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Nollywood meets Bollywood in love tale 'Namaste Wahala'

Global Feb 12, 2021 13:00
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By Nneka Chile
LAGOS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Indian-Nigerian restaurant owner
Hamisha Daryani Ahuja gave up her long-running business to
pursue her dream of making movies.
Two years later, the 36-year-old will see her first feature
film, the cross-cultural love story "Namaste Wahala", debut on
Valentine's Day on Netflix.
The film, whose title translates in Hindi and Nigerian
pidgin as 'Hello trouble', tells the tale of a Nigerian woman
who falls in love with an Indian investment banker living in
Lagos. The young couple face a series of challenges - including
their families - to be together.
"I wanted to do something that will be more relatable so it
is a full-on Nollywood movie, but I brought in some Indian
actors to make it a little bit more fun," Daryani Ahuja, who
directed, executive produced and acted in the movie, told
"What I tried to do is the '90s style Bollywood ... the
singing and dancing around trees. We have all of that. It is a
very cheesy, mushy romantic drama."
Born of Indian parents, Daryani Ahuja has lived most of her
life in Nigeria.
"I have lived in an Indian house, I know the Nigerian
culture, the pidgin, the food and it is so interesting how even
though everybody thinks with 'Namaste Wahala' the cultures are
different, we are actually so similar," she said.
"We are actually all one, and that's the whole theme of the
The 110-minute film stars Indian actor Ruslaan Mumtaz and
Nigerian actress Ini Dima-Okojie in the lead roles.
"It is very important to make films like this when you show
cross-cultural love stories, because in every country ... people
just separate each other as far as religion is concerned,"
Mumtaz said. "Especially in India, you can't marry somebody if
they are from a different religion or from a different caste."
Mainly shot in English, the movie had a production team of
more than 60 people across India and Nigeria. Production was
completed before lockdowns made making movies difficult; the
original release date was April.
"The thing I love the most are the underlying messages which
is the beauty in embracing your similarities, the beauty in
embracing love even if you are from different backgrounds,"
Dima-Okojie said.
Putting out hundreds of movies and television episodes a
month, Nollywood is the world's second most prolific film
industry after India's Bollywood.
Nigeria has a growing base of Bollywood fans, who watch its
sitcoms subtitled in English, and "Namaste Wahala" is creating a
buzz online.
Daryani Ahuja says she hopes to make a sequel in the coming

Nollywood meets Bollywood in love tale 'Namaste Wahala'

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