Namaste Wahala which translates to “Hello Trouble” is a cross-cultural romantic movie, produced and directed by Hamisha Daryani Ahuja. The film stars Ini Dima-Okojie and Ruslaan Mumtaz as the main characters in this first collaboration between Bollywood and Nollywood, two of the biggest film industries in the world.
The film revolves around the romantic relationship between an Indian man and a Nigerian lady. The movie is set in Lagos, Nigeria and it tells the love story of Raj (Ruslaan Mumtaz) and Didi (Ini Dima-Okojie). The two fall in love faster than you could finish pronouncing “wahala”. After three months of dating, the topic of marriage comes into their relationship, partly under pressure from their parents and since it was love at first sight so I guess it is expected. However, Didi’s father (Richard Mofe-Damijo) wants her to marry Somto (Ibrahim Suleiman), a Nigerian man, who is one of his trusted employees. On the other side, Raj’s mother (Sujata Sehgal) also wants him to marry someone from their native country, India.
The rest of the story goes into how the lovers are able to convince their parents that they are meant for each other and blah blah blah— you get the gist already. The writers added a subplot to make the story take another form instead of just being about overcoming cultural barriers. This mini lacklustre detour places Didi and her father on opposite sides of a legal case, whereby Didi is fighting to get justice for an assault victim and her father has more to lose with his biggest client at stake. That is basically all the 1h 46min movie is about— an Indian man and a Nigerian lady trying to make their parents see past their different cultural backgrounds and an assault case of a daughter trying to prove her worth.
No, I am not done…
The opening scene of Namaste Wahala is way too cheesy— a woman bumps into a man while jogging at the beachside and they stare into each other’s eyes for like an hour; just kidding?. I actually thought the movie was just gonna end there, I really need to thank Emma (Koye Kekere Ekun), Raj’s friend, for intruding at that time.
It is a romantic comedy but no one needs such a dowdy opening. If not that I had to review the movie, I would have ended the movie right there. The key to plots like this is showing ingenuity and uniqueness which the movie lacks. It is a never-before-seen collaboration between Nollywood and Bollywood which means an extra yard of creativity should have been employed to make the movie exceptional.
The plot of Namaste Wahala is very ordinary and common. The only part that piqued my interest throughout the movie was the hot exchange of words between Raj’s mother and Didi’s mom (Ajoke Silva). Raj and Didi’s romantic relationship developed so abruptly and there was no backstory whatsoever for them. The supporting characters were more interesting to watch than the leads. Angie (Anee Icha), who played the role of Didi’s friend and Emma, Raj’s Nigerian friend, made the movie a little bit manageable to watch with the way they tried to make both lovers reconcile. They were just better to watch than the lead actors (it was more of trying to find solace with a character in a bungled plot).
The movie is just a plot filled with overacting and a speck of sexual assault case to heighten the movie’s relevance. Some of the comedy scenes in the movie were unnatural and a bit forced— Broda Shaggi who played the role of a taxi driver would have perfected this act if only he didn’t overdo the little role he was given to play.
Still on the excesses, Namaste Wahala is filled with overly dramatic scenes coupled with overly dramatic sound effects and tacky dialogues. This tingly background sound was used so often that it seems like it was a means employed to control viewers’ emotions or tell viewers how they ought to feel while watching a scene instead of letting the acting and storytelling speak for itself.
Namaste Wahala gave room for bizarre scene transitions which made the already cringey movie muddled up. The cameo appearance by M.I, playing himself, and his purpose in the movie will/might forever remain a mystery. He pops out of nowhere; takes pictures with some of the characters in the movie, with his music playing in the background and he leaves the scene—mission accomplished.
I am starting to think adding unnecessary scenes in Nollywood movies is the latest trend now, if not, what is the point of introducing a character who adds nothing to the plot, if not for publicity sake (a sort of “oh! Namaste, I am M.I and I still sing”). It might also just be a means of adding irrelevant scenes to make the plot unnecessarily long. In all, the movie is prosaic, lacks the extra length of creativity and employs cheap antics to advertise Coca-Cola at every chance it gets—or better still—at every table it finds.
- Great work was really done to the scene where Didi needs evidence to incriminate the rich brat who assaulted her client at a hotel. It took her a really hard time to know she needed the security footage of the hotel to exonerate her client. It really does take a genius to figure some things out?. I almost thought I was watching Sherlock Holmes.
- This is one big record breaking 1h 46m Coca-Cola commercial.
- Our Nollywood Model Checklist tally
- An aerial shot of a road in Lagos:✅
- Instagram/Internet superstars (
that cannot act): ✅✅✅✅
- Sloppily placed ads: ✅
- Crass comedy: ✅
- A handful of standout actors: ✅✅
- A sprinkle of old Nollywood actors: ✅✅
- A novel idea ruined by poor execution:✅
Namaste Wahala is currently streaming on Netflix.