Someone told me about this name, Ghollywood few days ago. I laughed hard. I was on the bus and some of the passengers thought I was mad. They actually thought I came from another planet, because I didn’t know you already have a ‘film industry’, talk more of giving it such name! I’m impressed. Seriously. I am.
Ghollywood actors are few that I know, but I don’t know their names. I watch Nollywood films and when I hear this strange accent, I tap someone close to me on the shoulder and ask, ‘Ghana Must Go?’ And visualize it that my neighbour will nod positively. So, I only know your actors (Sorry, Bollywood film practitioners have asked critics to address female film stars as actors too, so I will do same here) by their accent and the way they fake expressions in film scenes. They are magically talented, I must say. And when they do those ‘accents’, I get pissed off. I envy them, that is why I get angry. I can’t do it. It is art itself. It requires so much effort, so I end up grinning.
However, I just want to know something. A very cute Nollywood actor who blogs, Kalu Ikeagwu, wrote about his experience in the hands of one of your film producers; how he was harassed and molested. That filmmaker actually brought two huge guys who came with guns to get him to sign some contracts to make sure that he stayed back in Ghana to do some movies when he had some works to do in Nigeria? He was almost beaten up! Why? Is this how we started in Nollywood? I thought you guys look up to us? Or you don’t, anymore? You must have grown really big with your large market in Ghana to think so little of Nigeria? I’m not sure we are still the Giant of Africa, but dearest Ghollywood, Nollywood is the Giant of African filmmaking.
I was not happy when I heard that a Ghollywood actor was arrested by the black uniformed police men in Nigeria recently, because Nigerian film practitioners want to start charging fees from any of your actors who accepts a role in our Nollywood films? I was not happy at all, but then I thought twice and when I was about plunging into the third thought, I realized it is the way forward. Maybe, Ghana Must Go again? Maybe, it is time to let Ghana enjoy its small audience? Maybe, it’s better to let Ghana enjoy their fantastic accents: “Puhlease, cane I hayve a’ cap of way-tay?” Maybe?
At the AMAA 2010, I sat behind most of your actors. They know we are not the rogues and scammers they take us to be! We honoured one of their own, a very old and weak Ghanaian filmmaker, who couldn’t even stand on the stage. He was shaking. We stood up to applaud him when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. And I saw the streaks of tears on the cheeks of your actors. They were not moved by anything; they just felt guilt that they couldn’t show such appreciation to their own in Accra or somewhere else. I also remember that Ghollywood actress (sorry) who went to cry on stage, when she was announced joint-winner of some award. The judging of AMAA is genuine and you should know we are very genuine people. I watched Ghollywood stars leave that jam-packed hall, excited and safe. So, I’m assuming what will happen if Nollywood decides to do something, which I’m calling for: petition to AMAA to excommunicate Ghollywood for a year or two? I may not eat well if this happens, but I will be the happiest lover of Nollywood. I will miss those pornographic scenes in your films; at least, Ghollywood has more pornographic artists than Nollywood, which is a big shame to Nollywood. They should learn to create more of those kinds of scenes so that the sexually repressed young man in Onitsha will want more of their films.
Anyway, I don’t blame you, Ghollywood. We are obsessed with foreign things. If it comes from Cotonou, it is better than the one from Lagos. I’m not sure we will get rid of that fine nature. It makes us look very inferior, which is why you think we lack locations to shoot our films. I’m sure Kunle Afolayan would have loved to work with Ghanaians too in The Figurine, but he looked around Nigeria and said to himself: “So much talent abound!” I’m sorry I had to put those words in his mouth. He won’t like the sound of that. Of course, I understand why Iweka Road and Idumota people will like to use those fair-skinned Ghollywood stars in the films they fund, but I will always cherish the skin Rita Dominic carries around like a bag of gold. I saw her at Rehab and she looked magnificent, talk more of when lighting and camera fall on her. She will become more than a goddess!
At Asian Academy of Film & TV in India where I went to speak in July, dear Ghollywood, a very smart and cheerful young Ghanaian (with that accent too!) told me that if Ghollywood can do a bit of what Nollywood has done, the sky will be their limit. I understood that young man’s frustration, but as a child who has started badly, I see you walking the rough paths that will lead to destruction, for you have let xenophobia and fear of the ‘great’ control your judgments.
Jokes apart, this is a call on the Africa Movie Academy to please excommunicate Ghollywood from next year’s AMAA. We hope our feelings will be respected and our opinions held at high esteem, for when a father trains his child and gets ingratitude in return, he needs to pick up a table knife and slice off some pound of flesh for vengeance. It is hoped that we will be heard, that they will not be invited for the next edition of AMAA, until the Ghanaian government changes its harsh approach towards anything Nollywoodic and infact, anything Nigerian.
For once, we know that AMAA has the power to change everything and this is the reason why we are asking you to this.
Thank you so much for excommunicating Ghollywood already.