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AS IT IS by seun oloketuyi



Between Kenneth Nnebue and late Muyideen  Aromire, the revolution called Nollywood started in 1992, the debate whether it is Kenneth’s “living in Bondage” or Alade Aromire’s “soso meji” that came first is discussion for another day.

The most important point is that the duo took the first risk that has evolved into what we have today. Today, Nollywood presently employs at least 250,000 Nigerians or more and it is a statement of fact that it contributes to the GDP of the economy.

While the industry is getting bigger daily as Nigerians now see it as an industry that has come to stay with some films going over the 100 million mark in the cinema in the last few years, 30 days in Atlanta, fifty and trip to Jamaica shows the movies produced by the practitioners can stand its own if given a chance and at least 50 channels spread across the globe dedicated to the industry because of its acceptance and producers grossing million of dollars yearly as cost of T.V rights.

Nollywood movies made in English are doing well, they are breaking into places no one could dream they would on the international stage with great showing at Tiff, Bafta and recently some Nollywood movies such as 2 brides and a baby and 93 days getting cinema dates in cinemas even in United States.

But sadly, Twenty five years after  those movies that shook the nation to its own foundation with its success “soso meji” and “living in Bondage”that laid the golden egg is dying and unless something is done soon. Yoruba and Igbo movies might be a thing of the past as more practioneers that started with Igbo and Yoruba movies are running to English movies as either an Actress or producer.

Looking deeply, the trend might have been started by Iconic film maker Tunde Kelani who at a point was the biggest in the industry charting out one blockbuster and another yearly. No one knows why he decided to change his path as he suddenly shot an Half English, Half Yoruba movie “Magun” (Thunderbolt) which did well but with movies after that, his influence in the industry has gone down and many will continue to argue whether he will still be as big as he is if he has stuck to Yoruba movies, telling our stories; we might never know this.

At the moment, the younger generation seem to have joined the fad with Dayo Amusa, Iyabo Ojo, Fathia Balogun, Funke Etti and Mercy Aigbe shooting English Movies and by that ready to break a leg to appear in one, The igbo film industry is also as good as dead as there are less than 50 igbo movies produced in a year and hardly can you see any producer interested in investing in such a venture. Till date on record, only Obi Emelonye took the bull by the horn by shooting a big budget Igbo movie which he took to the Cinema and made relative success,.

I have asked myself severally what the issues are. I think the major issue is that for whatever reasons English movies are more financial rewarding than other movies and so the Yoruba/Igbo guys want to be rewarded like their counterparts but I believe so much that this is a result of lack of digging deep enough. The Yourba’s population is put at around 53 million and with over 25 Cinema screen around the Yoruba states an Ambitious Project well put together should anyday anytime gets back it’s investment same goes for igbo movies who are allowing the many good folkfore to be told in English killing the real flavour of the movie which it will have if told in original igbo language.

The practioners should take learning from Bollywood and the Chinese whose success has been huge despite sticking to their language and millions daily still watch their movies by following subtitles. The future of Nollywood lies in the hands of practioners and practioners who tell these stories in the original language will be at an advantage.

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