Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Before we get into this review you need to understand one thing about me – I live for bad movies and shows. I exclusively watch the CW, and the moment I see a tweet about a show being bad I immediately add it to my ‘to-watch’ list. Emmy or Oscar worthy shows or movies that have all the critics raving about how it mirrors society and provides room for us to process our collective trauma? Meh. Binge-worthy trash shows or movies that are painfully exaggerated and obviously rooted in a fantasy that is very out of this world? My jam! Knowing this, you can understand why the moment I heard we would be having a Bollywood-Nollywood love drama I was excited. Two movie industries that were built on exaggerated storylines giving us their love child? Namaste Wahala just has my name all over it.
Naturally, I don’t watch movies like this expecting jaw-dropping writing or acting but Namaste Wahala definitely pushed the envelope. The acting in this movie, especially in the scene where RMD (an actor I love not just because he is my sugar daddy of choice but also because he has consistently proven to have the acting chops you would expect of a veteran) meets his daughter’s beau for the first time and isn’t okay with him being Indian is so unbelievably wooden I believe I can stake a vampire with it. Frodd, of Big Brother Naija fame, had maybe three lines and somehow gave one of the worst performances I have ever seen in my life. And this is coming from someone who has spent considerable time watching the youths in church act out dramas during youth week. The line delivery for almost the entirety of the movie is my current source of joy but only because of how awful it is. The actress that plays Meera, the mother of Raj, our male protagonist, delivers every line like she is amused by herself. She reminds me of those friends who start laughing at their funny story before even getting to the punch line. Her scene with her taxi driver at the airport is so bad I watched it three times. The attempt to put so many Nigerian (and Indian) mannerisms and references into one scene is hilariously awful and unrealistic. That said, she is easily one of the best characters in the movie. And the scene where she called out RMD for not being too smart gave me endorphins.
Namaste Wahala isn’t a bad watch, especially for people who watch and love Bollywood or Nollywood movies. I enjoyed the cultural fusion and the cinematography is top tier. The actors and actresses are really beautiful – I have plans to have babies for almost everyone in the cast. That said, the writing stressed me. In one of the early scenes, Didi, our female protagonist who is played by Ini Dima-Okojie, sits down for breakfast with her family – I love extravagant breakfast spreads in movies – and says ‘‘this looks so yummy’’ and picks up a piece of fried yam. Here’s the thing, fried yam doesn’t look yummy. Fried yam exists, for better or worse. No one has ever looked at a piece of fried yam and thought ‘‘this looks yummy.’’ A similar thing also happens in another of the later scenes when Meera, Raj’s mother, takes a bite of the indomie Didi made for Raj to get an idea for the food Didi has been making for her son. She bites into it and then goes ‘wow’. First of all, calm down. It is indomie, cold indomie at that. Let’s not oversell it. Speaking of overselling it, the product placement in this movie was so violent. By the time I was done, I felt like I owed the brands and products they were pushing money for some reason. It was a lot. Don’t worry, I’ll go to the restaurants this week.
I could go on and on about Namaste Wahala. Premo who is played by Osas Ighodaro had no reason to be so annoying because Didi not working in the company was good for her and would have allowed Premo advance in her career. There’s also the fact that the movie just sang away three months of Didi and Raj’s relationship and let’s not forget that Angie told Raj that Didi was ‘very, very single’ and if any of my friends ever did that I would ask them to explain what that means because my not having a serious relationship for half a decade is not enough reason for me to be pimped out, please. I am not going to touch the scenes where they were supposed to be serious lawyers because if I do that, I am afraid of what I’ll say.
So final word? Eh. I enjoyed watching it and I think hopefully, this means we’ll be having more movies like this – cheesy and fun – but with better writing and not so wooden acting. Perhaps even some Christmas-themed movies. Hell, give us a New Yam festival themed-movie just for the culture.