In this age of technological advancement and breathtaking man-made creations, a movie lover like myself cannot help but marvel with speechless dazzle at the height at which movies are marvelously created, first in Hollywood, and secondly in Indian Bollywood, all in varying unique proportions. But before I wet myself fully in today’s essential drift, which is the third ranked Nigeria’s Nollywood, I would willingly want to enumerate the marvelous distinctive qualities that makes Hollywood the best, Bollywood the second in line, and the sure possibilities of Nigeria’s Nollywood meeting a match if and only if it reflects on some obviously placed shortcomings far fetched in the line of time.
First of all we make a comparison with Hollywood movies, and worthy of note is the glaring credit that successful movies in Hollywood go with a powerful soundtrack produced by creative artists who fit into the movies richly with their songs. Take for instance successful films like “Lord of the Rings” and great college movies produced alongside in Hollywood. And this obvious spice to success also extends to Indian movies where the theme of love is always backed up by thrilling music performances between the love parties involved. Indeed it becomes their selling trademark where full revealing entertainment is presented to the always possible delight of the audience, owing to the fact that movies are strictly meant to entertain and make every imaginable fantasy a reality. But behold it is then the responsibility of the producer and director to make this possible even if it means going the extra mile to achieve this by adding a secret ingredient that appeals to the senses.
If for instance Nigerian producers at Nollywood grab a hold of this creative development and place a bit of a powerful tune or tunes to back up their movies, then massive success would be the case. But then, let me dive fully at the challenge here. It’s not as if Nollywood producers don’t make use of music in their movies. As a matter of fact they do, but the problem is that they often at times make use of boring songs created specifically for the movie. Many of them even go as far as including no songs in their movies, and make the storyline go on just like that.
It is worthy fact that Nigerian songs are some of the best produced in Africa, and these songs go as far as being danced all over Africa, and more so in cases where Nigerian artists feature even in Africa and abroad. But at the same time, it is a sad fact that most Nigerian producers at Nollywood don’t patronize their own artists by including their great soundtracks in their movies. Take for instance a song like “Malaria” featuring in a Nollywood movie having a striking theme of love. Indeed that movie would sell not just for the performances of the cast, but the appealing delight from the soundtrack. We also have good Nigerian artists that their songs can do a whole lot in promoting our cultural identity. Take for instance artists like Asa, T.Y Bello, Wande Coal, 2face, Wizkid, Ice Prince, D’banj, Da Prince, Omawumi, and numerous others, to mention but a few.
It is true that movie producers pay a certain amount to music artists for including their songs in their movies. But then this shouldn’t scare Nollywood producers at all, who are all profit bound; for a good investment always reap good dividends; and having a Nigerian soundtrack that wins the heart must surely make that movie an over and over must watch, doubling profit for Nollywood producers at the same time, and more so promoting the quality of Nigerian artists and our rich heritage.
So now, as we bounce further in the recommendations that could make Nollywood movies strike a sharp balance, let’s now go back to our tradition in full and the possibility of experiencing drama to its fullest. Gone are the days of theatre and theatrical performances that always do strike a bell. Indeed this ugly trend has affected Nollywood movies greatly. If we need to promote our culture, then we need true theatre, in form of a narration taking place by a narrator, at the beginning or through the film; a compulsory African soundtrack with a feel of nativity following the movie rhythmically; and most essentially the use of ancient traditional costumes reflecting times of old. For indeed if we go back in time and admire Yoruba cultural movies like “Sango” and the rest, we would agree that the success of these movies lied in the inclusion of these essential materials, and even more facilities borrowed from the rich warehouse of theatre.
And furthermore, we lay hands at the ugly trends that have become a sad tradition in Nollywood. If we pay a closer look at Hollywood movies and even that of Bollywood, we would find out that many great movies are told in full in one single part, capturing great actions vividly. But this is not so of Nollywood, where every film produced is dragged along to forcefully create an extra part. In short terms, it kills most of the movies with boredom. And more so, we should realize that it is not all the time that a movie should take an extra part. Only successful movies that have an elaborately entertaining storyline need take an extension for the purpose of yearning fans.
In addition to pitfalls, it has come to my notice that several Nollywood movies lack real suspense, whereby the storylines are always predictable. Either we find forbidden love stories where the parents involved are opposing the marriage and finally it happens, or we find movies where a second wife always brings evil to the family. Worse of all are the annoying storylines that lack a major focus. In other words, it’s as if no real script was ever written for the movie, and that the producers made it up as they go. This is very bad and shouldn’t be. Real movies take real suspense. It takes ingenuity and creative talent. It’s high time Nollywood producers take their movies seriously and write great scripts that win awards at the end of performance.
I am very aware that Nollywood directors and producers, as well as actors are currently undergoing some sort of specialized training, which I’m very happy about. At least that can help enforce a lot of skill and moving innovations in Nigerian movies. We should be unique in our own way, and should represent a reality focused on Nigeria, not Europe. It should depict Africa, not much Western lifestyle. You can’t pretend to show a police detective movie in Nigeria and use the word ‘cop’ which is all American; with an absurd cast claiming to be in an action movie that lacks real action. We need to see more movies having cool Nigerian soundtracks like “Holla at your boy”, “Oleku”, and many more. For indeed a few Nollywood producers that have made these trends possible are the only few who strike success with a strong balance at making Nollywood movies recognized for the entertaining thrills they do possess.