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Indian Filmmaker In Nollywood by yamakasi: 6:15am On Apr 06, 2010
The first Indian film-maker to ever be part of a Nollywood Feature Production, Ramesh Babu Raparthy, talks about his adventures in Nollywood.

Being a successful filmmaker in any part of the world is a challenge. The co-ordination of a mammoth-sized manpower to give life to one single idea requires dedication and leadership qualities par excellence. This challenge only becomes more formidable, if one is alien to the culture and the language that he is filming in.
But for me shooting the Yoruba production ‘Aramotu’ for Treasure Chest Entertainment in Erinjiyan, a remote village of Nigeria’s Ekiti state, felt very much like being home. It has been a privilege for me to be part of a Nollywood feature film. I was pleasantly surprised to see the abundant creative talent in Nigeria. We had a fantastic cast and crew, especially the director, Mr. Nijiakanni, and the production manager, Bakky. They were all kind, pleasant people, who never once made me feel like an outsider. We worked, together, ate together, had our share of differences, but at the end of the day, managed to laugh together too. I have worked in other productions in Nigeria, but this specific experience was great.
I had no idea during the entire production that I was making history in any way. I just went about my work like I would, back home. It was only after we had shot the entire film and left the location to go back to our respective lives that the director Mr. Nijiakanni, who happens to be a very good friend of mine, told me that I had just been the first Indian Cinematographer to have ever been part of a Nollywood feature production. I was so surprised and delighted, and I’m not ashamed to say proud, very proud! The fact is, many film-makers come to Nigeria to shoot or direct documentaries, but nobody has ever attempted being part of a feature production before this.
When Mr. Niji akanni gave me the script to read it , I immediately told him that I would like to shoot this film. It was an interesting challenge to take up, and it would give me an opportunity to explore the beautiful country of Nigeria some more.
The script I read was in English but we shot the film in Yoruba.Well, you see, that’s the beauty of cinema. I’m sure you must’ve heard the quote ‘Cinema has only one language’. It generally pertains to cinema in the visual sense. But I lived that quote in the production stage as well. There’s no doubt that the most important thing on a set is communication, and here, despite the language barrier, it was perfect. The production manager did a fantastic job in organising the shoot. It was like we were all one orchestra, and he was the conductor, keeping us together.

‘I am part- Nigerian’:
To be part of a new country, apart from all the legal formalities, one has to love the country, really feel for and understand its culture and traditions, its people. I believe I am part-Nigerian now, because of all the time I have spent here and because Nigeria is now a part of me.
My favourite things about Nigeria, I eat a lot of Yoruba food like Pounded yam, Gari, Semovita, and my favourite of the lot, Amala. I picked up some Yoruba words and phrases during the latest shoot. The phrase ‘WELL DONE O’ was used on the set after almost every shot. It really encouraged me. And the word ‘PELE’ which means sorry was very commonly used. I love Mr. Tunde Kelani’s work. He has been a huge inspiration for me. Another thing I admire about Nollywood is that even when the entire world was shooting its films on celluloid, Nollywood was always shooting on Digital Media. It has taken the world a lot of time to catch up with Nollywood in this matter.

‘Nigeria and the World’:
Nollywood should encourage international technicians and filmmakers from all over the world to come to Nigeria and make more films. The world has a lot to learn from Nigeria, and Nigeria, from the world. It can be a beautiful symbiotic relationship.
Also, Nigerian distribution companies ought to explore the new avenues of Digital Cinema distribution like the UFO or Qube Cinema to increase their publicity and sales.
After spending these few years in Nigeria and travelling extensively through the country, I have discovered that Nigerians and Indians have very good relations, thanks to the permeation of Bollywood into the Nigerian media. I would love to make a film involving Nigerians and the Indian celebrities whom they adore, using both Nigeria and India as shooting locations. I love this colourful, noisy, vibrant culture, which is very akin to my own back in India, and I intend to be a part of it for some time now.
Re: Indian Filmmaker In Nollywood by meobizy: 7:33pm On May 22, 2019
Although people ignore posts like this, it is always nice to see select members dropped knowledge which others will find relevant many years later.
I may complain that my threads don’t receive patronage but I hope in future someone else reads and appreciates them.

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