COVID 19 Halts Namaste Wahala

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COVID-19 hits the film debut of Indian businesswoman turned filmmaker, Hamisha Daryani Ahuja, Titled “Namaste Wahala”, which loosely translates to ‘Hello trouble’. The Nollywood/Bollywood production will have to wait till a later date. Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports

Upcoming Nollywood and Bollywood collaboration, Namaste Wahala has joined the list of entertainment projects affected by the Covid-19 plague. The scheduled April 24 theatrical release of the Nigerian-Indian production would now have to wait till October 2020. The upcoming romantic comedy is said to be a beautiful mix of Nigerian and Indian cultures. The film stars Nigerian actor Ini Dima-Okoji and India’s Ruslaan Mumtaz in the lead roles.

So far, Hollywood has been the most hit by the pandemic with release dates of notable titles pushed back or productions halted. A couple of Nollywood productions have also experienced same. Namaste Wahala is the film debut of Indian businesswoman turned filmmaker Hamisha Daryani Ahuja. She had earlier released the first poster for the movie, showing a young couple in elaborate wedding regalia.

The movie is a love story that cuts across the cultures of two countries: India and Nigeria. The movie touches various genres: romance, comedy, drama. ‘Namaste Wahala’ which loosely translates to ‘Hello trouble’ is filmed mostly in English with a mix of Hindi and Nigeria’s pidgin language. Ahuja has lived in Nigeria since she was a child and says her experience living in Africa’s most populous country inspired her to make her debut film.

Hamisha Daryani Ahuja who weaved a tale across two diverse and rich cultures – Nigeria and Indian created the movie from her experience living in Nigeria and India “I am Indian but I have lived in Nigeria my whole life. Everyone loves Bollywood and Nollywood, so I thought ‘how is it that no one has done a love story between the two?’” she said earlier during an interview. It’s no secret that Nigerians and Indians have one major thing in common: over the top weddings.

The two cultures are basically at per when it comes to beautiful, extravagant weddings, which is why many often fantasised about attending a joint Nigerian-Indian wedding. That is made possible in the yet to be released movie starring some of Nollywood and Bollywood’s best, such as RMD, Joke Silva, Ruslaan Mumtaz and Segal Sujata.

The film is widely believed to be the first movie collaboration between Nollywood and Bollywood. However, it’s not the first time the two film industries have joined forces. The 2017 film J.U.D.E. is credited as being the first Nollywood-Bollywood co-production, according to Shadow & Act. It only makes sense that two of the world’s biggest film industries would unite once again, to give us an exciting cross-cultural production.

Ahuja had also explained that she was poised to make a feature film that will examine her cultural experiences living in India and Nigeria. “Namaste Wahala is a story a lot of laughter and a few tears about love and family. This project is very close to my heart as it’s my first movie and it’s also the first movie ever that brings together Nollywood and Bollywood. I am grateful to all the extraordinary cast and crew that helped me make this project a reality.

“With nothing but a passion for film, I embarked on a journey to make a feature film that is a melting pot of my cultural experiences between India and Nigeria. The moment I made this decision, I knew that it would require that I give it focused energy in faith, and watch it all manifest.”