Ayinla Omowura- The Movie

Ayinla Omowura- The Movie

Friday, June 25, 2021 3:04 pm


Lateef Adedimeji, right, playing the role of the late Ayinla Omowura, left and Tunde Kelani, the master cinematographer. Photos by Odolaye Aremu and Adegbenro Adebanjo

By Bayo Adeyinka

When I saw the creatives on the wall of Folorunso Fatai Adisa , I knew it was a movie I had to watch. I bought the book written on Ayinla Omowura by Festus Adedayo earlier but I’ve not yet read it so the release of the movie heightened my curiosity.

The music of Ayinla Omowura was part of my childhood. Radio O-Y-O (now known as BCOS) played his music along with other Yoruba legends such as Haruna Ishola, Yusuf Olátúnjí, Dauda Epo Akara, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Batile Alake, Salawa Abeni, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Shina Adéwálé, Delẹ Abiodun, Emperor Pick Peters, Sir Dele Ojo and Ayinla Kollington among others. I know so many elderly folks who relish Omowura’s music particularly.

So I saw the movie yesterday. First, I plead guilty that I’m a fan of anything Tunde Kelani. I’ve seen all of his movies. Everyone is a hit back to back and Ayinla Omowura is no different. TK is in a class of his own. He spares nothing in giving his viewers a wonderful experience everytime.

Túndé Kèlání

TK is one who gets his cast right everytime. From the days of Ti Oluwa Nile where he featured Baba Wande, Ayo Ni Mofe with Anike Obot and Yomi Ogunmola, Oleku with Yemi Shodimu, Saworoide with Kola Oyewo, Khabirat Kafidipe and Kunle Afolayan, Thunderbolt with Uche Obi-Osotule, Maami with Funkẹ Akindele, The Narrow Path with Ayo Badmus and Dazzling Mirage with Kemi Lala Akindoju, you can never fault his cast. Ayinla Omowura is not an exception. Lateef Adedimeji handled the role as if he was born for it. And his combination with Mr Macaroni was just perfect. I didn’t recognize it was Mr Macaroni until my wife pointed out it was him.

Lateef Adedimeji

The set was on point. TK’s eye for details is unequalled. In one of the scenes, I saw a KDK standing fan. Folks of this generation may not know KDK. From the cars used, clothes and other items, it was a fitting description of that era.

The acting was flawless. There were so many memorable scenes. I burst out in laughter when Mr Macaroni told Lateef to put his leg down in an act of taking over the girlfriend who came visiting. More importantly, the movie explained the background story to some of Omowura’s songs.

Bayo Adeyinka

One of my key takeaways from the movie is the fact that Ayinla Omowura was a lyrical genius. He got his inspiration from seemingly ordinary things and occurrences. Though unlettered, his musical ability and the depth of his fan base was legendary.

The movie also depicted his weaknesses- his penchant for thuggery and love for women. We caught more than a glimpse of Olabisi Ajala of the ‘Ajala Travel All Over The World’ fame. I’d like to see a full movie on Olabisi Ajala. TK should think of shooting a movie on the life and times of that legend.

It was also interesting seeing the rivalry between Omowura and Ayinde Barrister. É don tey wey musicians don dey beef themselves. It didn’t start with Davido and WizKid. And the Uncle Sam, the newspaper guy in the movie, is our respected Uncle Sam Amuka-Pemu of the Vanguard, I guess. So much history in one movie.

What do I not love about the movie? Maybe the fact that I’m not sure the movie was promoted widely- I expected to see a better turnout at the cinema. Or because I think some Ayinla Omowura memorabilia should have been made available at the cinema- his songs, T-shirts, etc. I would love to buy an ‘Eegunmogaji’ T-Shirt. We need to be more intentional with the marketing of our movies. Furthermore, since there is a book about the central character, a partnership between TK and Festus Adedayo would have gone a long way to promote both the movie and the book. Huge opportunities missed considering the fact that the character belongs to a generation past.

Since I saw the movie, I have the urge to search for Omowura’s music and listen to them. There’s a backstory to almost all the songs. But there’s a salient issue my wife raised after the movie. His quest to go to London on a tour which sadly never materialised until he died- was it because of what he said? He had told a lady in the movie that he will never fly again in his life after his trip to Mecca on hajj.

Ayinla Omowura is another classic from TK. A really good one!

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