This was one of the most talked about movies last year, premiered at a sold out event at National theatre yet for some reason, many Ugandans have not watched it.
According to one of the actresses, the producers are still protecting the original product from pirates and thus, it may take even more than six months to get our own DVD copies of The Ugandan.
Since the Euro-Africa Film festival opened at Theatre Labonita last week, I’ve been frequenting the place in the name of catching a free African Movie like obi Emelonye’s Mirror Boy, Jann Turner’s White Wedding or that 2005 South African hit Tsotsi, it’s always a chance to escape the cliché and lack of creativity that Hollywood has become.
These African movies provide a clear alternative to the lame stories, bad scripts, those continuous gay scenes and uncalled for cliff hungers only immersed in production trickery.
Thus, when Patrick Sekyaya’s The Ugandan was listed as one of the African movies to be screened at the festival – for free, many of us had to indeed make a date with the organisers.
The movie was meant to start at 6pm though by 5, the theatre louge was full of movie lovers excited to catch one of the best productions done in Uganda by a Ugandan.
The movie looks at the life after the 1973 expulsion of Asians by Idi Amin; some of the Indians whose property was given out to the locals comes back to reclaim what indeed belongs to them.
We are then introduced to Raman an Indian survivor of the Amin regime who is blackmailed by his Ugandan girlfriend (Becky) when he claims her father’s property. Coincidentally, Raman’s daughter (Sonia) falls in love with Becky’s brother (Simon). Meanwhile, Becky’s other brother (Ralph) is hustling on the streets, chasing after a thug that has links to Raman and Becky, amid raging protests against Indians.
The Ugandan is indeed one of the best locally produced movies, its picture, lighting and sound quality can aptly compete with bigger industries like the south African and Nigerian.
The film however has issues especially with the performances by most of the characters. Former Miss Uganda Dora Mwima was partly impressive, though, in a scene where she’s told that the father of her unborn child was actually simply hired to feign a relationship with her, her expression was simply flat – not any different from a person surprised by relatives on a birthday.
Then the script too had problems, much of the dialogue lacked direction, it was just redundant which dragged the picture.
Though even with all that, The Ugandan is still one of the best movies to come out of our dusty industry and thus deserved all the hype.
Meanwhile, the Euro-Africa festival will wrap up today with Joel Karekezi’s The Pardon, a film about the post Rwanda genocide devide as people were trying to come to terms with the fact that they had to forgive and work with their tormentors for a better country.