by Wilfred Okiche
As Nollywood actresses go, Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha is pretty big. She’s been around for a while, gone about her business quietly and won an AMAA for her efforts. Having conquered the Asaba and DVD markets, it is only natural she would want to make a try for the cinemas, all the big stars go there anyway.
Collaborating with the Royal Arts Academy, she set about producing her first film. A glittering premiere and the support of some of her high profile colleagues spelled the assumption ‘On bended knee’ was going to be prime stuff.
What it is, is the familiar story of a pastor (Seun Akindele) who loves his calling a little too much and ignores his hot to trot wifey (Akpotha) who though madly in love with him, and with the children away in school, is in real need of TLC. Who can blame her for being swept away by the charming new boss ready to give an arm and a leg to make her his. Who can also blame both of them for getting carried away in their own little worlds that they fail to identify a mutiny in the church council?
With the predictable story, barely there screenplay, overly dramatic acting and tight sets, this one is a film better suited for Africa Magic. It is Nollywood film making 101. It may not come in 6 parts but that doesn’t mean it is any better.
The actors do just enough to get by even though Mrs Akpotha’s Kemi is given to frantically waving her hands and showing way too much emotion. Only Francis Onwochei as the antagonistic pastor conniving to take over the church sustains any real excitement or interest. Everyone else just coasts on non-commitedly.
The plot is not discerning or ambitious enough to dig deeper into religious hypocrisy of our new generation churches and pastors and settles instead for a straightforward drama lacking any real spark. Too many foreign accents, too little character development and zero sizzle.
And then it hits you. In Nollywood, this is what passes for a vanity project.
‘On bended knee’ would have done just fine on DVD.
– The writer tweets from @drwill20