New comedy-drama, ‘Kpali’ further enriches the conversation about Nigerian immigrants in search of greener pastures. Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports
Now showing in theatres, latest cinema movie ‘Kpali’ appears to be the last Nollywood entry for 2019. The comedy-drama makes for a relatable story a good number of Nigerians home and abroad can attest to, having had the ‘Kpali’ experience in a way either through personal or related experience. The movie follows the story of Amaka Kalayor (played by Ini Dima-Okojie), a Nigerian professional working in an investment bank in London; her company is trimming down its workforce and with her work permit due for renewal, she may be caught in the line of fire.
She had to decide what to do if she gets the boot; whether to do all she can to stay in the UK or face heading back to Nigeria, despite all the horror stories she has heard from family and friends back home. Directed by Ladipo Johnson and produced by Emem Ema, the movie stars Nkem Owoh, Gloria Anozie Young, Linda Ejiofor, Kunle Remi, Uzor Arukwe, Seyilaw, Abounce, Torin Pocock and others. ‘Kpali’ is generally recognised in Nigerian pop culture as a term for passport or certificates and applied the same way in the movie.
Amaka eventually gets the opportunity to renew her job contract and a visa when the company sends her to Nigeria alongside Jack Hunter – played by Torin Pocock – to seal a multi-billion Naira deal.
Back home in Nigeria, Amaka has her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kalayor – played by Nkem Owoh and Gloria Anozie-Young – on her trail constantly nagging her to get married. Amaka returns to Nigeria with Jack to the loving arms of her parents, who mistake Jack for her fiance even after she tried explaining that they were just colleagues.
Mr. and Mrs. Kalayor tried pairing Amaka with different suitors but the idea was constantly ruined by the investment banker, who refuses to tell her parents the true reason she returned to Nigeria. ‘Kpali’ balances humor and poignancy, while successfully avoiding clichés. The actors especially first-time lead actor Torin Pocock did well to deliver an impressive performance. As Mr. and Mrs. Kalayor, Nkem Owoh and Gloria Anozie-Young showcased their talent as naturals. The cast also handled their hilarious roles with an efficiency that distinguishes the movie from other comedy movies. Amaka is torn between two men when she becomes closer to her colleague, Jack and her brother-in-law’s cousin, Jidenna – played by Kunle Remi. ‘Kpali’ is not totally predictable, nevertheless, it’s funny, relatable and it’s just the kind of comedy movie most Nigerians love.
The new feature film, according to the executive producer, Abhulime Ehiagwina, ‘Kpali’ offers a gripping story that a large spectrum of moviegoers can relate to, irrespective of gender and age. “My team and I are very pleased to present this work to the viewing public after many months of lensing both in Nigeria and London. Kpali highlights a blend of Nigerian and English cultures, amplified by an array of talents and a quality cinematic delivery. The story will further enrich the conversation about Nigerian immigrants in search of greener pastures.”