May 18, 2022

Positive vibes as BADAMASI, IBB’s biopic opens on Amazon Prime

Positive vibes as BADAMASI, IBB’s biopic opens on Amazon Prime

By Japhet Davidson

After beating institutional hindrances to keep it away from the public, ‘BADAMASI: Portrait of a General’, the biopic on General Ibrahim Babangida, has started streaming on renowned platform, Amazon Prime on a very positive note.

Offering the technical depth of Obi Emelonye, the filmmaker behind blockbusters like ‘Last Flight to Abuja’, ‘Mirror Boy’, ‘Oxford Gardens’, who has been described by the international media as ‘a Nigerian filmmaker telling quintessential African stories with a universal soul’, BADAMASI with the cinematographic expertise of award-winning Director of Photography, Abiola Oke, has become the most-anticipated film in Nollywood’s modern history, owing to its subject, General Babangida, the former military President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, unarguably one of the most controversial personalities in Nigeria’s post-Independence socio-political scene.

With a stellar cast led by Enyinna Nwigwe, reprising the eponymous role, which earned him a nomination as AMAA 2020 Best Actor, the film boasts of popular artistes like Yakubu Mohammed, Julius Agwu, Charles Inojie, Kalu Ikeagwu, Okey Bakassi, Anthony Monjaro and Ali Nuhu. The intense military dramatic action is set mainly in 1980s/1990s Nigeria and brings to the fore some of the most remarkable events that have shaped Nigeria’s political landscape, as seen through the eyes of some principal characters who participated in these epochal events.

About the film, the multiple award-winning director, Emelonye says: “A biopic deals with real life events concerning an individual and an exhaustive list of dramatis personae. In this case, the subject is alive.

So, I approached IBB first to explain to him the importance of committing his history to film. A few books have been written about him but there’s a saying that if you want to keep something from a black man, hide it in a book. I explained to him that Nollywood, with its international strides in the past few years, presents a unique opportunity to reach an expansive local and global audience with his story.

I was not the first to approach him for that, but I guess, I was persistent, thoughtful and prepared. When he agreed for me to make the film, he sat down with me, together with his first son, Mohammed to entertain no-holds barred interview sessions over a few nights in his home.

It was on the basis of those interviews, as well reference to archival videos and books from his personal library, and interviews of family and associates that I built the narrative for the film, attempting to capture the essence of such a full life in just two hours of cinema. I settled for IBB because his life reads like a Hollywood movie- full of military intrigue, drama, excitement, achievement, rise and fall. A character with heroic qualities; who is also flawed like all of us.

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