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In ‘Diiche’, A Mother’s Desperation Leads to a Supernatural Nightmare 

In ‘Diiche’, A Mother’s Desperation Leads to a Supernatural Nightmare 

by Vanessa Obioha

A woman who suffers from recurrent pregnancy loss seeks a child from the great sea goddess. A passenger latched on to her request. How does she recognise her child and send back the evil twin? This is the story at the heart of ‘Diiche’, Showmax’s first Nigerian original limited series. The series which premiered on the streaming platform in September opened with a mystery on the death of Nnamdi Nwokedi (Daniel K.Daniel) with so many fingers pointing at his fiancee Diiche (Uzomaka Onuoha) and his business associates. 

Told in flashbacks, the storyline slowly unfolds mysteries that are beyond the understanding of the two detectives assigned to the case. The more evidence they find, the more complicated the story becomes as expected in any whodunnit production. First, the primary suspect was Diiche but with no substantial evidence, the focus moves to Jimi (Efa Iwara), and so the circle of suspects expands. Each of the suspects seems to have a motive to kill Nnamdi who is no saint himself. As his character is revealed, it becomes more glaring that Nnamdi is a self-centred ambitious man driven by the lust for money. This characterisation is similar to the old Nollywood films where Igbo men are usually stereotyped as money-driven individuals who may go to any limit to acquire riches.

While the detectives unearth Nnamdi’s shady business deals, a backstory reveals that Diiche’s mother Kesaandu (Chinyere Wilfred) has a terrible past. Having suffered multiple miscarriages, desperation for a child led her to make a deal with a great sea goddess. At first, the price to pay seems easy: keep her away from the sea and ensure she gets married before she turns 30. However, what Kesaandu did not envisage is how her decision would break her marriage, leading to the eventual death of her husband. But the future held more surprises for her. Having finally been blessed with twins, Kesaandu is told that the goddess only grants one child and the other twin is an evil soul determined to return to earth. Given little time and no direction, Kesaandu is forced to choose the rightful child. That hasty decision set off a chain of reactions with dire consequences

Directed by James Omokwe with the help of Tolu Ajayi, Fiyin Gambo, and Ifeoma Chukwuego, the six-part series delves into the supernatural world, a common genre of Nollywood of the 90s and aughts. It is no news that the Nollywood of today does not boast many supernatural or horror films. With ‘Diiche’ one gets that authentic storytelling that defines our beliefs and traditions. From the supernatural spin on evil twins to the common psychological trauma faced by Nigerian women who are unable to conceive in their marriages due to recurrent pregnancy loss. It also touches on the belief in the gods of the land and how that often defied Christian values.

With the dialogue in English and Igbo languages, the conversations in English are sometimes underwhelming. But this also may be attributed to individual characters. Although it parades both veterans and rising actors, the veterans easily take the spotlight with their delivery. However, veteran actress Gloria Anozie-Young is the star of the limited series for her peerless interpretation of her character. She played Nnamdi’s mother who so much loves her son and believes in her ‘chi’ and ‘dibia’ for protection and revelation of her son’s killers. Anozie-Young embodies this character with perfection. It is in her facial expressions, mannerisms and her fluency in the Igbo language.

While ‘Diiche’ excels at a riveting story with the ultimate message centred on the consequences of making the wrong choice, it however had a few flops in its dialogues and characters. For instance, Inspector Kazeem seems too rigid for his character and his lines often come as flat, barely evoking any emotion. The writers in their effort to create the perfect crime scenes often omit details that slightly detract from the storyline. Again, too many flashbacks often lead to confusion.

Overall, ‘Diiche’ is a laudable attempt despite its flaws. Hopefully, it may inspire filmmakers to tone down on the excessively glamorous lives of the elites and tell stories that reflect the travails and joys of the average Nigerian.

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