It was the most anticipated series the social media hype, trailers, YouTube hits and all that, Ugandans couldn’t indeed wait for Beneath The Lies to hit the TV screens.
The premiere at Acacia mall last Wednesday was a red carpet affair and champagne was popped. Indeed, this was a new era for the Ugandan film and TV industry.
And there was reason to believe all this hype. The series had been heavily invested in by shipping a crew from Kenya plus bringing one of East Africa’s best directors David Tosh Gitonga, known for films such as The First Grader (2009), Malooned (2007) and the award winning Nairobi Half Life – which is also East Africa’s first Oscar submission.
With such a CV upon us, we had to take everything they said about Beneath The Lies as bible truth. It wasn’t surprising that the premiere attracted important people like Capt Francis Babu, former East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) speaker Margaret Zziwa and First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, among others.
There is no doubt that Nana Kagga’s well-written story will raise the bar as far as TV drama productions are concerned. The lighting, color correlation, shoots angles and editing is better than all the screen hits The Hostel, Deceptions, Kakibe Ki and Destiny combined.
Beneath The Lies tells a story of a city filled with extortion, exploitation and a grim side of how far many Ugandans would go in order to put food on the table. The lies lie beneath one man’s law firm. Steven Amaru (Cedric Babu) is one of the most powerful lawyers in Kampala. Many of the rich people are at his mercy he safeguards their secrets.
“Compared to the stories we are used to, this is way out of the box. And yes, it has that western kind of touch many Ugandans want to associate with,” one of the guests at the premiere praised the storyline.
The series, however, fails at the opening scene, at least according to many pundits. It opens with a sloppy robbery at Amaru’s home, in which he loses a laptop with important personal information. Amaru calls his aides: Abe Sakku (Gaetano Kaggwa) and Paul Mukasa (Daniel Omara), who help him reveal the robber as Kamali Amaru (Flavia Tumusiime), his estranged wife.
Many feel the opening was all over the place and that it didn’t give the audience enough time to digest everything.
“The intrigue has been killed. They literally poured a lot of stuff out yet it is just the first episode,” said Grey Godwyns, a film lover.
Other film lovers took to social media to air out their grievances. One wondered why the show used many first timers, and why they had some facts wrong. For instance, Cedric Babu is a city lawyer with dreadlocks, but since when did Ugandan male lawyers start wearing dreadlocks?
But after everything is said, the show still has eleven more episodes the beginning raped us as viewers – it lacked a backing history.
“It seemed pretty much tailored to introduce the fancy characters than the story. In less than three minutes, Gaetano, Helen, Natasha, Rabadaba, Salvado, Flavia, and Nava, among others, had already appeared on the screen,” said Polly Kamukama of the film classification body.
Well, it is a marketing gimmick to nail the audience by throwing in as many famous people as you can in the first minutes but it somehow affects the art. Cedric Babu is the executive producer and the lead actor, but he is the weakest link, considering that his character is too demanding.
Coincidentally, however, Babu is also the owner of Kinetic Management, the agency almost the entire cast is attached to. Truth is, casting him as the lead and many other people on the show was a mistake. The producers had to call for an open casting.
Doing a project with many beginners, it is only prudent to feature a g lead character because even where the cast team fails, he can carry the show on his shoulders. That is why this show needed a person like Michael Wawuyo, Peter Odeke, Joel Okuyo or Phillip Luswata a person to carry the series on when the other cast can’t.
Nevertheless, Gaetano and Tumusiime stole the shine in the pilot episode.
Source : The Observer