Escape From Uganda Narrowly Fails to Satisfy

Early on in October, it was announced that the 2013 Bollywood film, Escape From Uganda, would premiere at the plush Kampala Serena hotel.

Arguably the first Malayalam film to be entirely shot in Africa, it got many Ugandans anxious since it had some of their own starring. Finally, the red carpet was rolled last Friday for the film premiere. There was a cocktail before the film screened at 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 Samuel Shikha (Rima Kallingal), who along with her husband Jayakrishnan (Vijay Babu) chose Uganda as their refuge after her family in Kerala objected to their marriage.

The couple leads a happy life – with their daughter, as Jayakrishnan, now employed as a manager in a coffee shop and Shikha running a boutique. The tranquility of their life is shattered when Shikha is arrested on charges of committing two murders one of the victims, Oldra (Anita Kyalimpa), is a daughter of the mayor (Sam Bagenda), who vowed to keep her in jail for the rest of her life.

The film has nice shots and pictures that make you look at Uganda’s towns like Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja, among other, in a different perspective – that would make filmmakers rush to Uganda for their next projects. 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, while Bagenda shone most as the mayor trying to deny Shikha justice. Wilberforce Mutete was again stereotype-casted as a policeman, while the ever-amazing but highly- underrated Sherrie Kiconco was the unruly prisoner.

The film, however, gly fails to deliver an appealing story, for almost sixty minutes. We know Shikha was framed by someone but don’t know what is really going on – all we have are sub plots of diamonds we saw at the beginning, a murder and an escape plan.

The film also falls short of creativity, especially with that g resemblance of storylines with that of The Next Three Days, a 2010 thriller film starring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks. But that is not all the establishment shots in most of the scenes at the prison were done at the Central police station (CPS), yet they suggested the girl was held in Luzira.

There was an annoying birds’ view shot at the beginning that showed Namboole stadium with its surrounding slums it was beautiful, but useless to the story, it didn’t lead to anything or carry the plot forward. It was also hard liking the screen playwright the script lacked a lot of things like harmony and life.

In his debut film role, singer Jose Chameleone had a cameo role that was completely uncalled for. He was on the screen for over fifteen minutes, saying stuff that was irrelevant to the movie he wasn’t connected to any of the main characters in any way.

Even the two singing and dance sequences identical of Bollywood movies were greatly misplaced, with two Chameleone songs that don’t relate to the film in any way. Either way, the film’s version for the Ugandan market is a g technical pat on the shoulder and with Rajesh promising to make more of such movies. We hope Ugandan filmmakers can use the platform to learn more.

Source : The Observer

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