Movie Title: Aníkúlápó
Year of Release: 2022
Director: Kunle Afolayan
Cast: Sola Sobowale, Kunle Remi, Bimbo Ademoye, Faithia Balogun, Toyin Afolayan, Moji Afolayan, Kunle Afolayan, Adebowale Adedayo, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Ropo Ewenla, Taiwo Hassan, Ronke Ojo-Anthony (Ronke Oshodi Oke), Kareem Adepoju (Baba Wande), Adewale Adeoye (Elesho), Eyiyemi Afolayan, Aisha Lawal, Adebayo Salami, Dele Odule, Samson Eluwole (Jinadu Ewele) and Yinka Quadri.
Aníkúlápó follows the story of Saro (Kunle Remi), a young man from Gbongan, who moves to Oyo Ile in search of greener pastures. Fortune shone on him, and he was on his way to becoming prosperous. Not until he found love in a forbidden place did things fall apart for him.
Story: Aníkúlápó is a story of many layers. Love, betrayal, greed, envy, rivalry, pride, child marriage, polygamy and other themes are touched on in the 142 minutes cultural epic. Though it did not offer a spectacular storyline, the way the story unfolded to transcend to a second kingdom and the journey it took viewers through to get there is brilliant.
Casting: Watching Aníkúlápó is like going to an event with all the legends of the Yoruba film industry in attendance. It was refreshing to see most of the old Nollywood actors, even though most appeared in single scenes and did not utter more than two sentences.
Costume/film set: Afolayan has a thing for period pieces, first October 1, set in 1960 Nigeria; later Swallow, set in the 80s; and now Aníkúlápó, which is set in the 1940s Oyo Kingdom. But though his stories are coming many years after they supposedly took place, he always manages, to a large extent, to use the right costume, props, and other accoutrements that bring the story alive to the viewer. Aníkúlápó is not different in this regard.
Acting: Even though Aníkúlápó is star-studded, the film revolves around the characters of Bimbo Ademoye (Arolake) and Kunle Remi (Saro). The duo proved yet again that they are not limited by language or script. In keeping with Ademoye’s humorous nature, Arolake had a bit of mischievousness in her, which showed in most parts of the film. Remi, away from the playboy played in Afolayan’s A Naija Christmas, channeled a different part of himself in his Saro character. Sola Sobowale as Awarun the ‘sugar mummy,’ was really beautiful to watch. Another interesting duo was the non-speaking Ojumo king (played by Hakeem Kae-Kazim) and his mouthpiece, Ropo Ewenla.
What is the backstory of the Akala bird? The bird played a significant role in how Saro became Aníkúlápó; unfortunately, Afolayan did not share with us how the bird got the power to resurrect people or how it came that Saro was favoured to be resurrected by the bird twice. We can only wonder if this will be revealed in the Aníkúlápó series Afolayan has hinted will debut in the coming months.
Conclusively, Afolayan and the Aníkúlápó crew did a spectacular job with the film. For one, the film has brought aspects of Yoruba culture from the history annals into mainstream discussion, with younger generations trading bants over what is truth and what is fiction about the Oyo Ile depicted in Aníkúlápó.