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Cinema Review: Femi Odugbemi’s “Gidi Blues” Goes The Extra Mile With Its Love Story


So I finally saw Gidi Blues. Within my Facebook circle, there’s been a sort of Gidi Blues fad going around. It’s the kind that’d make you curious, make you feel like you’re missing out on some inside joke or on Nigerian jollof. No one likes to miss out on Nigerian jollof.

Gidi Blues, a movie produced and directed by Femi Odugbemi, tells the story of love found in the most unlikely circumstance. Nkem (Hauwa Allahbura) and Simbi (Lepacious Bose) are friends and business partners who go to the busy Idumota market to buy drinks for an upcoming gig. While they’re at it, Nkem’s bag is snatched by a tout. Akinola (Gideon Okeke) and Jaiye (Daniel Lloyd), who are there to see Mrs Kuti, Akin’s textile merchant mum, are close by when the theft happens and, on a whim, Akin breaks into a hot chase after the hoodlum. It is a longshot, but Akin is able to retrieve the bag and return it to Nkem, and first contact is made.

Gidi Blues

I am a big fan of the fact that the love story doesn’t begin at this point. It doesn’t even begin at their next seemingly coincidental meeting set up by Simbi under false pretenses to get Jaiye’s attention. It grows from a sort of acquaintanceship, instead, and when Akin, a single mama-spoiled thirty-year-old with no seeming responsibility, begins to man up after his wealthy single mother’s disownment, Nkem begins to see him in the light of a potential boyfriend.

The Simbi angle is an interesting one as well. She complains at the beginning of how she wishes she was slim and different, claiming that her size is the reason she doesn’t have a man. Eventually, in order to get Jaiye’s attention, she creates a fake Facebook profile with a slim lady’s photos, and voila! It works. In the end, it is not said if they end up together, which also makes me smile. A little mystery is good for the soul.

The Gidi Blues story scores major points on originality. Love stories run a high risk of being cliché, but Gidi Blues goes the extra mile and offers you a fresh uncharted course. I agree there are moments that fall into the typical every now and again, but the main story trumps them all.

The casting is fair. While Gideon Okeke’s acting is natural and ovation-worthy, that of his main co-star, Hauwa Allahbura is quite stiff. Her facial expressions are basic and get unexciting pretty quickly. She is a beauty, no doubt, but her role isn’t very fitting for her kind of acting, and waters down the chemistry that could have been. Lepacious Bose makes us laugh again and again without trying too hard to induce it, and as Jaiye, Daniel Lloyd is forgettable. Bukky Wright seems to be aging gracefully as she takes on more mature roles, retaining her brilliance on the screen, and so is Tina Mba’s. For an upcoming actress, Nancy Isime dazzles as Carmen, and wins as my favorite character in the movie. Characters like Sodiq, the thug who helps Akin with his new market business, and the canoe guy, portrayed by Toyin Oshinaike, are also brilliant additions to the plot that add satisfying spice.

I like that the movie shines a torch on both the flattering and the not-so-fantastic sights of Lagos. It justifies its title well enough and makes the non-Lagos-based audience have a satisfying feel of Lagos in all its glory. The scenes shot in the market, especially, are properly shot and look very natural without all the passersby stopping to stare. For a movie shot in Nigeria, that is just swell. Sound and picture quality didn’t seem to have any hassles, And the music? Aduke shone like the sun and Banky W was impeccable.

If proper attention to detail had been paid, the texting mistakes would easily have been sorted. So we have Jaiye typing ‘Simbi is’ but when the message is shown at the other end, it reads as ‘She was’. There is a Susan he keeps texting, and suddenly, it shows that it is a Sandra instead. The editors could have been a lot more thorough in preventing these mistakes.

There are scenes where Hauwa is shown saying something but the voice we hear says something different, causing the video and audio to be totally out of synch. And I would never get how little trust people have in movies, such that, as soon as someone plants even the slightest doubt about their partners, they go on a tirade of betrayals or a silent treatment. I probably will never understand it.

The absolutely cliché ending where Akin’s mother asks him not to lose the girl and to go get her immediately almost ruins the sumptuous meal for me. I have seen that ending in my lifetime like what? A million times? Still, as soon as Gideon drops in the water, my lips and all becomes fine. One too many times, Gidi Blues makes me smile, and makes me forgiving, especially because it tells a lovely story in an unusual way.

I’ll give it 65%.

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