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Tunde Kelani Movie Maker Deploys Stage And Film Technique For Yeepa

Ace movie maker, Tunde Kelani has gone back memory lane to adapt into modern movie, Femi Osofisan's classic work, Yeepa Solarin Nbo.

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Tunde Kelani set to drop Yeepa play

Tunde Kelani set to drop Yeepa

(Main Frame Pictures)

Ace filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, is stirring a revolution. The award winning filmmaker is charting a new path in film production in Nigeria with his 'filmed play' Yeepa,  a fusion  of  stage  and  film technique adapted from Femi Osofisan's classic literature, Yeepa Solarin Nbo.

Poised to preserve some Yoruba literature, Kelani initiated a project, 'Retrieval of Yoruba Classics' - drama, poetry, literature, etc, which, he said,  are huge and have always been the bedrock of his past works. 

In recent time, he unearthed some of these huge literary resources and took them  to stage.

These are materials that resonate with me dating back to when I was very young. I was able to re-produce 'The Palmwine Drinkard' originally written by Amos Tutuola, but the production was based on the opera by Kola Ogunmola, and I’m really happy that we were able to achieve it.

Incidentally, the Lagos State government has supported us in the overall project of the retrieval of the Yoruba classics.

In 2010, I had produced, 'Yeepa Solarin Nbo' which the Lagos State government used to celebrate Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary."

For the third time, the film maker, who has just wrapped his new feature  film, Dazzling Mirage, due for premiere November 7, has revisited the classic, now as a 'filmed play', deploying a hybrid of traditional theatre artistes,  trained actors and a handful of Nollywood stars.

The 'filmed drama' depicts Isola (Bayo Bankole) a rascally and unreliable  man who is mistaken for the formidable Public Complaints Commissioner, Solarin, by the corrupt officials of the Local Government Council. His presence causes anxiety and panic among the officials, and they make desperate efforts to out-do each other so as to pacify the visitor.

The flurry of activities to cover their misdeeds  expose  the high level of corruption and rot  prevalent in the local council. Isola is therefore generously bribed and accorded the reception that befits the status of a man of importance. The discovery of the mistaken identity coincides with the arrival of the real Public Complaints Commissioner.

The new direction, Kelani  said,  would elicit interests and excitement in Nigerian film industry, which critics believe, it's not churning out  new offerings and as a result fails to arouse response or interest of the audience.

The industry needs more  exciting stories. Productions that are not only stimulating but good enough to elicit huge response from the audience and commercial success at the box office.

We really need to swing away from that stale or repetitive stories'  era and explore the richness of our literary resources. That's why I always emphasize and remind young people that you can't, for instance, be a good filmmaker if you don't read, because having acquired the skill to make films, your bank of imagination and fantasy has to come from somewhere. You cannot create something from nothing, it's not possible.

In Yeepa, adapted from Femi Osofisan's Yeepa Solarin Mbo, in  memory of Dr. Tai Solarin, (1922-1994), a  former  proprietor and Principal, Mayflower School in Ikenne and one time Public Complaints Commissioner, Oyo, Ogun and Ondo States, in 1976, feared for his relentless battle against corruption, the 'filmed drama' could not have been more apt especially now that corruption has taken a frightening dimension in Nigeria.

The robust cast is a fusion of the traditional theatre artists, trained thespians and Nollywood- Ropo Ewenla, Bayo Bankole, Ayo Binta Mogaji, Ebun Oloyede (Olaiya), Toyin Osinaike, Joke Muyiwa, Kayode Olaiya, Monsuru Olajide, Samson Alli, Ibikunle Oladipo, Gboyega Olomodosi, Toyin James, Toyin Omotubora, Yemi Ogunyemi.

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