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Pulse Movie review Kunle Afolayan's "Roti" explores loss, grief and reincarnation

Kunle Afolayan's "Roti" is a tribute to those coping with the loss and effects of losing a loved one.

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Roti poster play

Roti poster

Sometimes, the most difficult thing about losing a loved one is recovering the hope and the strength to keep living.

Kunle Afolayan's latest movie "Roti" is a collaboration between African Magic films and Golden Effects Pictures.

Just like "Omugwo," Afolayan makes a fine detour in style and subject matter after his series of whodunit productions such as "October 1," "The CEO" and "Figurine."

"Roti" is a psychological drama that explores pain and loss felt by parents who lose a child they waited 10 years to have.


It is an emotional analysis of grief, a movie about finding the strength to carry on with life after losing the reason of a happy life.

In "Roti," Diane and Kabir lose their son, Roti, to a brief heart illness few days to his birthday.

As in many cases after losing a child, Diane and Kabir exhibit intense grief. During a conversation, Diane is told by her mother-in-law that Roti will definitely return to her. Diane responds saying that's impossible as she doesn't even have a womb.

Somehow, this couple finds hope, comfort and the urge to be happy in their love for each other.

Poster for Kunle Afolayan's "Roti" play

Poster for Kunle Afolayan's "Roti"


However, things take a different turn the day Diane sees a replica of Roti, Juwon, walking home from school and obviously living a different life.

She is excited that just as her mother-in-law had promised, her son has 'returned to her'. Diane becomes obsessed with understanding the concept of reincarnation.

Kunle Afolayan and Kate Henshaw on set of "Roti" play

Kunle Afolayan and Kate Henshaw on set of "Roti"


In spite of discouragement from her husband, Diane develops an unlikely relationship with Juwon and his mother, caring for him like a mother for her son.

She starts to feel alive again until she is forced to accept that Juwon is not her son or Roti's reincarnate - she is washed anew by grief and descends into depression.

The movie features Kate Henshaw, Kunle Afolayan, Toyin Oshinaike, Fathia Balogun and Darimisire Afolayan.

Although a touching movie, "Roti" is still leavened by touches of humour offered by the relationship between Juwon's parents - Toyin Oshinaike and Faithia Balogun.

Henshaw and Afolayan give great performances of grief-stricken parents on a journey of recovery. Henshaw absorbs herself in the character Diane and her pain is almost real.

Darimisire Afolayan makes an outstanding debut as Roti and Juwon; a debut that assures a long and successful acting career.

Kate Henshaw and Kunle Afolayan on set of "Roti" play

Kate Henshaw and Kunle Afolayan on set of "Roti"


"Roti" explores the many sides that come with losing a loved one - the loss, grief, mental instability, hope and resolution.

It's treatment of a sensitive topic such as mental illness is applaudable. It takes away spiritualism and tackles mental instability in the best way possible.

"Roti" deliberately avoids an obvious ending, but, there's hope at the end of "Roti" that makes this poignant journey worthwhile.

As far as heavy dramas go, Kunle Afolayan's "Roti" goes quite well.

"Roti" premieres on June 30, 2017.

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