Highly-anticipated Nigerian Netflix original “Amina” dropped earlier this month. This is because the film took about 25 years to execute.
The film’s executive producer Okey Ogunjiofor began his research for the screenplay in 1996. Ogunjiofor then contacted award-winning director Izu Ojukwu in 2015 to work on the project. The film was shot in 2015, awaiting a 2017 release date.
“Amina” centres on a young princess of Zazzau now Zaria in Kaduna State Nigeria. This heiress develops an interest in acquiring military skills, which at the time, was taboo for females in Zazzau.
The Madawaki (prime minister) was a strong opposition of Princess Amina, yet she grew into a fearless warrior.
However, she is entangled in love with the enemy, a prince of Igala. However, the major plot revolves around Amina fulfilling her destiny and ascending her throne in Zazzau.
“Amina” is one film that brought 16th century Northern Nigerian to fore. Ancient buildings made of muds and stones were constructed on the location, to look exactly like Queen Amina’s palace. The use of horses and skilful use of swords, native costumes is worth applauding.
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The film, however, has its shortcomings. For a film that talks about historical times in Northern Nigeria, the film had minimal Hausa as 99 per cent of the conversations were in English language.
Also, the film didn’t have enough background story. For example, the role of Sarki was played by an elderly actor (Abu Chris Gbakann) who was very much in love with his late wife. The film reveals that Sarki promised his wife that he wouldn’t force his daughters into marriage. So in “Amina”, the Sarki has a soft spot for his little daughter and obliges all of their demands, but there is no background story on why the Sarki had Amina in his old age?
Lastly, the whirlwind romance between Amina ( Lucy Ameh) and Prince Danjuma (Ali Nuhu) wasn’t properly delivered. The connection was just too sudden and before viewers could appreciate their chemistry, the film came to a climax with a lot of bloodshed.
But overall, “Amina” is a good watch. If you want an insight into what happened in 16th Northern Nigeria then you should see it on Netflix.
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