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“Namaste Wahala” Movie Review Starring Ini Dima-Okojie

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Namaste Wahala translated “Hello Trouble” in English is an Indo-Nigerian film produced, written and directed by restaurant owner turned filmmaker in Lagos Hamisha Daryani Ahuja on her directorial debut. The cross-cultural romantic comedy film stars Ini Dima-Okojie and Ruslaan Mumtaz as lead roles. The 2020 film is the first major collaboration between Bollywood and Nollywood which are two of the biggest film industries in the world – though the film was claimed to be a cultural landmark.

The film Namaste Wahala tells the love the story of an Indian boy and a Nigerian girl despite their completely different backgrounds with cultural differences. Things take a turn when they both introduce each other to their parents. Didi’s father (Richard Mofe-Damijo) wants her to marry his Nigerian employee Somto (Ibrahim Suleiman) and Raj’s overbearing mother (Sujata Segal), is only stunned to realize that her only son wants to get married to a Nigerian girl. The film is a novel concept, given how few interracial love stories of its kind exist.

For Nigerian standard all that can be said is that it only gets better. One of the very few home movies that deviates from the normal Nigerian rom-com. Namaste Wahala takes note of how powerful the female gender is – that is, being able to pursue a succesful career and at the same time raise a home. The movie also highlights the ongoing issue of rape and assault – common in both India and Nigeria.

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Here’s the issue, Indian movies are known for their dramatic dancing scenes and moves – the pop track used ‘I Don’t Wanna Let You Go’ is almost as good as a few Hindi numbers, but, with a lacking background dancers – it’s just well disappointing.

The storyline is quite old fashioned – where two people are madly n love with villians (parents) ready to do what it takes to wreck the relationship. However, everything just feels rushed, we dont get to see how the pair fell deeply in love – there’s just dancing and wham bam! Raj and Didi are inseparable. There are no high or low moments in the film and the narrative flows at a dull pace throughout.

Furthermore, Richard Mofe Damijo Igbo isn’t pleasing to the ears – reasons why Igbo roles should be given to Igbo actors or actors that are fluent in Igbo. Other languages which are peculiar Nigerians such as Pidgin English and Hindi can he heard in the movie but lacks a logical connection to the moods the films dialogue tries to portray.

While the film is also classified as comedy, the only thing funny about the film is the poorly delivered cliches. It gets to the point the constant use of Samuel A. Perry aka Brodashaggi as a funny character becomes tiring and just plain old boring.

The leads- Mumtaz and Okojie performance is considerably excellent but the movies poor writing limits their full potential.

All said, we hope to see more of Ahuja directing – there’s room for improvement and Namaste Wahala is great for a directors first trial.

Movie Grade

C

Where to Watch Namaste Wahala

Namaste Wahala is currently showing on Netflix

Cast and Crew

Directed byHamisha Daryani Ahuja
Produced byHamisha Daryani Ahuja
Written byHamisha Daryani Ahuja
Screenplay byDiche Enuwa
Temitope Bolade-Akinbode

Starring:

  • Ini Dima-Okojie as Didi, Nigerian lawyer
  • Ruslaan Mumtaz as Raj, an Indian investment banker
  • Richard Mofe-Damijo as Ernest, Didi’s father
  • Joke Silva as Shola, Didi’s mother
  • Sujata Sehgal as Meera
  • Osas Ighodaro as Preemo
  • Adaora Lumina
  • Imoh Eboh as Jane
  • Ibrahim Suleiman as Somto
  • Hamisha Daryani Ahuja as Leila
  • Broda Shaggi
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