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Tunde Kelani summons “The Lion and The Jewel”

There are tons of books that have been made into movies, surely, a great adaptation of a good literary book into a movie can be very exciting. If done very well, you can literally feel the imaginative characters you have created jump right off the screen. It requires an amazing type of exquisite talent to bring characters out of the books to life.

One great person who does this professionally is Tunde Kelani, a Nigerian filmmaker, famous for promoting  Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage. Some of his most successful films are literary adaptations, therefore, his love for reading can be clearly seen in his romance with the written texts, a love that has given his films their identity. From turning Akinwunmi Ishola’s “O le ku”, Koseegbe into successful movies, to Bayo Adebowale’s The Virgin which he translated to The Narrow path. He also continued with Femi Osofisan’s “Maami”, as he released a movie with the same title. Recently, Tunde Kelani produced a movie about sickle cell anemia, Dazzling Mirage which was adapted from a novel written by Olayinka Egbokhare.

With the trail of success story behind him, it’s no wonder he is looking to adopt “The Lion and the Jewel” by Wole Soyinka. One can hope that the movie would come to terms with the “spirit” of the book as it takes into account all layers of the play’s complexity. Anyone who has read the classic would be interested in the portrayal of the complex interaction of Sidi, the village belle; Lakunle, the area school teacher; and Baroka the village chieftain.

When interviewed by Punch Newspaper, Tunde Kelani highlighted that he aims to produce an entertaining, culturally rich and educating movie. This he claims informed his choice of the movie cast; Adebayo Salami as Baroka, Ibrahim Chatta as Lakunle and Crown  Troupe- trained Ayisat Onitri playing the role of Sidi. He also added that the movie had received a nod from Professor Wole Soyinka, as he, Kelani, was inspired to film the movie by the author himself.

The movie is to be shot in Ibadan and would see Kelani return to down to earth indigenous language tradition he had started his career with as the movie titled “Sidi Ilujinle” will be rendered in the Yoruba Language.

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Adepeju Adenuga

Adepeju Adenuga is a writer (considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense). She holds a Masters Degree in Literature in English from the University of Lagos.

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