Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nollywood needs to launder Nigeria's image

I have been following a telenovela - India a Love Story on Africa Magic since October 2012. I have become so involved with this programme that I am glued to the TV screen every Sunday from noon till about 3pm, catching up with the Omnibus.

Contrary to all the news reports in the international and local media of an increasing number of rape cases, the Indians have told a story of perfect love, high moral standards and values through this telenovela. They have painted a picture that holds women in high esteem and men who dare no infidelity.

I have learnt that Indian women keep long hair because the length of a woman's hair is symbolic for her husband's strength. I have learnt that male children are also highly regarded just like Nigeria. I have learnt that Indians insist on marrying one of their own because they believe that when a man dies, it is his Indian wife who will open the gates of heaven to him. I have also learnt a bit about the Indian culture and their Caste system; they consider the Dalits - dust and nobody of 'noble' descent wants to dine with a dalit let alone marry one.  

I have fallen in love with this telenovela and picked the lead character, Raj's definition of love:

Raj once said - "when you Brazilians love, it starts like a boiling pot of water which later goes cold, but when we Indians love, it starts cold and ends up hot like a boiling pot of water..."
My take-out from Raj's definition is that loving the Indian way, means enduring love.

The best part of the Indian passion is that it is bereft of nudity or obscenity. Pulic display of affection is frowned upon as they believe that affections should be shown only in the bedroom.

Whilst the telenovela captures some deceit, largely by women, the deceit is portrayed as an act of love which seeks to preserve culture, so much that it makes you love the Indians more.

Another interesting thing about this love story is that it was shot in India and Brazil. On the flip side, it shows Brazilian women as women of low virtue -  a mother dates the same guy her daughter dated; a married Brazilian woman seduces an Indian batchelor; divorce as commonplace in Brazil; a Brazilian billionaire fakes his death and elopes with his wife's best friend and so on and so forth.

Like it or not, this telenovela has created a positive image of India in my mind.

The Brazilian side of the story brings me back home to Africa Magic and the sorts of stories we tell. Nothing much that paints us  as 'picture perfect' especially the Yoruba movies.

Nigerian Yoruba movies depict only negativity - immorality, idolatry and murder. Apart from the negative story lines, the sub-titling is always badly done in bad English full of wrong tenses and typos. It is shameful.

This from me is a wake-up call to Nollywood requesting them to help launder Nigeria's image.