Nollywood meets Bollywood in love tale 'Namaste Wahala'

Reuters
Washington DC, USA Published: Feb 12, 2021, 06:11 PM(IST)

Namaste Wahala Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

The 110-minute film stars Indian actor Ruslaan Mumtaz and Nigerian actress Ini Dima-Okojie in the lead roles.

Indian-Nigerian restaurant owner Hamisha Daryani Ahuja gave up her long-running business to pursue her dream of making movies.
Two years later, the 36-year-old will see her first feature film, the cross-cultural love story "Namaste Wahala", debut on Valentine`s Day on Netflix.

The film, whose title translates in Hindi and Nigerian pidgin as `Hello trouble`, tells the tale of a Nigerian woman who falls in love with an Indian investment banker living in Lagos. The young couple faces a series of challenges - including their families - to be together.

"I wanted to do something that will be more relatable so it is a full-on Nollywood movie, but I brought in some Indian actors to make it a little bit more fun," Daryani Ahuja, who directed, executive, produced and acted in the movie, told Reuters.

"What I tried to do is the `90s style Bollywood ... the singing and dancing around trees. We have all of that. It is a very cheesy, mushy romantic drama." Born of Indian parents, Daryani Ahuja has lived most of her life in Nigeria.

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"I have lived in an Indian house, I know the Nigerian culture, the pidgin, the food and it is so interesting how even though everybody thinks with `Namaste Wahala` the cultures are different, we are actually so similar," she said. "We are actually all one, and that`s the whole theme of the movie."
The 110-minute film stars Indian actor Ruslaan Mumtaz and Nigerian actress Ini Dima-Okojie in the lead roles.

"It is very important to make films like this when you show cross-cultural love stories, because in every country ... people just separate each other as far as religion is concerned," Mumtaz said. "Especially in India, you can`t marry somebody if they are from a different religion or from a different caste."

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Mainly shot in English, the movie had a production team of more than 60 people across India and Nigeria. Production was completed before lockdowns made making movies difficult; the original release date was April.

"The thing I love the most is the underlying messages which is the beauty in embracing your similarities, the beauty in embracing love even if you are from different backgrounds," Dima-Okojie said.

Putting out hundreds of movies and television episodes a month, Nollywood is the world`s second most prolific film industry after India`s Bollywood.
Nigeria has a growing base of Bollywood fans, who watch its sitcoms subtitled in English, and "Namaste Wahala" is creating a buzz online.
Daryani Ahuja says she hopes to make a sequel in the coming months.

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