His remarkable career spans over two decades, beginning with "The Dilema of Rev. Father Michael," a collaboration between Kelani and Adebayo Faleti, and growing more indigenous with later films like "Kosegbe," "Agogo Eewo" and "Narrow Path."
Since he started his own production company - Mainframe Films and Television Productions - in 1991, Kelani has made an array of feature films, mostly literary adaptations, that promote Nigeria's rich cultural heritage.
To celebrate the birthday of the cinematic genius, here are top five Tunde Kelani movies.
Nigeria is a country with several cultural practices that define us. We have the Sharo ceremony in Fulani Land; traditional baby naming ceremony in Yoruba land; the fattening room in Efik land; and Omugwo in Igbo land.
"Saworoide" is the film for any young Nigerian interested in a film that encapsulates an interesting culture of a tribe in Nigeria.
The film follows the setting of an old Yoruba norm in the town of Jogbo, where a person can not be crowned king without the Saworoide (a talking drum) being played by the right person.
"Saworoide" celebrates the charm of African art, and the beauty of tradition and folklore, it also explores how Nigeria has dealt with civil rule and military dictatorship.
2. "Ti Oluwa Ni Le"
Written by Alhaji Kareem Adepoju aka Baba Wande, and directed by Kelani, the 1993 film featured Grace Oyin Adejobi, KareemAdepoju, Gbolagbade Akinpelu and Dele Odule.
In "Ti Oluwa Ni Le," a clique of land speculators enlists the help of a traditional chief to sell an ancestral land fraudulently to a business man, who plans to build a petrol station.
The community resists this and the case lands in a modern law court. But then, in retribution, the culprits start dying one after the other in bizarre circumstances.
In 1997, this timeless love story was released. The movie sparked a fashion revolution in Nigeria with the short aso oke Iro and Buba called Oleku.
An adaptation of Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola’s novel of same name, "Oleku" tells the story of Ajani, a final year student of the University of Ibadan in search of a life partner due to pressures from his mother.
He finds himself in a love quadrangle as he becomes involved with three beautiful women- Asake, his old time girl friend; Lola, a first year student he just met; and Sade, a childhood acquaintance who gradually becomes the centre stage of the love drama.
"Oleku" stars Yemi Shodimu and Feyikemi Niyi-Layinka.
4. "Ayo Ni Mo Fe"
"Ayo Ni Mo Fe" is a commentary on the societal attitude to mental illness. In the movie, Jumoke prefers a careless and irresponsible Ayo to a wealthy elderly trader in marriage.
Ayo in a reckless move impregnates an underage Adunni. They are hurriedly packaged into a doomed marriage. Jumoke is rudely shocked when she discovers this state of affairs.
Shock leads to confusion, confusion to depression and Jumoke ends up a lunatic roaming the streets.
The movie features Bola Obot, Yomi Ogunmola, Lere Paimo and Yinka Oyedijo.
Thunderbolt is woven around Ngozi, a young elegant Igbo lady and Yinka, a young man of Yoruba origin who meet and fall in love during the National Youth Service.
Their eventual marriage, against folk wisdom, soon develops problem fueled by rumours of extra-marital affairs, which destroys the trust between a devoted Ngozi and a jealous Yinka.
In the ensuing drama, Ngozi is laced with “Magun”, the mysterious and fatal chastity control, which will make her sexual victim die instantly after sexual intercourse.
For over two decades, Kelani has enjoyed an incredibly prolific career and has shown no sign of slowing down with his next film, ‘Sídí Ìlújinlẹ," a screen adaptation of Wole Soyinka's "Lion and the Jewel."