BY UZOR MAXIM UZOATU
The mood at Sheraton Lagos was serene as Genevieve Nnaji watched herself on the big screen. The personable Genevieve sat by the side of her industrious manager Ajua Dickson, watching ardently as her screen marriage faced all sorts of trouble.
Genevieve’s leading man in the movie, Joseph Benjamin, was equally in the Sheraton screening room as the film, Tango with me, rolled to a nerve-wracking climax.
“It’s my life,” Genevieve Nnaji explains after the end of the movie, letting you understand that the film harps on the choices made by flesh-and-blood human beings as opposed to societal stereotypes.
Mahmood Ali – Balogun, Producer/Director of TANGO WITH ME, is without question a leading light in the Nigerian movie industry known worldwide as Nollywood. It is a mark of Mahmood’s genius that he shot the film on 35mm celluloid as opposed to the digital fare that is all the rage in Nollywood. He travelled as far as Bulgaria to master the film, using the latest Kodak technology. Tango with me will be showing at the cinemas from April 22. Starring Genevieve Nnaji, Joseph Benjamin, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Tina Mba, Bimbo Manuel, Ahmed Yerima etc, Tango with me is a compelling movie about love and betrayal.
The plot of the film needs to be beheld without any prior revealing. It is told in a gripping flashback mode. All true lovers of the cinema should be trooping in droves to Silverbird Cinemas, Ozone Cinemas, Genesis Deluxe Cinemas and iCinemas from April 22 to behold the manifold advances made by the Nigerian film through the adroit mastery of Mahmood Ali-Balogun.
He worked on the script of Tango with me for more than two years, dealing with accomplished screenwriters. A 1984 Dramatic Arts graduate of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) specializing in film and television production, Mahmood honed his skills between 1985 and 1988 at the National Productions department of the Nigerian Television Authority. Since 1988 he has earned much distinction as the CEO of Brickwall Communications Limited, Lagos.
He takes his time before producing his movies. His award-winning MNET short “A Place called Home” was shot in 1998 and earned the esteemed FESPACO nomination in 1999. He produced and directed “Temi ni Tooto” in 2003, winning the coveted REEL award. He was in 2005 bestowed with the distinguished African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) Special Recognition award.
“The awards are only meaningful to me to the extent that one is helping to change values,” Mahmood says, not wanting to be singled out for special mention. “We should all get involved in correcting the wrong perception of our country. I have attended film festivals across the globe, and I have in my own small way been involved in correcting perceptions.”
Tango with me can be entered for all the esteemed international competitions, thus competing on equal footing with the best films from all over the world. Unlike the regular home video shot with digital camera, Tango with me is an accomplished work in celluloid. Mahmood went through all the processes, defying the astronomical costs. He had to re-do the sound, for instance, to suit the most modern of cinematic standards. In all, Tango with me is a total package that recalls such master films as The Battle of Algiers.
Mahmood has thus earned his place amongst the esteemed filmmakers of Africa, in the tradition of the late Sembene Ousmane. Tango with me is a classic film by all standards. It showcases the spellbinding talents of Genevieve Nnaji and her co-star Joseph Benjamin like no other film.