Written by Damilola Olufemi
The confusion, upset, bafflement that triggered both families centred on the relationship of their children—Didi and Raj.
Ini-Dima “Didi” Okojie and Ruslaan “Raj” Mumtaz were the lead character in the Bollywood-Nollywood movie which had all it scenes shot in Nigeria.
In Namaste Wahala, Richard Mofe-Damijo, who played Ernest, a very powerful man, embodied the energy of an antagonist against his daughter, Didi, and was able to influence fear into his wife’s heart on what the family and company should be. His wife, Joke Silva, had one job—to help her husband reconsider his stance and let the duo of Raj and Didi stand for what they are meant to be.
Meera, Raj’s mom, was opposed to his marriage to Didi because of the huge cultural difference. Didi’s dad, unwilling to let an Indian to progress his company legacy, refused to bless the union at every mention.
Didi’s unyielding nature soon saw her join issues with her dad: first, for refusing to work for his law firm; second, for refusing to give up her love interest in Raj for Sonto, a lawyer who works at his law firm and has his favours; third, for pursuing a case against his client.
Many societies consider ladies to be weaker than their male counterparts but Namaste Wahala pits the strongwill of Didi, a female, against her father on ethics of the la w profession and gender-based violence of a client of hers.
Many parents would always want their children to take over from them rather than let them pursue their own dreams—a clear narration of Ernest before Meerah, Raj’s mom, weakened his resolve with a jibe of her own.
Namaste Wahala explored the differences between both countries. This cultural difference was mentioned when Raj was condemned for hoping to marry a Nigerian without proper planning, “Nigerian way.”
NAMASTE WAHALA SHORTCOMINGS
1. The movie failed to portray Nigerian dishes in the same manner as Meera’s praise of Indian dishes when Raj was forced to choose between the food cooked of his mom and his girlfriend. Didi should have cooked one of the delicious Nigerian meals. Noodles is not a Nigerian food. It is not one of our dishes.
2. None of the scenes in the movie was shot in India. Although, the movie director is an Indian man. Nevertheless, shooting some scenes in India would have actually added more beauty to the movie.
3. The movie looks a low budget movie even as brands were listed to have sponsored it. It doesn’t really depict much was spent on the movie than what it was.
4. Didi was not able to get the Indian dancing step well compared to our own dancing steps here in Nigeria like “Gbese”, “Gbe body e” and “Zanku leg work.” But it is understandable she’s not an Indian.
5. The movie should have talked more elaborately on the “bride price” and “groom price” confusion between Didi’s Father and Raj’s mother at the end of the movie. If eventually it doesn’t have a concluding part, that would be the biggest shortcoming in the movie.
6. The movie was unable to showcase the beauty of Hausa language, as it did with Yoruba and Igbo. Although, this would not be the first time a movie failed to capture all three main languages of Nigeria—Lion Heart by Genevive Nnaji showcased both Igbo and Hausa but left out Yoruba. For an inter-country movie like Namaste Wahala, it should have portrayed it all.
We look forward for more and great collaboration with other countries in movie making. Should Nollywood keep up this feat and collaboration, it would be highly loved and preached beyond the shores of Africa.