By Busari Yusuf
There appears to be no diminution of artistic energy and enthusiasm for the creative ingenuity of filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan.
The movie ‘Roti’, which is a collaborative effort of Africa Magic and Golden Effects Pictures, tells the story of a couple who loses their only child, Roti, to a brief illness.
Wallowing in grief and throes of sadness, she finds a boy, Juwon, that looks exactly like her dead son, four years after his death and the words of her mother-in-law stirs up hope which spirals her into a maze of desperation and depression.
Reincarnation is the theme of this psychological drama with depression and the issue of “hole in the heart” disease taking a casual theme, yet treated with a flick of the wrist. The movie leaves you wondering what exactly is the motive behind the movie:is it to raise awareness, curiosity or discussion on reincarnation?
Kate Henshaw who played the role of Diane, gave a stellar performance of a grieving mother. Her portrayal was so real and convincing that I actually shed a tear in sympathy with her character. I was more impressed four years later into the movie and Kate was spotting a new hairdo, it shows some one paid attention to detail. I am not a fan of Nollywood kid actors but Dari Afolayan wowed me too with his apt representation of acting two characters-Roti and Juwon. Who would have thought this was his debut into the world of make-believe. He didn’t have to stare at the camera or say his lines like he’s crammed them as it is the norm with Nollywood kid acts. Fathia Balogun indeed was comfortable in her role, giving the interpretation of the picture perfect illiterate Yoruba woman.
Though his character was short-lived, the seriousness of the movie was downplayed with the arrival of Baba Juwon aka zebra crossing, an interstate public transport driver. His lingo was on point, garage language laced with Yoruba slangs, he sure was a class act comedian that had me bursting in the seam with laughter.
Other cast in the movie gave good acts BUT Kunle Afolayan should PLEASE stick to directing rather than acting. He was too flat either as a grieving or happy person. His expression in the course of the drama was impassive. Kate, a too doting mum whose son returns from school with his lunch pack untouched isn’t bothered until a teacher draws her attention to it(rolling my eyes). Am sure any child who comes back home two days without touching their lunch pack would find mummy dearest all up in their grill and pulling down the roof at the school of the child to know why that kid ain’t eating.
Cultural element was well balanced. The languages of English and Yoruba was well merged as no one tried to code mix as is wont in contemporary Nollywood. One of the major norm of Nollywood (voodoo) was conspicuously missing and it made me doff my hat to the creative gods. Rather than take Diane to a place of worship or Babalawo’s home, she was taken to a psychiatric home where she was treated.
According to Afolayan, the movie will be released in cinemas across the nation from June 30th,2017.
In all, this is a good one from Afolayan. 8/10