In the first part of this article, Yours truly, Mawuli Pomary took us on a roller coaster ride into the Ghana movie industry of old. Mentioning of movies like; “I Told You So”, “Kukurantumi-The Road to Accra”, “Love Brewed in the African Pot”, “Heritage Africa” did give ardent movie lovers a strong feeling of nostalgia.
Yes! The industry has come a long way but the obvious chorus has not changed. Three, Two, One…Light, Camera, Action…The pyramids of Egypt might weather into fine dust but this cliché in the art of movie making is impervious to change! Though not much has been heard from Abdul Salam Mumuni in recent times, the script of the revolution in the Ghana movie industry will not be complete without mentions of his immerse contribution.
It would be rather inconsequential to go beyond this paragraph if I don’t make mention of the rise of Agya Koo and his ‘Kumawood” comrades who filled our screens with stories of unending parts with witchcraft and much folly they shove down our throats as comedy in almost every movie they released every day. This period was the worst in Ghana’s cinematography history.
Believe it or not, Salam came in as the ‘messiah’ to save the movie industry at a time when Nigeria movies were flooding the Ghanaian market. Venus Films’ BEYONCE (though the story was an adaptation of a Nigeria movie) was the dawn of the new wind to blow across the industry. Those were the hay days of Nadia Buari, Van Vicker, and Jackie Appiah. The movie industry during this time was seen as some kind of a triangular wing where these three faces were seen in most if not all the movies. Majid Michel capitalizing on his exposure in “Things We Do for Love” proved his unbridled talent and endeared himself to movie lovers after his role in “Crime to Christ”.
Though he might have been in the industry for long, it was Socrate Safo’s controversial stance on sex and half-baked adult movies that got the spotlight on him for a ‘jiffy’. Then came Abdul Salam again with his new trend of movies that portrays exaggerated royals of kingdoms ‘far away’ with prosaic and poetic language which no one plays the role of a stoic prince or king better than John Dumelo. It was in this light that leggy and stunning Yvonne Nelson had her first major role which she executed to the admiration of all; “Princess Tyra”.
Quoting from the man whom this piece is dedicated to, Efo Kojo Mawugbe of blessed memory wrote; “In the chest of a woman is not just an extension of breasts but a burning desire to posses and use power “! Though philosophical, yet realistic. Shirley Frimpong-Manso…though she was the only woman in the male dominated field, her presence was characterized by able crew which was evident in her picture and sound quality. Her Sparrow Productions was a strong force to reckon with in the movie industry. Ace director Kwaw Ansah and Shirley Friompong-Manso introduced movie series in chapters; “Good Old Days” and “Adams Apples” respectively. Just as Shirley was undoubtedly winning the ‘battle’ against Abdul Salam, a new competition sprung up. Leila Djansi…she redefined cinematography in Ghana. She is one of the few directors who understands the art of film making and does not settle for mediocre. She painstakingly gets her settings right and employs the right people for the right job. It therefore did not come as a surprise when she stole the night at the just ended Ghana Movie Awards.
As the sun sets and rises, old leaves fall from trees of deep roots to give way to new leaves. The rule of time and chance is inevitable. Every generation breeds its galaxy. There still are people who are passionate about the movie industry and striving to put it on the world map. One of such is Kobi Rana…his immense contribution to the industry is unparallel to his age. He’s been able to rub shoulders with and dine with the stalwarts in the industry. His stupendous style is pronounced in his impeccable language and incredible twists and suspense. His recently premiered movie ‘ Hotel Babylon’ will make Ghana proud at the next AMAA.
This has been the yesterday and today of the Ghana movie Industry. The past is the bases for the future. As we look into the arguably blur picture of the Ghana movie industry, we pray to see more of our actors walk in the footstep of Prince David Osei and David Dontoh and make their way through the aisle of Hollywood. As the tide rises and the battle becomes fierce, old actors should master their game and suffocate the Martha Ankomahs, Yvonne Okoros and James Gardiners with real competition to strengthened the industry. Industry players should wake up from their sleep of complacency and gear up to the keen competition from other industries. The premieres of our movies before their release is a step in the right direction.
Technology is said to be the driving force of the media…even with the influx of technology, we still do have a lot of movies to which we should bow our heads in shame as an industry. A movie is supposed to make believe happenings of life on screen, whether real or fiction…not a beauty pageant. Our movies will be better if directors look beyond physique of actors and actresses in their casting process and concentrate on the talents of the individuals. It rather hurts when school drop-outs see movie making as God’s answer to their misfortune. Movie making should be seen as any other ‘professional’ career, not some kind of a hobby. Until this is done, our movie industry will continue to live in the eclipse of the other industries and we will continually embrace them at the expense of ours.
BAD SCRIPTS, WORSE DIRECTOR, WORST ACTORS…coming soon!