KEMI LALA AKINDOJU
A lot of readers might not have seen Tunde Kelani’s ‘Dazzling Mirage’, a film in which Lala Akindoju plays a young, frail sickle cell patient, Funmiwo. I watched the movie at a film festival in November and I was impressed with Lala’s portrayal of the lead character. A true-to-type physical casting by the Director first draws some empathy from the audience towards Lala and as she goes through the emotional and physical demands of the movie, the viewer is taken in by Lala’s internalization of the character as we begin to see and understand what it is to be a Sickle Cell victim.
Of course there were tentative moments when Lala seemed not to have fully measured up to the dictates of the role but one could also appreciate that those moments were few and far between. In ‘Dazzling Mirage’, the viewer laughs with her, cries with her, feels her pains and many could very well finish watching the movie believing that Lala is a Sickle Cell sufferer in real life. Such a performance should not go unnoticed.
Kemi Lala Akindoju, in her first major role in a feature length, is one to watch out for in the future.
More-often-than-not, many tend to dismiss the ‘Asabawood’ genre of movies as crass, without structure and lacking in linear progression of plots. While a lot of movies from that axis, juxtaposed with the so-called ‘New Nollywood’ movies, can be a critics nightmare to watch, there is no denying that a few actors and actresses in that genre of movies have given us some performances which deserve applause.
Queen Nwokoye is one of such worthy of mention for 2014. Whilst researching a bit more on her movies for 2014, I was authoritatively told that she is presently the most commercial actress in the Asaba movies, ever since Mercy Johnson went on maternity leave, with her movies selling in the millions. While such information does little to influence my artistic evaluation of her acting prowess, it was certainly important enough for me to file away in my memory bank that Queen must have something which appeals to the buying audience of such films. After watching her in a spawn of top-selling Asaba movies in 2014, I understood why.
In the movies ‘Adaura’ and ‘Ada Mbano’ and their nebulously-plotted sequels, Queen Nwokoye’s performance as a typical village lass from an Igbo village speak volumes about her abilities for research, interpretation and characterization. I am told that she commendably speaks the Imo dialect in the movie, even though she is from Anambra state. Obviously, she put in a lot of hard work in that regard and if Oscars have been given in Hollywood to actresses who research accents and use effectively for characterization, there is no reason why Queen should not be given special mention for achieving this feat in these parts.
The most interesting aspects of her acting in these spawn of movies is her intrinsic ability to make the viewer suspend disbelief when watching her in her comical tantrums. Borrowing from the popular street terminology, one can safely say ‘Queen finish work‘ in the afore-mentioned movies, within the scope of the Production ambitions. PROCEED TO SEE MORE ON PAGE 2