The almost perfect way to experience Ayinla is having little or no clue about the real life musician, Ayinla Omowura, this way you get to enjoy the film without anticipating real events you might have read online about the superstar.
“Ayinla” follows the life of legendary Apala musician, Ayinla Omowura. Tunde Kelani has often stated that the film is non-biographic but it is still loosely based on real life events.
With an impressive career spanning over four decades, the auteur, Tunde Kelani has always sent a clear message that culture needs to be preserved and appreciated. Ayinla is spellbinding, detail-oriented and often hilarious without the intention of it.
For a person alien to the Yoruba language, Ayinla may seem too much because of its Yoruba dominated dialogue but as Director Bong Joon ho said during his Oscar speech— ” once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”.
Adedimeji Lateef who plays the titular character, embraced and embodied the whole essence of the film, you see an actor who has de-shelled himself of his person— like a chameleon, he totally creates this character that does not act or feel like Lateef— but an embodiment of the person he portrays.
Ignore every reservation you might have about musicals —especially your blameless scepticism for Nigerian films because Ayinla is indeed a musical film— but the best kind. With perfectly and carefully curated songs from the late Ayinla Omowura’s expansive catalogue; whether you’re an alien Yoruba or not; or you’re not even interested in Apala genre of music, Ayinla is quick to lure you in.
the perfectly curated scene with the antiquated “Mercedes”, the golden brown roofs and the hues of ancient Abeokuta is even more thrilling.
Whatever the scene and whichever character, the costume and make-up department of Ayinla delivered an outstanding work that elevates and makes this period film even more believable. From an array of beautiful Adire pieces to elaborate hairstyles, Ayinla will have you running to grandparents for a lesson in fashion and styling as if you just got out of an 80s fashion show, it is nothing short of a “cultural extravaganza”!
Ayinla is an elaborate celebration of culture and music. the musical and historical period drama that shines well in cinematography, screenplay and all the ingredients of making a great film coupled with a thrilling performance from its cast. Come award season, Ayinla is sure to dominate.
It is refreshing to know that Tunde Kelani’s golden touch still resides with him. There are probably a lot of things the legend can do but making a bad film isn’t one of them.