The Nigerian movie industry popularly known as Nollywood needs to clean up it’s act and give the viewing public better value.
Aside our poor standard of education, Nigeria’s Nollywood – especially the Yoruba movie Industry can also be held strictly responsible for the illiteracy, ignorance and backward level of the common Nigerian populace.
Many people learn wrong facts from their misinformation, mis-education and false awareness created on various vital issues and topics through Nollywood movies.
Since the completion of my MBA program, I have had quite a lot of free time on my hands. I lost my job early on in the lockdown but it became easier for me to study without the added stress of a full time job. And I felt I needed to take some time to decompress after such rigorous studying. Therefore, nowadays, I spend a few hours during the day to watch some Nollywood and Netflix movies.
There are a few movies that I have seen that really made sense and I quite thoroughly enjoyed – albeit with a few observed flaws. You see, Nollywood movies were not always known for good quality particularly in the areas of production, dialogue, acting, sound and video quality and interpretation of roles. However, some producers and even directors have evolved, honed their skills and improved on their “acts”
But there are still many areas where Nollywood producers need to work and greatly improve on. I speak also of actors in many cases who seem to think it acceptable to misinterpret a role they are given to play or simply ridicule it.
Nollywood should be the best forum to educate the masses and create awareness of several healthcare or social issues. For example, that a heart attack patient can still be saved with prompt first aid treatment. Or that a person that has fainted does not necessarily need hospital treatment… But Nollywood does not even seem to have the faintest idea of the difference between a panic attack, cardiac arrest, heart attack or a mere fainting spell.
Many Nollywood practitioners seem oblivious to the fact that they are not mere entertainer or amusers, but educationists and information disseminators. People pick up so much information from movies. However, when an actor misinterprets a role and gives out woefully wrong information in the lines he delivers, he has succeeded in mis educating his audience.
Now 2 things can happen when this occurs: either the actor is seen and dismissed as an uneducated ignorant mediocrity by a literate, informed and exposed viewer, or he succeeds in mis educating certain viewers who were completely ignorant of the subject matter beforehand.
It still surprises me that so many of Nollywood actors are University graduates from the information they give out in their lines sometimes….because we know that many of them “ad-lib” and deliver their lines in their own words and according to their own interpretation. How many Nollywood movies have I watched an actor playing the role of a doctor performing CPR on a “live patient” ? Or the crass rubbish commonly spewed out about cancer or other life threatening ailments? Only in Nollywood will a cancer diagnosis mean immediate hysterectomy! Or a pain in the chest will be readily concluded to be breast cancer – without as much as a scan! Or someone that was brought to hospital from a “minor car crash” will suddenly need a kidney transplant!
How about the abysmal portrayal of lawyers, judges or courtroom procedures?
What will it take for an actor to research the role he is given to portray, know how doctors behave, deliver bad news or correctly explain ailments and conditions?
In Nollywood, a woman will go for a pregnancy test but the doctor will hand the result over to the man accompanying her! In 2020? Or a “husband” will plan with the doctor” to perform an abortion or hysterectomy on his wife – without her knowledge or consent! In Nollywood?
Or a woman is arrested and charged with murder because her sex partner died during intercourse!
I think one of the reasons Nollywood has been able to get away with such nonsense for so long is perhaps because those in the different professions have not bothered to complain about the mis-portrayal of the ethics of their profession. Or they are simply unaware of them.
I actually laughed one day I heard a Nollywood actor compare the industry with Hollywood!!! Now that the industry makes so much money or reported to be the third largest after Hollywood and Bollywood does not mean standards or quality also compare. It’s like comparing Chinese products with Japanese or German simply because China is getting richer. Nollywood is estimated at $50 billion annually. That is a lot of revenue. But shouldn’t a portion of that be plunged into educating the scriptwriters, directors and producers and for making quality films and movies?
Yes, Nollywood is in the business of entertainment. But this is also an industry where information is given out. And it is the industry’s responsibility to guard the type of information that comes out.
Sadly, anyone including the illiterate, the uneducated and the unlearned can become a Nollywood movie producer just as long as they can find the money to fund the production. And when the producer is also the director/main actor, what standard can one expect?
Another thing I have noticed is the level of vulgarity, lewdness and gross indecency that Nollywood – particularly the Yoruba movie industry has descended to in recent years! From what I have watched recently, many of them are just yards away from being pornographic! Many of the dialogues are filled with obscene references and filthy jargon unfit for modern day viewing. And it is not just the male actors. The females are just as bad if not worse in many cases. The lack of intellectual lines has been replaced with meaningless, disgustingly offensive and witless, dry jokes.
And why, oh why for Gods merciful sake does there have to be so much shouting and cursing?? Sometimes, I find myself wondering why so many Nollywood actors fall on seriously bad times.. Could it be as a result of all the cursing and negative declarations they pronounce on themselves? This practice does not portray Yoruba people in a good light at all. Every other line is a curse and this makes for seriously uncomfortable viewing.
And then there is the eardrum shattering shouting. GOSH!!
Do they have to shout? Sometimes, you cannot make out the dialogue from the cacophony of voices and the very loud shouting! I cannot count just how many movies I abandoned after just 15 minutes because I could not cope with the shouting – or cursing.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, this is not a generalisation of Nollywood. A few players in the Industry have “upped” their game and can deliver valuable products. But the majority still have a long way to go in giving real value for money.
Think of the people you are making the movie for and what you want them to get from it. Is it pleasure – or torture…?
Also, consider that your movies are not just for the illiterate uneducated folks on the streets of Lagos or Abeokuta. The learned and educated both in the country and in the diaspora also would like to watch and enjoy them – with their westernised kids.
I often wonder if there is a any kind of licensing board that these movies pass through before they are released to the public – because frankly, many of them are simply not fit for public consumption.
And if we had a better government, they would have passed laws to regulate the industry and take them up on materials they broadcast to the public.
Alas, our government is not much better. Many of our leaders themselves speak like they were educated by Nollywood 😢
By the way. I congratulate the industry on the discovery of the aerial view shot. But you are now overusing it…..