BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI
MOVIEGOERS and fans of Bollywood stars not only love and adore their stars; they also know how to honour them. They declared a weeklong celebration to commemorate the 67th birthday of one of the industry’s top rated stars, Amitabh Bachchan. The party climaxed last Sunday when fans in their hundreds gathered outside the residence of the veteran actor in Mumbai to offer prayers for his continuous happiness and future success. A large turnout of colleagues and fans was also recorded when on the eve of his birthday on Sunday, Bachchan showed up at the special promotional event of his upcoming movie Rann.
BORN on October 11, 1942, Bachchan who featured as a professional journalist in Rann explained that he was inspired by the rising profile of the media industry in India to shoot the film. ‘It was inspired by the kind of huge media we have here and we just felt that within the way the media works, we can get a story which can have human value’ Bachchan said.
Rann, according to the promotional leaflet distributed at the special promotional event, explores the prevailing issues of ethics in the journalism profession including the issue of integrity and how it impacts on the profession.
TALL, friendly and witty, Bachchan, who is reputed to have featured in over 190 films as an actor, says his film examines the issue of compromises vis-a-vis the place of the media as conscience of the society.
Adored by millions of fans across the globe, Bachchan in spite of ageing has continued to play diverse and most times very demanding roles like his brilliant showing in Satya, Sarkar, Zanjeer, Shahanshah and Namak Halal. An elated Bachchan declared to his fans worldwide that he still has a long game to play in the film industry. His most recent movie, Aladin, will be released at the end of October.
A peep into his Filmography....
Zamaanat (2009) Delhi-6 (2009), Gangotri (2007), The Last Lear (2007), Swami (2007), Cheeni Kum (2007), Dil Jo Bhi Kahey... (2005), Veer-Zaara (2004) Hum Kaun Hai? (2004) Kyun...! Ho Gaya Na (2004) Rudraksh (2004) Baghban (2003) Boom (2003/I) Aankhen (2002) Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) Hello Brother (1999) Mrityudaata (1997) Akayla (1991) Jaadugar (1989) Shahenshah (1988) Aakhree Raasta (1986) Geraftaar (1985), Inquilaab (1984) Kanoon Kya Karega (1984) Paan khaye Saiyan Hamaar (1984) Coolie (1983/I) Shakti (1982) Kaalia (1981) Shaan (1980) Suhaag (1979) Trishul (1978) Khoon Pasina (1977) Hera Pheri (1976) Faraar (1975) Mili (1975) Kasauti (1974) Namak Haraam (1973) Abhimaan (1973) Bombay to Goa (1972) Pyar Ki Kahani (1971) Bombay Talkie (1970), Bhuvan Shome (1969).
Views from india... on Bollywood
BOLLYWOOD, the term now used to describe what was formally called the Hindi film industry was not much liked in Bombay when a columnist coined it. Though it has caught on, many refused to use it and in fact, dismissed it as yet another evidence of what Mihir Bose, author of one of the most authentic book on the Hindi film industry titled, Bollywood- A History, described as a damaged, insecure culture, always needing a foreign culture to lean on. Indeed, Bose notes that there are those who believe that calling the Indian film industry Bollywood demeans something truly Indian and proves that Indians can only define even their most precious products by borrowing western terms.
Celebrity fact file
Who is Michelle Bello?
MICHELLE Bello is a young passionate filmmaker from Adamawa State. I went to primary school in Corona Victoria Island then left when I was eight to the UK to attend boarding school. I left the UK to go to the American University in Washington DC to study Mass Communication, specialising in Visual Media. Small Boy is my debut as a filmmaker… The whole experience was fun but challenging… Funding came from my savings and family. It was a big risk doing this film but at the end of the day, it paid off. I am currently looking for distributors in Nigeria and abroad. The world premiere of Small Boy was in Los Angeles at the American Black Film Festival. It has been screened in Kenya and Israel. The movie had a good review at the festivals. They were excited to see a Nigerian story told in a different way.
Around and about Nollywood...
Countdown to 2009 Abuja Film Festival
THE Organising Committee of the 6th Abuja International Film Festival has said all is set for the festival, which opens on October 27 and runs till 30 at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre and Bolingo Hotel, Abuja. The organisers revealed that the festival received 211 film entries, 43 from Nigeria and168 from other parts of the world. Some of the major entries received include Run Game (S/Africa), Close Enemies (USA/Nig), The Figurine (Nig), POW (Canada), Mauroo Shampoo (Brazil), Storm of Emotions (Israel), The Kiss (France) Four Element (Portugal), among others. The festival’s market segment will witness the participation of VIASAT cable network from Ghana, Multimesh Cable from Nigeria, Excite TV and VOX Africa from the UK who will all be attending the festival to source for contents. This year, the festival’s capacity building segment shall launch the Filmmaker Talent Hunt Academy which will be a 4 day master class on filmmaking for aspiring and established filmmakers. The Newly Instituted Nollywood Achievement Award will also be honouring 15 individuals amongst them the late Muyideen Alade Aromire for pioneering video production in 1987 with Ekun.
Garden City is ready for ION Film Festival 2009
Organizers of the international touring film festival–– ION International Film Festival (www.ionfilmfestival.com) have confirmed the readiness of Port Harcourt, otherwise called the Garden City, to host the Nigerian diet of the touring festival. The festival will hold between December 9 and 12, 2009. The organizers said they have been meeting with the host government and other stakeholders and everything seems set for the touring festival, which moves every year to a new location around the globe in an effort to promote global awareness, peace and unity. The festival is making its debut in Africa with this edition in Port Harcourt. It has been staged in Los Angeles in 2007 and in Dubai in 2008. It is expected to move to Istanbul in 2010. This is the first time ION lands in Africa and will be hosted in PORT HARCOURT, Rivers State on 9-12 December 2009.
… Announces entry for workshops series CATERINA Bortolussi, Creative Director Omcomm, organisers of IONIFF Port Harcourt 09, scheduled to hold between December 9 and 12, has announced the opening of entries for the workshop series, which are scheduled to hold during the festival. According to Bortolussi, the registration started October 1 and will close on October 30 to allow interested individuals submit entries for the workshop on Omcomm site,www.omcomm.org. Workshops will be led by international recognised instructors in the world of cinema and are open to filmmakers, students and creative minds from all over Nigeria. All interested applicants are expected to submit a write-up alongside their Curriculum Vitae and submission from by October 30. The workshops will focus on Screen-writing, Digital Cinematography + Lighting, Sound Composition, Budgeting + Networking + Financing. Attendees will learn amongst others how to develop story from an idea and shape into screenplay, the basic techniques of digital cinematography and lighting, the role of art director, the function of music in film in creating an atmosphere; examining the step-by-step on how to create a budget, and how to develop a strategy to obtain finances for their films. The workshop according to Caterina is a 3 day programme with an average of six hours meeting per day per workshop with two scheduled session of morning and afternoon. In the spirit of promoting intellectual development and participations of young talents, the organizers waive the course fee while interested participants are expected to pay a token of N2, 500 as registration fee for the workshop that is bringing Julie Dash, John Demps, Kennard Ramsey and Brenda Doby-Flewellyn as facilitators.
Entries for 2010 AMAA begins
THE Africa Film Academy has invited filmmakers to submit their Feature, Short, and Documentary works for consideration by the 6th AMAA. Each completed entry form must be accompanied by all the supporting materials listed on the application notes, including the synopsis of the film, the list of credits, marketing stills of the film, filmographies of the directors and producers, 10 DVD copies of the film and proof of the right to submit. Only films produced and released between December 2008 and December 2009 would be entered for the 2009 celebration of African cinema to be held in 2010. All films must indicate year of copyright. The Africa Film Academy says the organizers, will not accept any film that exceeds the 120 min run as a feature or a short film that is longer than 50 minutes. The Africa Film Academy awards two major categories of short films and animation. This year the Academy announces a category for the Best Africa Film in the Diaspora and the Best Diaspora Short Film Awards. The deadline for all submissions is 30th December 2009; a late entry deadline is 7th January 2010. Nominations will be announced in Ghana in February 2010. The AMAA will hold on the 10th April 2010 and will be televised across the world. Submission forms are downloadable from the AMA-Awards website. Further information, can be sourced from AMAA at email email@example.com
Producer- Amebo A. Amebo
Director- Mr. Gossip
Actors- Nollywood Celebrities
Chuma Onwudiwe is confident
GUESS who called waka pass during the week? Chuma Onwudiwe. The ebullient special adviser to the immediate past President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Ejike Asiegbu, claimed he found it difficult reaching waka pass. We thought that the actor, who for some time had hanged his acting boots for politics, was going to wax his favourite song: ‘tell us how the forces are trying to pull his former master down’. But whosaiiiii. Onwudiwe has waxed a new song. It is now: ‘we are working round the clock and rallying support for our government. The response has been overwhelming and I am confident that in no time, we shall put the actors guild back on the pedestal of growth’. Anyway we played the ‘don’t know’ and wanted to know which government Onwudiwe was talking about and the song skipped to track 12: ‘Segun Arinze’s Presidency, of course. Segun is our newly elected and not appointed President and I (Chuma, that is) was elected Secretary General and not appointed. Leadership into the guilds in Nollywood is by election and not by appointment’. We didn’t continue the discussion because we required no soothsayer to distill what he meant by ‘elected’ and not ‘appointed’. But if you all insist as some of you are nudging us to do, then the coding by Onwudiwe is simply that Arinze was elected and Kanayo Kanayo was appointed. I no know book oooooooooo.
Sam Obiakheme is in town
SHAME to all those who tried to confuse us about the whereabouts of Edo State-born actor, Sam Obiakheme. We were told before now that the actor who came into prominence playing Abacha in Grasshopper — the movie that also threw up Clem Ohameze — had relocated to his native town in Auchi since he couldn’t cope with paying rents in Lagos. Even when we swore that we had been seeing Big Sam, as the actor is called, around, the waka pass, who has been touching the ground and pointing to the sky, on the matter has insistently maintained that Big Sam may still be around but the Obiakheme’s and all that is receipted in their name have been moved to Auchi. Anyway we ran into the producer of Ikeke, a language movie, and he dismissed the tale as ‘handiwork of enemies’. Hear him: ‘it is not that bad with me. The fact that I am not a regular face in movies does not mean that I don’t do other things to survive. Haba, people should try and get their facts right. I am still here and occasionally travel home to touch base with my people’. Well, we took Big Sam for his words but one other waka pass warned us not to. Reason? Most people who respond to questions at Abe-igi, the snack and drink shed at the National Theatre do so under the influence of ‘things’…which things ooo? Not for my mouth you will hear that the name Segun Arinze was just a marketing strategy to make Segun Aina Padonu’s debut offering, as a musician ‘Nwanyi Gan ga’ cut across linguistic boarders…To God be the Glory firstname.lastname@example.org
Akunyili Praises Afolayan’s The Figurine, Nollywood
BY ABOSEDE MUSARI
The Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili, was full of praises for The Figurine, the latest film by banker-turned filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan. The Minister, who was in the audience at the premiere of the film at the Silverbird Cinema in Abuja last week, doused Afolayan’s effort with appreciation; praising the cast and crew of the work for a job well done. She was particularly impressed by the language used by the characters, which was a mixture of indigenous Yoruba and bit of English; a typical way a Nigerian of today speaks. She recalled that the first time she visited a cinema was in 1963, alongside her mother. “Then it was Indian films but today, it is Nigerian film with indigenous language and setting”, she said. Akunyili also praised the entire Nollywood for the good works, hinting that the industry had become second in the world, giving Bollywood a stiff competition. The highly impressed Minister, had a handshake and hugs with the cast of the film, The Figurine, while promising support for the producer, Afolayan, in his future productions. Afolayan, who had spoken earlier, called for support for the Nigerian film industry, saying that the N50 million Figurine, and many other productions within the industry would have been better in quality with more funds. On the choice of language in the film, Afolayan, in an interview with The GuardianLIFE, said he preferred a film that is real and that which reflects the everyday lifestyle of the Nigerian since it is a Nigerian film. According to him, the film was a good blend of the Yoruba and English languages because that is the way Nigerians speak. “It is because we are Nigerians and we should stop being fake. We converse and act better when we are real. I watch other African films, where they speak their languages and if at all they are going to speak English, it will be with their accent. And that I appreciate and everybody around the world appreciates so much”. “We are always forming fake accent, we want to speak Queen’s English, which is not our tongue. I always want to put people in their natural selves. When I got Ramsey (Nouha) on set, he was going to do the Nollywood kind of thing and I said ‘no, let’s come home. Just speak naturally, speak and act like a Nigerian’; and in the end he saw reasons with me”. “There was a day we had an argument over the scene where Linda (Funlola Aofiyebi) and Femi (Ramsey Nouah) got to the house and his father came out of the house. They said why didn’t I allow the elderly man speak English since Linda was speaking English; I said Femi and his father should speak Yoruba because that is how it happens. But now everybody seem to be enjoying the whole thing”, he said. The film, The Figurine, otherwise called Araromire, is a typical Nigerian film with a Nigerian setting and language. Though a fiction, it hits on the core belief of the traditional Nigerian people as regards to faith in the gods, divinity; and as well, gives a clue into the world of coincidence and human manipulations. The film, which could be described as being open-ended, does not impose the opinion of the writer on the viewer. In the end, viewers are given opportunity to decide for themselves, what they wanted to believe about the film and the whole concept. This rightly goes down well with the concept of the producer, Afolayan, who said in an interview that the primary essence of a film was entertainment and not to impose morals on viewers.. The Figurine (Araromire), is completely entertaining. The audience at the premiere could not help laughing loudly. With its interjection of suspense, the film tells the story of how unpredictable human beings could be, especially when they have a course that touch on matters of the heart as interpreted by the character, Femi (Ramsey Nuoah). Araromire is a century long story that captures a remote Nigerian village, its goddess, Araromire, after whom the town was named; and how some youth corps members got entwined in the whole issue of an age-long folktale belief. Afolayan disclosed that the film was billed for another premiere in Port Harcourt after which it would be taken to Ghana and London. He said that his intention was to contribute to reviving the cinema culture apart from seeing it as a means of recouping his investments. Figurine is a contemporary feature which highlights the essence and efficacy of tradition, friendship, betrayal and love, transcending both the ancient and the modern day. It features Kunle Afolayan, Funlola Aofiyebi, Ramsey Nouah, Omoni Oboli, Chief Muraina Oyelami and others in its cast. Other important personalities present at the premiere in Abuja include the Director General of the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board, Emeka Mba.