BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Think of Orunsewa as a junior secondary school stage drama, complete with repetitive props, singing, cheesy depictions of heaven and love that begs for life.
Orunsewa tells the story of a princess from heaven who comes to earth and falls in love, then refuses to return to heaven despite her mother’s warnings about the wickedness of humans. She marries the prince of Ayede, sacrifices her womb for him when he has to go to war and is unable to bear any children five years later. The queen mother decides her prince, who is now king upon his father’s demise, cannot go childless, so she brings in a new wife, Tejumade, who along with her, drugs and frames Orunsewa till she is banished from the land.
It is a conventional story of palace rivalry, with a spice of heaven, but it doesn’t seem to take the viewer anywhere really. Apart from its hero being absolutely perfect and its villain being absolutely evil, the terrible portrayal of Prince Adeyemi by Boma Apkore and the ridiculous special effects of the heavenly palace make the film hard to follow. Within the time of following, it is likely that you’re doing all your chores on the side, because even when you return, you would not miss a thing.
Highlights of this film are Sophia Alakija who plays love-struck Orunsewa, and Bimbo Ademoye who plays Tejumade. Despite the tiredness of the story, these two women give the viewer performances to love and laugh at. The movie also features Rachel Oniga as queen mother, Adunni Ade as Ila Orun, Razaq Olayiwola as Aderopo and Efe Irele.
I consider it lazy when a bunch of lines deep with meaning and being said in a local language are subtitled in English as merely ‘incantations’ or ‘proverbs’. How is the non-speaking viewer expected to understand and enjoy the richness of such lines? This is what happens in Orunsewa, compounded with modern-day slangs that make you question how their languages in Ayede are so inconsistent despite being stuck in the same village all their lives. Someone even speaks pidgin.
Ultimately, it is clear that Orunsewa is a shoddy work pieced together by a thread. It isn’t that they do not do, it is that they do not do enough, from the plot to the sound to the acting to the props, not enough is done to take this 2018 film beyond mediocre status.
The film is produced and directed by Desmond Eliot. There is no writing credit given, but the story is credited to Abiola Eboda.