Revisiting Nollywood classic, ‘Owo Blow’, 25 years after

Tade Ogidan’s ‘Owo Blow’ was a Nollywood classic which was released in three parts,‘The Genesis’, ‘The Revolt’, and ‘The Final Struggle’.

Released in 1995, it took a very harsh look at some of the vices that are still plaguing Nigeria, 25 years after. Issues like the miscarriage of justice, corruption, unemployment, jungle justice, police brutality, and unlawful detention were predominant in the movie.

The dialogue was in Yoruba but adequately subtitled in English.

The movie was what essentially kickstarted the career of Nigeria movie legend, Femi Adebayo.

The plot

‘Owo Blow’ was a family drama where the man of the house was unjustly imprisoned after he intervened in the harsh treatment of traders by the State Task Force during a raid in a market which caused the deaths of several people.

After he was kicked out of school because he could not pay the fees, the man’s son, Wole, tried his hands on everything he could do to take care of his mother and siblings.

He worked as a washer-man and a bus conductor but when he lost the jobs for some reason, desperation drove him to become a purse snatcher.

He got caught at some point and was beaten by a mob. Too ashamed to face his mother, he decided to stay on the streets with an old classmate. He joined a gang of bad boys who “hustle” for survival on the streets.

His sister, Mope, also resorted to prostitution to get money as her way of supporting the family. She got impregnated by an area uncle who promised to marry her but ditched her. She died while trying to get rid of the baby.

Wole later became an armed robber for several years, rose in ranks, and became the leader of his own gang of robbers. He, however, made a pact with his members never to kill anyone whenever they go to rob.

As an older man, Wole dumped his robbery job and became a better person. He went back to school and became a wealthy philanthropist loved by many. He got married, to the delight of his mother. His former men on their part continued to live as criminals.

As much as Wole made efforts to live a better life, he remained plagued by his past deeds and found himself in a difficult situation, having to pay for his past sins.

Cast

One of the great things about ‘Owo Blow’ was the choice of characters. Today, a lot of classic movies are easily remembered by their lead cast, even better than the titles.

Wole’s role started with teenage Femi Adebayo whose huge sense of responsibility drove to make huge sacrifices to make ends meet. His role was later played as an adult by a veteran actor, Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo).

Wole did not allow his desperation for riches to make him forget his basic values as a human, as he constantly schooled his men to avoid bloodshed on any operation. He did not want the guilt of robbing people of their lives added to the guilt of robbing them of their money and possessions.

As much as a crime should not be justified, Wole’s character gained the sympathy of viewers, and people fell in love with his kindness.

The role of Wole’s father, played by the late Kayode Odumosu (Pa Kasumu) represented the voice of justice that constant efforts have been made to silence in Nigeria, even till now.

A young Bimbo Akintola played the role of Wole’s younger sister, Mope, who became a victim of circumstance and met an untimely death.

‘Owo Blow’was Ms Akintola’s debut movie role and she delivered her role amazingly well. She has gone on to feature in several other Nollywood movies that include ‘93 Days’. She played the role of the late heroine, Adadevoh Ameyo, in the latter.

Another veteran, Rachel Oniga, also made her first appearance in ‘Owo Blow’, where she played Wole’s mother.

There were also interesting neighbours, Binta Ayo-Mogaji, the mischievous one with the caustic tongue, and Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero), the sympathetic one.

Another notable role is that of the family’s landlord played by the late Sam Loco. He was quick to remind everyone that he was the Inheritor, as he inherited the house from his dead younger brother.

He added the much-needed comic to the film with his effortless delivery and the fact that he was speaking Yoruba in the movie added extra points.

The Director

Owo Blow was one of the award-winning films by respected Nigerian filmmaker, Tade Ogidan.

Mr Ogidan produced and directed several hit movies like ‘Hostages’, ‘Owo Blow’, ‘Diamond Ring’, ‘Out Of Bounds’, ‘Saving Alero’, ‘Dangerous Twins’, ‘Madam Dearest’, and ‘Gold Statue’ among others. Most of these movies have won several awards locally and internationally.

He began his career as a producer and director at NTA Channel 10, where he worked on many drama series like ‘The Village Headmaster’ series shown on the channel then.

Conclusion

Generally, ‘Owo Blow’ is a classic movie that can conveniently compete with many Nollywood movies of today.

Released at a time when movies were shot majorly for entertainment, ‘Owo Blow’ mirrored the Nigerian society perfectly.

With great actors, impeccable subtitle and great choices of costumes, the movie clearly was directed by someone that is good at what he does.

There were no unnecessary scenes that dragged on for too long. It was a satire drama that was devoid of irrelevance. There was no part of the movie that was not relevant to the plot of the film.

25 years after, ‘Owo Blow’ remains a classic any day.

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