Review: Bala Bala Sese

07:51 by Kaggwa Andrew
Bala Bala Sese was indeed a film to watch out for – an unimaginable love story between the village belle and boy about the rural.
It’s a simple story of Margaret (Natasha Sinayobye) and her sweet love John (Michael Kasaija) forging a way forward even with the resistance of a malicious father hell-bent to marry her off to someone else.
Directed by Bashir Lukyamuzi, the film sets out to tackle one of the commonest topics in Uganda’s art narrative, HIV/AIDS then to deceit, innocence and shrewdness.
The film boosts a very good picture – the cinematography was on point and the camera movements were well calculated, for instance every time they had to pan, it was appropriately done and at the right time, something that many African film makers get wrong.
The film is crisply put together by Usama Mukwaya with a couple of punchlines, funny quotes and serious banters that help us go through the story with ease.
It’s a love story for the biggest part of the film, John wants to make money and wed Margaret. However, when Kasirivu (Raymond Rushabiro) loses village tycoon Zeus’s (Jabal Ddungu) goods worth millions, they decide to settle the matter like gentlemen.
Zues offers Kasirivu more cows and in return, he gives him Margret’s hand in marriage even before talking to her.
Meanwhile, Margaret’s sister had left the village in search of a better life in the city, there she finds herself sharing a cubical with two girls that earn as prostitutes.
We see the producers put together a message of love, betrayal and HIV beautifully told even without forcing us to be sad and grumpy – in fact, Aids or HIV was never mentioned anywhere in the film.
Problem was that the story wasn’t really falling into place wholly, it was the first Ugandan film that didn’t drag but simply lost its self….too many sub plots..
It seemed like some key events in the story just went missing or they never considered them important enough, for instance, we expected to see John, the guy Margaret wanted to marry fight for her love against Zeus.
Then most of the characters were not fully developed, which detached us from their emotions, in fact, I guess if the Kasaijas were not dating in real life, we wouldn’t have looted for them to succeed.
But in any way, even when we lost ourselves for some parts, the film somehow manages to find it’s self because of the interesting lines and acting;  Sinayobye was splendid when she lived the part of a na├»ve village belle whose dream in life was to own a pair of shoes!
She was convincing just like Rushabiro as her father- he was the best when it came to staying in character through the whole film.
“I tried to do something that would make Ugandans differentiate Raymond from Kasirivu and the result was the character,” he says.
Director Lukyamuzi notes that this being his very first project he believes it’s just the baby steps and expects to learn from this experience for the work he will do after this.
Even with some shortcomings, Bala Bala Sese could easily become one of the best deliveries in Uganda, we connect with the characters more than we have with any in many other local films, they are so real and they talk about things we know. It’s that Ugandan film where you cry with Kasirivu and his quest to at least have a boy child – it’s something that resonates to a Ugandan homestead and Margeret’s desire to have a better life without losing her soul – clearly innocent as they come!
It could have been all over the place but we saw ourselves, dreams and aspirations in some of the characters, and at times that’s all a film maker needs to get an audience.


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