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The Story Behind INALÉ – BN attends the Abuja Premiere and Reviews the epic Nigerian Musical

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Nollywood has been growing from strength to strength, with producers and directors learning to take their time to tell a story, instead of trying to knock four movies out in two months as they used to. These days the quality of the cinematography, editing, casting, and all-round feel of the movies have improved and the fact that they are now showing in cinemas makes the ‘movie watching’ experience even better.

INALÉ is one of these gems in the Nigerian film industry. Based on an old folk tale, this musically inclined movie has all the ingredients of a future epic. It was recently premiered in Lagos at Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, with a veritable bevy of beautiful stars and starlets coming to celebrate the great achievement which was INALÉ. About a week later, on Friday 29th of October 2010, INALÉ held its Abuja premiere.

The entire INALÉ project came to fruition at the hands of three major players: the living legend Bongos Ikwue, his daughter and producer Keke Bongos, and one of Nigeria’s most talented directors, Jeta Amata. With the three of them at the helm, there really should have been no doubt that this was going to turn out as a successful venture.

It all started when Keke was set with the task of finding a way to promote her father’s music. Bongos Ikwue and his melodic tunes have been like staple food in the lives of many Nigerians for as long as I can remember and whilst working on his new album, one track struck a nerve in Keke’s mind. The track was titled “Inale” and with this she approached her friend, Jeta Amata. Having met about three years earlier and decided then that they should surely work together in the future, Keke was determined that the time had come.

A year later and we see the picturesque, intense story on the big screen. It still amazes me to think that this entire project grew from the seed of an idea to the tall Iroko tree in just one year and also that I got to see it all in Abuja’s Silverbird cinema hall amidst some of Nigeria’s finest (Omawumi, Keppy, 2Face, and Caroline Chikezie).

CarolineThis, Nigeria’s first ever musical shot on celluloid, is a wonderful story where honour, true love, family, betrayal and African heritage all intertwine effortlessly. The movie starts in America, as a grandfather puts his granddaughter to bed with a story that teaches her where she comes from. As the tale begins, we are transported from a cozy dim-lit room of a pre-teen to the rustic red sands of Otukpo in Benue state where the village tradition dictates that all eligible men in the village can choose to display their strength and wisdom in order to compete for the hand of the princess of the land. King Oche (Dede Mabiaku) is a fair king and with this competition showed his people that anyone can fulfill their destiny if they only tried. The winner of the competition not only becomes a future leader, but wins the hand of the ever so beautiful princess.

It all opens on the two leads declaring their love for each other, “Ode” (Hakeem Kae Kasim) is telling the princess “Inalé” (Caroline Chikezie) how he will win her hand in the competition tomorrow and they can begin their lives together. As the trials begin “Ode” is the victor of every challenge set in his way, but of course something must get in his way. Just before he is declared victor a shadowy masked man appears and challenges him and with this comes the twists and turns that no one in the kingdom of Otukpo or even us, the viewers could have ever foreseen.

The music by Bongos Ikwue envelopes the movie and takes you deeper into the story. You find yourself smiling or holding back tears before you even know it. Gone are the days of Mary Poppins singing how a “spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down” but I must say the songs wrap up the already amazing acting with further depth bringing the tale into your heart.

Keke Bongos-Ikwue said the experience of working on this project was like being in school again, as she learned new things everyday and Caroline and Hakeem’s love of the positive story played a big part in getting them on board with the project. The tale teaches people about our culture, “Our culture is not about wearing jeans and having a house with an elevator in it; that’s not our culture. Yes, we are living large now, but we did come from somewhere and people need to remember that”. During filming, they all stayed in the family-owned hotel (Double K) in Otukpo, and the entire cast and crew became one happy family (just one evening with them showed how close they had all gotten). “Even those actors who have been on sets for a lot of years felt like this was the most different experience they have ever had”.

This movie brings together the classic musical magic of Bongos Ikwue, with the acting prowess of international stars and home-grown gems like Keppy, Dede, and Omawumi makes the transition to acting with many more. Under the watchful eye of renowned Jeta and the organizational wizardry of Keke, INALE is an epic movie full of culture, love and life. From where I’m sitting I can only envision many more great things from BIK Entertainment and their Abuja premiere just showcases that.


Red Carpet

Mbong & Jeta Amata

Keke Bongos

Keke Bongos, Jullian, Mrs. Bongos Ikwue, Mbong Amata, Jessica Bongos Ikwue, Florence Abebe, Junior Bongos Ikwue

Omawumi

Mimi Achineku, PRO BIK Entertainment

Mbong Amata, Omawumi, Eunice Phillips

Nzinga Blake and Hope Olaide

Paul Obazele, Senator Tunde, Vice President of Kenya, Senate President, David Mark, Dep Gov. Lawani

Viefe Amata and Tee Ben

Awuese

Doug of Rhythm 94.7 and Oche of iBlend

Dede with Guests

Bhaira McWizu & Guest

Ogwa Ogbeh-Iweze & Guest

Mbong Amata

2Face, Keke, Festus Keyamo, Keppy Ekpeyong, Omawumi, Jeta Amata

Jummai Momodu & Eyitope Olumudi

The Screening

69 Comments

  1. Amour

    November 3, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Wow! Looks so good. Can’t wait to see it. The princess is so pretty. Well done!

    http://temiville.wordpress.com/

  2. Ochella

    November 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Wow i am so proud to be IDOMA! I definately plan to go to the cinema to see this one.
    God bless Nigeria, God bless Nollywood.

    • LAUREN

      November 4, 2010 at 2:53 am

      Caroline is danm beautiful and sexy, and her smile kills me. Muah babe

    • barbiella

      November 5, 2010 at 3:57 am

      she kind of the Hollywood actress Megan Good

    • Oceania

      November 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

      me too !

  3. Mary

    November 3, 2010 at 10:46 am

    this looks great but it is not Nigeria’s first ever musical. Nice pics.

    • BellaNaija.com

      BellaNaija.com

      November 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

      As we stated, it is Nigeria’s first movie musical shot on celluloid

  4. Onyiiiiiiii

    November 3, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Am extremely excited that my peeps are doing great things and are being recognized… I will definitely watch this one……….. Proud to be Idoma!!!

  5. Ronnie

    November 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Caroline Chikezie looks hot…Tuface looks yummy too!

    • Karen

      November 7, 2010 at 8:34 am

      since when is it acceptable to wear sunnies everywhere? especially indoors, wayfarers or not nudge tuface abeg

  6. lustre

    November 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

    is that not jummai mamodu and tope olumide on the 8th to d last pix? if ur readin dis, wots up wiv u? ur not complete, where is ngodoo kogi?

  7. Naydu

    November 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

    This is really nice… Just saw the preview on youtube and am impressed. Nice article and pics too :).

  8. Sarah

    November 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Mbong Amata’s dress is SO lovely I cant believe its a Nigerian designer fa… thats a NIOLA CLOTHING design I gathered… Abuja designers are REALLY going places you know.

    • onthesubject

      November 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      LOL! welldone with the systematic advertising

    • deebubu

      November 3, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      haha she almost got me too…nice try sarah

    • fm

      November 4, 2010 at 10:12 am

      lmao!!! d dress get as e be sef…nice try tho

    • kendra zuhair

      November 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      ya!!!to obvious an attempt!!! shld’a put it on mrs beckham and we wnt hav to follow up wit d word he!

    • fokasibe

      November 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      so smart!! I almost fell for it as welll….

  9. WaleAdeniji

    November 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Another nice one from Nigerians. I feel proud to be Nigerian as always. More of this please.

  10. Hesky dudu

    November 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Nice article. Gud to see old meeting nu wuld luv to see this

  11. Miss T

    November 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Mbong is a gorgeous girl but am sorry she is one of the worst actresses ever seen on screen – So overrated. She needs to stop acting and simply continue looking beautiful

    • Donthate-Appreci8te

      November 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

      Haba! One of the worst actresses? I dont thinks so. I think she needs to act more to gain more experience and exposure but she’s alright. And lovely to look at. Please we could do with more eye-candy in the industry

  12. her royal hawtness!!

    November 3, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    @miss tee…atleast she got your attention…hehehe

  13. pam

    November 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Benue is in effect! Keke you are an inspiration for finding a way to bring great music to new audiences and throw in forgotten culture into the mix. Jeta big up for always pursuing the unusual. Bongos, thank you for all the music. I make sure I put up vintage Nigerian songs on my social media feeds now and then and your one of the most requested. Everyone that worked on this is blessed.

  14. brendz

    November 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    is she his wife or sista? the amata’s are plenti o!

  15. mariaah

    November 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Oyi Idoma Mmaino OO.. So happy to see my people doing well! Nigerians are going places, we ll get there someday.
    As far as I can see no one looks tacky, good luck to the movie and its makers; all the best!!
    P.s the lady in the 10th to the last picture wearing white is/ used to be a nollywood actress (haven’t seen her in any lately).. She had really long hair and hardly wore weave in movies, am quite sure that’s her hair and she’s still as pretty :).. I think she’s Idoma can’t remember her name tho..

    • moi

      November 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      yeah, I was suprised too when BN didnt provide her name!!!!!BN ansa 4 urself

    • Onyiiiiiiii

      November 4, 2010 at 8:28 am

      Her name’s Padita….. cant remember her surname tho… I think it’s her hair too. She was really good, wonder why she aint acting like before… SHe does look good!

    • mariaah

      November 4, 2010 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you better person, yh she was one of the 1st youngies on the scene before them ini edo, rita dominc, oge okoye came into the picture.. I think she got married thats why..dunno shaa oo..

  16. nekiss

    November 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Na waoh, am surprised that no one saw anything wrong with the upper part of Mbong’s dress. If it is Ini Edo or Mercy Johnson,etc. some people would have torn them into pieces with words. Nic pics and events shaa

    • shantee

      November 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      lol…. My thot exactly

    • moi

      November 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      so I tot, I was lyk WTF, then I saw the pics from the other angles and realized it wasnt so bad. The reason why the first pics was that bad was simply becos he was an overhead shot(i.e, the photographer raised the camera up and took the shot with the lens focusing down on the subject) instead of the normal head or medium shot…Anyways so unless she bent down at the event( which I dont think she did), then the dress itself was looking decent

    • moi

      November 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

      it, instead of he…sowi typo error

  17. Waha

    November 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Tuface has a new boo!LOL. Please the girl 2 pics after Jummai Momodu..wearing red and colorless beads with a white top…..If u are reading this , I LOVE your hair, can you please tell me how/where you got it, Im willing to pay you please!

  18. tatafo!

    November 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    This post took me back to the days of bellanaija.blogspot.com when majority of the posts had classy pictures. Kudos bella.

  19. duchess

    November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Was at the premiere in Abuja it was beautiful, kudos to Keke and her dad, enuf respect to Jeta Amata, i think nollywood has opened a new leaf…. bravo

  20. Kilonsparkles

    November 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Is it me or does Caroline Chikezie look EXACTLY like Megan Good?

    • LAUREN

      November 4, 2010 at 2:57 am

      U r right, they both look similar, same smile, but Caroline is prettier and taller. Meagan looks very very small and short. but Caroline is hot.

  21. Iemberdoo

    November 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    What’s up with Idoma peeps hailing themselves like they just won a collective visa??? P.s…why isn’t anyone talking abt the dresses,shoes and hair today? Una don tire?

    • KaiNaija

      November 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm

      Ah ah see bad belle. We are just happy to see culture shown in a positive light. It is also nice to see a movie that highlights a “minority” group in Naija. This is not just for Idoma people, its a movie for Nigerians at large. It will encourage our producers to spotlight the wonderful groups we have in our country.
      Besides, there are still Nigerians that do not know anything about Idoma people, some of our culture is being showcased. Try and be positive small, considering the fact that your name suggests we share the same state.

    • mariaah

      November 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

      Sorry mate you won’t understand..Nuff said…

    • ProudlyIdoma

      November 4, 2010 at 9:39 am

      If i am too go by ur name there its a benue name SMH i definately know why u aint happy thee idoma trybe is getting publicity. Nollywood barely showcases alot of tribes. It is always steroetyped to a few tribes. We are happy and proud we have something to show. Yes we just won a collective visa.
      Go win your own.
      Talk about the dresses lets see what u have to say…

    • mariaah

      November 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      ha this “doo” person is Tiv that’s a Tiv name … E dey pain am for body..Next time they ll wear “white and black” yh..hhaha
      Ok just being mischievous..Sorry.. Ukpan de ve!!

  22. Ada

    November 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Go Keke!!! What an amazing synopsis and trailer. Cant wait to see it. Way to go depicting Nigeria’s vast heritage and celebrating your Idoma culture.

  23. demolaak

    November 3, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Is that momodu chick dele momodu’s daughter?

  24. usuma

    November 3, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Thank-God for people like Jeta Amata and Keke Bongos who know what movie making is about cos only God knows where we wud be if people like them weren’t chasing stories with depth that preserve our culture.
    Abt Mbong Amata’s acting(Miss T dis one’s for u)the term ”bad acting” can’t be used to describe her acting cos her diction is on-point,she has voice control,and carries her audience along excellently the fact that you can point out her imperfections shows shes only human.Rome wasn’t built in a day try this show favorite stars way back when

  25. D.O.T.M.H.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Vice President of Kenya?!?!?!

  26. Dansia

    November 4, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Really nice photos

  27. anoni

    November 4, 2010 at 10:44 am

    What’s with the yellow teeth on the poster behind Omawunmi? LOOOOOOOOL

    • mariaah

      November 4, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      lmao… Photoshop would have just done some magic..

  28. Fiona philips

    November 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    D girl in white her full name Padita Agu.Yeah she used to be one of the promoinent faces.Good to see her and she isnt looking bad.

    • Oceania

      November 4, 2010 at 9:15 pm

      me too ! xx

  29. Isaac onyilo

    November 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    nothing for those of us in diaspora?

    • Critical

      November 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      I hear that there will be international premieres and showings.

  30. Nollywood

    November 5, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Mbong Amata is fire. She looks HAWT. Why have’t we seen her since RELOADED?

    • Igbo kwenu!!

      November 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

      Abi!!!!
      See dullin o!Anyway i hear say she dey play international.
      See fresh face wey industry dey find wit red eye.Afta all all of us sabi say we don tire for all dis abanganga mamas wey no want commot for road. ThankGod for d babe sha!

  31. Telani

    November 5, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    caroline looks like Megan goode – laughable at best. You are very blind.
    caroline is pretty in her own way – but am sorry she does not resemble Megan in any way

  32. Kevin Obosi

    November 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Why is the poster so rumpled and crease, did they struggle to print just one copy?
    Somebody tell Innocent that Sunglasses are worn outdoors ….in the SUN.
    Was the show held at 2face’s living room, the dancers were too close to the front row guest?
    Dédé needs some serious dental help…years of smoking and drinking is taking it’s toll on his gnashers.
    Somebody tell omawunmi (Ms.RUDDY) that it’s gross to text or check fones when someone’s talking..not when you’re on stage, that call could wait.
    And finally to all the idomas l thought we’ve passed the stage where one tribe claims the success of any Nigerian…

  33. the one

    November 7, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Oh my Lord! Mbong”s dress looks beautiful but doesn’t fit her body at all! Its nt all about wearing a nice dress but wearing what suits u. Mbong has never had a good fashion sense, Jeta shd get her a personal stylist. As for acting, its below mediocre! So I dnt knw understand why she still acts, acting is totolly not 4 her.

    • Apricot

      November 8, 2010 at 10:23 am

      Is it bcos u havn’t seen her in all those cheap and baseless asaba movies that u r having difficulty in appreciating her?If u honestly think her acting is below mediocre then u don’t know jack abt acting

  34. Ives

    November 8, 2010 at 10:11 am

    @the one
    Do you even have the body to pull a bubu off?here u r talking about someone else’s body.
    There’s something called ”individuality” its wat makes us standout
    If her dress sense doesn’t appeal to you then you really NEED a TIM GUNN in ur life.

    That was so rude of Omawunmi

    Anyone who’s interested in the really nice hair hit me i’m her friend

    Before this movie i didn’t know the was a tribe called idoma.Kudo’s to Jeta and Keke i’ll definitely be lookin out for more of their works

  35. Kinkette

    November 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    The Vice president of Kenya is such a random inclusion in the line up of attendees I had to LOL.WTF? 🙂

    • Critical

      November 9, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Lol! I know…but it looks like he was there. Cool!

  36. c

    November 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    yeah nice concept…however let’s be honest, how many of you would actualy pay N1,500 to watch a naija movie at the theatre????

    • Critical

      November 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm

      Seriously??? Why would you give that money to foreigners instead of supporting your own people that work really hard to come up with something that would be considered as world class.

    • Omada

      December 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm

      if the movie had Angelina Jolie or George Clooney you’ll pay 1,5oo abi? nonsense!

  37. Omale Allen Abdul-jabbar

    December 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    really remarcable ”escapade”, remarcable, nice especially that the senate president et al could be part of it.

  38. Omale Allen Abdul-jabbar

    December 17, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    remarkable!

  39. harry

    January 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    i always enjoy d comments…lol…kinda makes u see d pictures better

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