Escape from Uganda, fails to impress

04:00 by Kaggwa Andrew
Early on in October, it was announced that the 2013 Bollywood film Escape from Uganda would premiere at the plush Serena Hotel in Kampala.
Arguably the first Bollywood film to be entirely shot in Africa, it got many Ugandans anxious since it had some of their own staring in.
Finally, on Friday, the red carpet was rolled, lights and cameras and cocktails were set for the Serena Hotel film premiere.
The film was screened at about 9pm after a number of speeches and arrival announcements.
Directed by Rajesh Niar, Escape from Uganda was originally done in Malayalam language with an English Dolby interpretation. 
It rotates around Shikha Samuel (Rima Kallingal), who along with her husband Jayakrishnan (Vijay Babu), have chosen of all places in the world, Uganda, to find refuge, after her family in Kerala objects to their marriage.
The couple is leading a happy life with their daughter; Jayakrishnan is employed as a manager in a coffee shop and Shikha runs a designer boutique.
The tranquility of their life is shattered when Shikha is arrested on the charges of committing two murders, one of the victims; Oldra (Anita Kyalimpa) is the daughter of the local Mayor (Sam Bagenda), who has pledged to keep her in jail for the rest of her life.
The film boosts of very good shots and picture, it is also a good PR for Uganda in general as a possible location for future movie projects; they made you look at kampala, Entebbe, jinja and all those other places from a very different angle – which was appealing.
Unlike the Last King of Scotland where most of the Ugandan characters barely said a word, Rajesh indeed gifted them with commendable number of dialogues, Michael Wawuyo as the head of military intelligence was perfect, Sam Bagenda shone most as the mayor trying to deny Shikha justice, Wilberforce Mutete was again stereotype casted as a policeman, then probably the ever amazing but highly underated Sherrie Kiconco as the unruly prisoner.
The film though strongly fails on delivering an appealing story, for almost sixty minutes, we know Shikha was framed by someone but don’t know what’s really going on – all we have  are sub plots of diamonds we saw at the beginning, a murder and an escape plan - it was over the place.
The film also falls short of creativity especially with that strong resemblance of storylines with that of The Next Three days, a 2010 thriller film starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. But that’s not all, the establishment shots in most of the scenes at the prison where done at CPS yet they suggested the girl was held in Luzira.
There was an annoying birds’ view shot at the beginning that showed Nambole, Bweyogerere and slums in Kireka, it was beautiful but useless to the story, it didn’t lead to anything or carry the plot to something new.
We can’t forget the debut of Jose Chameleon, he had a cameo role that was completely uncalled for, he was on the screen for over fifteen minutes saying staff that was irrelevant to the movie, and he wasn’t connected to any of the main characters in anyway yet wasted our precious fifteen.
Even the two singing and dance sequences identical of Bollywood movies were greatly misplaced this time round, having two Chameleone songs that don’t relate to the film in anyway was a mess – his and Iryn’s sound tracks were however spot on.
Either way, the film’s version for the Ugandan market is a strong technical pat on the shoulder and with Rajesh promising to make more of such movies; we hope Ugandan film makers can use the platform to learn more.


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