Chandigarh, April 25 (Calcutta Tube) It’s not just the Yash Chopras and Imtiaz Alis of Bollywood who love capturing the flavours of Punjab in their romance sagas. Nigerian filmmaker Chukwuma Osakwe too is smitten by the place and its people and has added some ‘Punjabi tadka’ in his debut film ‘Jude’.
Osakwe, 32, who did a three-month filmmaking course from comedian Jaspal Bhatti’s Mad Arts School in neighbouring Mohali town last year, enjoys a very strong connection with Punjab.
His multi-cultural movie, which stars a Punjabi actress, is nearing completion and will see a June-July release.
‘I am in love with Punjab. I have come here again because my movie ‘Jude’ would be incomplete without the locations of this state and most importantly without the Punjabi flavour. ‘Jude’ is a multicultural film, based on discrimination on the basis of religion, colour, caste and race,’ Osakwe told IANS.
‘ ‘Jude’ has been shot at Lagos, Chandigarh and in Mohali. I have tried to show my own struggle in this movie. It is the journey of a youth from despair to glory; about winning against the odds of life. The subject is very contemporary and I am expecting a good response,’ he added.
The film’s cast too has a Punjabi flavour — Nigerian actor and businessman Daniel Llyod, 26, has teamed up with 24-year-old Punjabi TV actress Loveena to play lead roles.
‘I also strongly relate myself with the movie. It is the story of a frustrated copywriter who tries his hand at filmmaking to run away from the dull and unexciting life. The subject has been placed in the backdrop of a love story, with a Punjabi girl playing the female lead,’ said Osakwe who left his lucrative job of a copywriter in an advertising agency to pursue his dream of filmmaking.
Outlining the story, he said the protagonist comes to India chasing his dreams and falls in love with a Punjabi beauty.
Drawing a connection between his life and the film’s theme, he said: ‘I always wanted to be a filmmaker. I wanted to do something that is both creative and constructive. Therefore, after completing a course at a film academy in Nigeria, I decided to go out to hone my skills in filmmaking. I wanted to go to the US or the UK but did not get the visa. On the suggestion of a friend, I applied in India,’ said Osakwe.
‘One day, while surfing the net I came across the website of Mad Arts school. I spoke to the director, Savita Bhatti, and then without giving any second thought, I just packed my bags and came here. Now I have again come to India with a script in my hand. Most of the shooting has already been completed,’ he said.
Talking about the title, Osakwe said: ‘J stands for Juochi, meaning faith in god; U is Udoka, meaning peace; D is Dilibe, meaning look out for your neighbour; and E for Ejio, meaning togetherness. It has very strong relevance in Africa.’
Mad Arts School is also helping Osakwe in completing ‘Jude’, which is being made on a shoestring budget of Rs.1 million.
Llyod, the hero of the movie, is also very impressed with India.
‘I have grown up watching Indian movies and Amitabh Bachchan is my favourite actor. Bollywood movies are very famous in Nigeria. The entertainment industry has huge scope in our country and we are very optimistic about ‘Jude’,’ said Llyod.
(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)