There has been so much noise about Nollywood filmmaker, Omoni Oboli, with several calls that the dred-locked producer stole the plot of her new film Wives On Strike from Spike Lee’s Chiraq.
Well, the many wayward criticisms has had the actress/producer step out to brandish her critics as having a “crab mentality,” taking time to explain it with a definition from Wikipedia. For me, it is also good publicity for the film as it would raise awareness among ‘learned’ Nigerians to see this comedy of issues.
When you critically analyse the accusations, you will totally agree with her about the ‘crab mentality syndrome’ of most Nigerians. These are people who have little knowledge about the film/theatrical world, so they are obviously lost when it comes to understanding the fact that no idea is new.
In 2013, the film world witnessed the release of two thrilling action films that bore so much similarity in plot – Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. Many wondered if one stole from the other, yet, these two films were written by screenwriters who had no knowledge of one another or each others’ projects.
Olympus Has Fallen was a spec script written by husband-and-wife screenwriting duo Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt who just broke into Hollywood , while White House Down was a spec script written by James Vanderbilt, a veteran screenwriter with an impressive resume, including The Amazing Spider-Man. The similarity between both plots was sheer coincidence.
In another instance, Nigerian playwrights, Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, and Barclays Ayakoroma have all adapted Greek plays to the Nigerian socio-cultural atmosphere and these plays have been widely celebrated. Matter of factly, Ayakoroma’s A Dance On His Grave is an adaptation of Greek playwright Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, which Spike Lee’s Chiraq is adapted from (and no one has called any of these people thieves).
What am I trying to say? Ideas in a creative industry will always clash – either coincidentally or years after the earlier work. This does not amount to theft as long as names, settings and artistic concepts are different. Even at that, filmmakers are allowed to remake or adapt a story. So seeing a similar story in a film, and going ahead to call the filmmaker names without proper research is nothing short of a terrible lapse in knowledge, which is a sickness worse than cancer.
As far as Wives On Strike and Chiraq is concerned, it was a sheer case of coincidence! Omoni has cleared noted that she even started shooting before Spike Lee. So what are these mofos saying? But the problem that has kicked up all this much fuss is simply the congealed ignorance of the critics who lack any understanding of creativity, and what it implies. These are people who obviously do not read, and even if they do, do not comprehend what they have read.
Omoni no be today person biko! She has made a name for herself in the industry – she has carved her niche pretty well. So disregard the any show of glaring ignorance and ‘hate’ for progress and show her love by turning up to watch Wives On Strike as it hits cinemas on the 8th of April, 2016.
This post first appeared on EverydayNG.com