Saturday, 23 March 2024 04:24

Oladokun, Odunlade shine in ‘Ite Oku’, a mesmerizing movie: A literary review by Tola Adeniyi

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“Ite Oku” is a simple story but built into a very complex and complicated plot and catapulted over the roof by the ingenious interpretation of the characters by the star-studded cast assembled by producers Zentury Pictures and Sir Folly Film International.

It is the story of a very ambitious cab driver who is very much unsatisfied with his state in life and hastily seeks a get-rich-quick ladder to climb to opulence, prosperity and the attendant reckoning in society.

He fishes out a very wealthy woman and begs for money and fortune. Consequently the beautiful lady of high net-worth leads him to the mysterious abode of the dead where money rituals are performed and the huge wealth sought came in stupendous proportions.

Unknown to the greedy upstart, the beautiful lady belongs in the realm of the dead and she only assumes the body of the living for the sole purpose of dispensing largess to the needy as agreed upon by her husband in the grave! But with conditionality: whosoever becomes rich through her money rituals is bound by an irrevocable oath of chastity and barrenness throughout his or her life time. His or her spouse dwelling in the grave is wedded to him or her at the initiation of money rituals. Death, non-negotiable is the punishment for defaulters!

Fast forward, cab driver Aderoju acted by veteran Odunlade Adekola is courted by a bevy of ladies all over the community. These gold-digger dazzling ladies include Morenikeji acted by Yemisi Oke [who out of desperation enlists the supernatural powers of her mystical father], Layo played by Wunmi Toriola, Folake played by Ayisat Raji and Ajibike acted by Emiola Iyiola among others.

Full of suspense, viewers would not know how Yemisi, acted by vivacious legendary Bukky Wright emerges as the wealthy lady from the abode of the Dead, ‘Ite Oku’ or how Feyisara, acted by Temitope Adeniyi became Yemisi as the Dead living in the body of Yemisi acted by Bukky Wright. The knotty riddle becomes clearer when apprentice mechanic Femi, acted by multi-talented Murphy Afolabi is shown as the earthly fiancé of Feyisara [Temitope Adeniyi] who lost her life as a result of enforced abortion of the pregnancy she had for Femi by her upper-class parents who stoutly disapproved her relationship with apprentice Femi. Her untimely death provoked the unnatural death of Femi [Afolabi] and both then found themselves living happily together in the land of the Dead.

Femi had come by some fortune through money making rituals to counter his rejection by Feyisara’s parents. It’s this huge wealth he commands his dead fiancée Feyisara, in the body of Yemisi to go out to the land of the living and dispense to the needy where and how Aderoju falls into trap.

It is this entanglement that gives the plot its complexity and eerie weirdness and the experienced actors the opportunity to display their dexterity and super-star status in acting.

Long suffering widow, Mama Aderoju, magnificently portrayed by another legendary actor Tola Oladokun comes face-to-face with the heart-breaking realisation that her son, the only son, is a millionaire in cohort with money-making ritualists in the haven of the Dead. From that moment on, motherhood; emotional, harried, weeping, wailing and ecstatic, charges the atmosphere of the movie, garnering for Tola Oladokun the medal of the champion of the day. She is a delight.

But she is not alone. Bukky Wright, Murphy Afolabi and Yemisi Oke will not let go without creating dilemma for the viewers as to whom the 'Victor Ludorum' should go.

Watching Bukky Wright with the ease of her acting and delivering of her lines one is tempted to believe they are having a natural conversation with the lady next door or a family member in a family setting. She is so natural and naturalistic.

Odunlade Adekola is a man for all seasons and acting has become so natural that he is, in reality, the character he portrays.

Murphy Afolabi couldn’t have acted a dead man in the grave better nor could Tola Oladokun be more convincing as an agonizing mother in the throes of a grown son with death sentence on his head.

The costumes, the lighting, the audio, and other acoustics contribute in no little measure to the greatness of the movie *Ite Oku* which makes it one of the most outstanding movies in recent times.

It is entertaining, educative, and instructive while its visuals are both thrilling, captivating and alluring. Nothing was spared in making Ite Oku a movie for all time.

It was a big relief that the writer of the story, Shonde Afolabi did not insult African spiritual essence like several writers of stories in Nollywood who often times would portray the Bible or the Quran as being superior or more potent or more efficacious or more edifying than our [Africa’s] own cherished and revered traditions, cultures, beliefs and mores. Every religion is a product of people’s culture and tradition.

Tola Oladokun, Odunlade Adekola, Bukky Wright and Murphy Afolabi, you make acting a pleasure!

** Tola Adeniyi,

Actor. Dramatist. Playwright. Choreographer. Producer and Director. Chairman, Tola Adeniyi Foundation for Theatre and the Arts [TAFTA]

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