After a terrible few years of really bad movies, Nollywood has gotten its groove back.
Here it goes- I used to love Nollywood movies. I was a Nollywood junkie from the mid-90s to the early 00s. This might shock a lot of people who think I am a (harsh) critic of the industry.
I have loved movies since I was born. I actually prefer movies to music. As a kid, I watched Bollywood movies and straight to video Hollywood movies. My late father developed my love for films. He bought a lot of them from a video store in Apapa after work and I would overdose on them.
Nigerian movies broke the domination of Bollywood and Hollywood later on. Movies like 'Sakobi', 'Evil Men', 'Vuga', 'Igodo', 'Most Wanted', 'Hostages' and others enchanted me. For the first time, I saw Nigerians acting Nigerian stories. They hooked me. Hollywood movies were no longer in our movie collection and Indian movies disappeared.
Unfortunately, my love for Nollywood died. The movie industry relied more on corny formulas and needless splitting a movie into sequels. Story lines were unimaginative and the acting level dropped to a mediocre level. It became more noise and substance.
The golden generation of Nollywood produced greats. Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Liz Benson, and Ramsey Nouah Jr were household names.
The generation that followed failed to produce magic and stars. Nollywood became the butt of so many jokes as production standard fell. This was when I stopped being a fan and became a critic.
I lampooned the industry for its terrible movies and outrageous posters. I stopped watching Nigerian films. Every chance I got I blasted the movie producers, directors and actors. I never thought any good could come out of Nollywood again till I saw the trailer for 'Ije'.
I grudgingly accepted that 'Ije' was better than most Nollywood movies. I wasn't happy that this was Nollywood finally rising again. I thought 'Ije' was a fluke. Then came Kunle Afolayan brimming with confidence. His great movies sparked my interest. I have watched all his movies except for 'The CEO' and 'Phone Swap'. I loved October 1st but still hated Nollywood. The movie industry has inflicted a deep wound in me that I would not let heal.
The term New Nollywood came into town and it describes the new generation of our movie industry and a desire to go back to the good old days of dope movies.
I saw lines aligning and New Nollywood movies being premiered but I paid them no mind. I refused to be caught in the hype until the 'big one' came.
The buzz around 'Wedding Party' was unprecedented. In December 2016, everyone and their Pastor was talking about the Mo Abudu movie. I was fronting at first but by February 2017 I budged and watched it.
'Pam Pam' and 'Yogo Pam Pam' were the last two Nigerian movies to have made me laugh as much as 'The Wedding Party'. Finally, Nollywood had produced a funny and relatable movie of top notch quality.
The movie did not only fill me with laughter, it also filled me with hope. The success of the blockbuster movie tempted me to be a fan again but I held back.
Yesterday, I lost my virginity, I mean Nollywood cinema virginity. I watched my first Nigerian movie at the cinema. I didn't know what to expect. I actually thought I was going to be disappointed but I was thankfully wrong.
'Ojukokoro' is the movie that has made me a Nollywood believer again. The movie is a brilliant movie laced with humour, action, witty lines and Adrenalin. I gave the movie a standing ovation. That's how much it impressed.
In the coming days, I am going to watch 'Oloibiri', '93 Days' and '76'. A new golden generation of Nollywood is on the horizon and I don't want to miss it.