Namaste Wahala is a Nollywood/Bollywood collaboration produced, created and directed by Hamisha Daryani Ahuja. Hamisha also plays Leila, friend and cousin of the main characters. The movie stars Ini Dina-Okojie and Ruslaan Mumtaz as Didi and Raj, the main couple. Richard Mofe-Damijo and Joke Silva play Didi’s parents. Also starring are Sujata Sehgal, Koyr Kekere Ekun, Ibrahim Suleiman, Osas Ighodaro and Anee Icha.
The movie follows Didi and Raj, who bump into each other on the beach and immediately fall in love. A few months later and it’s time to meet the parents. Didi’s Igbo and Yoruba parents are like, wait a minute…is that an Indian man? So begins the drama.
Indomie is not even an African dish
Namaste Wahala’s story is gloriously unoriginal. Love at first sight, parental disapproval, with everyone’s problems solved so easily that it can almost be called magic – a typical romantic comedy. Apart from the social work subplot, the story is fun but empty. It has zero impact apart from being a collaboration between Nollywood and Bollywood, two massive film industries, and even that isn’t much. With how much the story is lacking, they could have at least given us a spectacle. Maybe a dance battle between Indian and Nigerian back-up dancers, everyone decked out in their traditional finery. The cooking battle between Didi and Raj’s mum could have been better – Meera cooks a series of tasty-looking dishes and then Didi cooks…noodles. Without garnish. Talk about product placement.
Love at first sight
Because of the kind of movie this is, Didi and Raj have to fall in love at first sight. But we’re also supposed to see this love throughout this movie, and frankly, we don’t. The script never gives them the chance to really sit and talk about their relationship. Instead they get sidetracked or have others solve their relationship problems for them. It all just works out in the end. If this is how the romantic relationship is treated, what about the non-romantic ones? Well, we get nothing. Everyone immediately starts to see the value in each other after someone else points them out.
The performance of Namaste Wahala’s main cast moves between good and average and it can get frustrating. Fortunately, the good outnumbers the bad. The characters could have used better written dialogue and a little more chemistry but for the most part, they made it work. Characters like Angie, K10 and Meera have a lot of charisma, and Didi and Raj are very good together. There’s a lot of star power too – we have RMD and Joke Silva as the parental figures (wow, how unexpected) and MI Abaga appears as himself.
Visuals – great. Music? Not so much
We all knew there would be singing in Namaste Wahala. But putting music in movies is expensive, especially if people will be singing, and the movie’s budget was probably too tight. The sound wasn’t terrible, though the music they put over the dramatic scenes could be quite annoying. That said, the costume and set design is absolutely gorgeous, and the cinematography is pretty good. We still wish there was more dancing.
Accept the inevitable
It’s not like anybody expected a masterpiece, and frankly, maybe it’s time to stop beseeching the industry to tell better stories. Because we’re still going to watch whatever they give us. What can we do? Namaste Wahala is streaming on Netflix.