still follows major plot beats of the original. There’s a still pregnant woman and a spoilt brat of a young man that delivers her baby, but their story is set against the coronavirus lockdown. Starring Anasuya Bharadwaj, Ashwin J Viraj, Monica Reddy, Harsha Chemudu and Aadarsh Balakrishna, Thank You Brother is perhaps indicating future cross-pollinations between Nollywood and Bollywood.
Romantic comedy Namaste Wahala, which arrived on Netflix this year after a long delay, had a Nollywood-Bollywood crossover appeal.
Dimeji Ajibola’s upcoming crime thriller Shanty Town
The last time we heard about Dimeji Ajibola (Hoodrush), it was in 2019 for his ambitious sci-fi dystopian thriller Ratnik with a cast consisting of Osas Ighodaro-Ajibade and Bolanle Ninalowo. Now he’s returned with Shanty Town, an upcoming crime thriller starring Chidi Mokeme in a lead role. The director has finished shooting 100 scenes for the film, working in conjunction with on-set photographer Chux Osakwe.
A couple of behind-the-scenes photos have been released. Mokeme, in question, is strapped to a chair in an empty warehouse as he’s questioned by Shaffy Bello. It also pulls along heavyweight names in Richard Mofe-Damijo, Uche Jombo, Ini Edo and more.
Nothing has been said about the plot at this point, nor a release date yet.
Rogers Ofime’s The Mystic River now on Netflix
If you are a horror fan, Rogers Ofime’s The Mystic River will surely interest you. Just 6 episodes, the horror series premiered on Friday and stars Jide Kosoko, Joke Muyiwa and Dele Odule. Shot in Ijebu Ode, it follows the story of a young couple who newly relocated to a remote village. Unknown to them, the village has an abominable cultural practice of sacrificing pregnant women to the gods for prosperity. It’s not the most original premise, but Ofime is glad to tell African stories through a horror lens.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.