BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Twenty episodes of pure intrigue, class and originality is what Ndani TV’s Gidi Up offers. It is a fresh perspective of deliberateness, created by Jadesola Osiberu. Unlike many others of its kind, Gidi Up pulls you right into it, to live in it and experience it for yourself with its next-door neighbour feel. You can understand Obi, a charming OAP with an air of nonchalance and a weakness for skirts and pretty faces. You can relate to Eki who seems to have found love on her quest for relevance, and then have it slip through her fingers in the most painful way. You feel Yvonne, ambitious and sexy, who keeps attracting the wrong kind of men and repeating a cycle of errors. You get where Tokunbo is coming from, with the need to prove his father wrong and make a name for himself in the midst of naysayers.
Gidi Up looks into these four characters, as well as their relationships with one another and with the rest of the world that is Lagos. Their struggles are familiar; the experiences of many young Lagosians looking to make sense of their lives in a big bustling city. They have a common enemy, Folarin, who they successfully send to prison for molesting Yvonne in her apartment at the end of season one. Yvonne refuses to press charges, but on the long run, this would cost her many things, and cost her friends as well. There are also other antagonists who come up along the way, and at the end of season two, the four friends hit ‘rock bottom’ (Eki, not so much).
Gidi Up has a brilliant story. I can almost sing this in a song. There have been several movies/series based on the lives of young friends, but Gidi Up whips up an appetizing newness in its approach, in its conflict and in its connection. The lines are quite authentic, and seem like the actors were just told to be themselves. Most importantly, the characters are consistent with their mannerisms all season long. Obi (OC Ukeje) flirts shamelessly, has an unpremeditated sense of humor and cares deeply for his friends. Tokunbo (Deyemi Okanlawon) is the life of the party, has a regard for everyone, and is a hard worker. Eki (Titi Sonuga) is calm –very calm, and loving and talented. Yvonne (Somkele Idhalama) is sweet but carries her guilt around her neck like a wedding necklace.
There were quite a number of changes in the series between both seasons. In season one, Karibi Fubura was starred as Obi, Oreka Godis as Eki and KC Ejelonu as Sharon. This however changed in season two to OC Ukeje, Titi Sonuga and Adesuwa Etomi respectively. Even though the previous actors were great at their roles, the switch totally transformed the series from what it was to a masterpiece. Titi Sonuga started off on a slightly shaky note, as Oreka seemed to bring more life to the Eki character, and I kept asking why Titi’s expression always seemed like she was smiling. But she caught on midseason, and began to glow. Another major change was its length. Season two was an extension from the previous season’s eight-minute episodes to thirty minutes of sheer awesomeness. In season one, we didn’t realize Folarin would be anything other than a distraction, a waka-pass at best, but when he returned in season two, he was like a phoenix, rising and carrying the show with him. Daniel Etim Effiong brings to the table as a villain, a kind of conflict that would sincerely make you feel hate, the good hate. He portrays the Folarin character with a malevolent smile, good looks and an interesting dress sense that makes you love and hate him all at once.
Apart from its young cast of utterly talented actors, Gidi Up stars some of Nollywood’s finest veterans who take up their roles with the elegance and maturity they are known for. Bimbo Manuel is Chief Jagun, Jide Kosoko is Commissioner Laitan, Ireti Doyle is Illa, Joke Silva is Mrs. Adepoju, Ayo Lijadu is Mr. Adepoju, Najite Dede is Ade, among several others. The casting of Gidi Up is another one of its allures, as it is fitting for virtually every character. There are no unnecessary faces gracing irrelevant roles; everyone is there for a reason.
The beauty of its story aside, Gidi Up addresses several topics. It delves into politics and shines its torch on corrupt practices in government. When Commissioner Laitan says to one of his special advisers, “You are only here because you are somebody’s nephew or cousin”, it reminds you of the sad reality that positions in government are not really based on merit but on connections. Jola is drugged in a party and gang-raped by four men who film the entire session. The pressure on her and on her friend, Monye, to take spiked drinks are already indications enough that something isn’t right, and while Monye sends a text to Obi to come rescue her as soon as she begins to feel dizzy, Jola is not so lucky. Rape, corruption, acceptance, independence, abortion and lots more are dealt with extensively, bringing the show even closer home.
The music in Gidi Up is absolutely ovation worthy. Every single song played (and there were so many) is cited as it is being played, giving publicity to the artists in the process, and these songs are fitting for every scene. When Titi Sonuga’s poetry is on, it is so beautiful you want to shut your eyes and drink it all in.
Story wise, acting wise, character wise, production wise, Gidi Up is hard to fault. It gives you the best of Nollywood and makes you proud of it. The plot is totally unpredictable, and you enjoy every moment of it like a steaming plate of pepper soup. I hear the next season would be up in 2017, and I honestly cannot wait.