On the first day of April 2019, the sun rose like every other day, but Nigerians knew it was not just any other day. And no, not a lot of people really cared about the traditional ‘April’s Fool” prank on this day. The talk of the town was Borokini. It was D-Day when we finally get to meet what has been coming for us all this time. It was premiere of Borokini, the Yoruba telenovela. And, truth be told, from its first episode, Borokini lived to its hype. Or even beyond. This show was underhyped and probably underpromoted. Upon all the grapevines and rumours, no one really expected the magnitude of the cast or the quality of the production. No gainsaying, African Magic Yoruba has definitely not broadcast a more quality show than this one. The premiere of Borokini was the second most discussed topic on the social media space in Nigeria on the 1st of April, 2019. It is said that the telenovela will span over 100 episodes; so we are in for a long sweet ride. Epic!!!
So where is Borokini coming from?
Sometime Janurary, 2018, there were talks going round that a couple of Nollywood A-list actors were working together on a project which production was scheduled to last almost a year. The very first, longest and biggest Yoruba telenovela the country has seen. Few months down the line, the noise fizzled out. There were rumours and speculations. Some news had it that the project died midway. That it became too big for the producers and they could not go on with it. There are some, also, who said the project never happened in the first place. They said it was only a dream and it remained so. And there were still those who insisted that, indeed, the production happened. Indeed there is no smoke without fire. Months went on and nothing was heard from the set of the so-called A-list project. A lot of things passed from mouth to ear and back to mouth. The only solid facts at that time was that veteran actors such as Akin Lewis, Bimbo Oshin, Yemi Solade, Antar Laniyan, Jaye Kuti, Lateef Adedimeji, Ireti Osayemi, Akin Olaiya, the legendary Alex Usifo and a couple of others were all on this set. Another fact was that, was this project to ever happen, the production would have cost multi millions in Naira.
One year later, Janurary 2019, the waves rose again. By this time, there is a name to this mammoth project – BOROKINI. And such a befitting title it is. It was announced that the project has finally been filmed and packaged for broadcast. It took eight straight months of rigorous shooting but it happened. Borokini was no castle in the air. It was no daydream. Borokini happened. And from that point, millions of expectant viewers waited with crossed fingers for what has been dubbed the all-time biggest Nollywood project in Yoruba. We were not disappointed.
Now let’s talk technicality and aesthetics. I have been fortunate to see a number of episodes and one of the many things that got to me as a film lover was the picture quality. I can boldly say it is nothing like you have ever seen before here. You know you are watching a television show but in a matter of minutes, you begin to get this cinematic feel from the picture, and one other element that contributes to this is the cinematography. The shots look so simple to the naked eyes, but professional analysis would further reveal that the shots are products of a seasoned cinematographer and high-end equipment. The next element that gets you is the plotting.
One minute you are in Lagos, the next you are experiencing a high-tempo conflict in Pakuro (one of the fictional locations of the story) and then in the blink of an eye, you are back to Lagos for a very emotional scene, with cadences as such, there is the utmost assurance that you are signing an unwritten agreement of emotional trips the moment you decide to watch “Borokini”. Another thing you will come to get attracted to in this series is the set design. It is not loud and lavish yet it speaks volume and communicates effectively. It has a way of spitting out the characters without interfering with the costumes. The sound design is also noticeably good. Subtitles? It is obvious that the production team is a hub of well-educated and versed in proper diction and English concord individuals, as you will not find a comma out of place, you will not only flow with it, even if you do not understand Yoruba Language, you will also understand to the last, what is being communicated.
Another thing that cannot escape you is the quality of the acting. Of course you cannot but see good acting when the likes Yemi Solade, Jaye Kuti, Akin Lewis, Alex Usifo, Ebun Oloyede, Ireti Osayemi, Lateef Adedimeji, Antar laniyan, Bimbo Oshin, Tunde Ola Yussuf, Tunde Oladimeji, Akin Olaiya and countless others are playing on your screen. The story is one that has a lot of subliminal punches to the society; politically, culturally, and religiously, and believe it that these three phenomena are the most delicate topics to discuss, attack, approach, treat or satirize in Nigeria Today. With numerous conflicts running alongside one other, amongst a close circle of characters, you are bound to pick sides and switch as time goes on.
It is certain that, soon, numerous awards and nominations would be seeking the attention of Borokini telenovela. This work of art is a language telenovela that is poised to go up against the likes of ‘Battleground’, ‘Tinsel’ , ‘Ajoche’, ‘Forbidden’ etc.
The most amazing part of the story of Borokini is that it’s not owned/funded by DSTV, which came as a surprise, because most people already assumed it was a DSTV/MNET original show based on the buzz and the quality it oozes of. It was conceived, funded and executed by Rare Edge Limited, a production company which is fast gathering a very strong pedigree, having already dished out outstanding and award winning television shows such as ‘Aajiirebi’ (a breakfast show on Africa magic), ‘Awon Aladun De’ (a language sitcom on Africa magic rated, by PulseNG, as one of the top five most watched Nigerian TV/web series in 2018), and ‘Family First’. The company is definitely breaking grounds with their latest project a landmark and an innovation like never before.
So what do we know about Borokini?
1) Produced by Rare Edge Limited
2) Has over 100 episodes
3) Over 85 million naira in budget
5) Top notch content
6) Premiered on Africa magic April 1st
There is no gainsaying that Borokini the Telenovela is the first of its kind. Rare Edge Limited did not ace the game; they created a whole new league.