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Opinions of Thursday, 22 March 2018

Columnist: Musah Abdul Razak

An open letter to Kumawood

Dear Kumawood, I salute you all and sundry. I set aside today to dedicate you this piece with the hope that it reaches you. To begin with, I want to express my heartfelt sympathy at the decline of the industry. It is a pity. Kumawood has been a source of happiness to Ghanaians for a long time but not long ago, the industry has dwindled. Ghanaians have seen all your struggle to bring the industry back to normal. Last year for instance, you went to Asantehene to see if he could help you. That was a very nice attempt and Ghanaians love and appreciate that. We also see you on television calling for help and demonstrating as well. That also shows how serious and staunch Ghanaian you are.

I have keenly listened to you; the producers, directors, actors and actresses. Your long but pleasant speech, those that sound like a mumbo jumbo in the ears of the woman who likes "Kumkum Bagya" than everything and like a Chinese to the poor man who is struggling to make ends means as a result of the NPP government being a "grabbing grabbing" government. I have also watched you on the television with red and black attire which depicts the saying "a hungry man is an angry man" pleading with the government for aid.

Kumawood has indeed dwindled and needs support. Danfo BA and Bandex who were famous producers now runs a school and produces pizza respectively. Most of the remaining have also involved themselves in other economic activities. To some Kumawood stars, the fall is as a result of financial constraint and the existence of telenovelas in the country. From individualistic perspectives too, the fall is attributed to the lack of cinemas in the country, improvement in technology and that our television stations do not support and sponsor the industry. They prove this with the fact that at 8:00pm in Ghana, almost all the television stations will be showing telenovelas. I second you but I as a concerned citizen and a staunch Kumawood follower has also discovered some causes of the fall of the industry and I can boldly say without a shroud of doubt that if they are being taken seriously, the industry will rise again.

I think the absence of suspense is a cause of the fall of the industry. Let us take "Kumkum Bagya" and "Doli Armaano Ki" for instance, they are some telenovelas that make good use of suspense. Yes, they always keep their viewers in suspense. As a result, people do their best possible to follow the story. No wonder some people leave their normal duties when it is time for any of these movies. Does Kumawood also use suspense? The answer, even though from different perspectives, is a big NO. Kumawood movies are in such a way that one can easily predict the end from the premier. If the end can be known, do you think one would bother themselves to complete the whole movie? Do you think one would intentionally tune in to watch a kumawood movie when it is time for any of these telenovelas? This I think makes people, Ghanaians to be precise, have no interest in watching kumawood movies.

Again, Kumawood movies are not of good quality. Unlike Hollywood that can use a whole year for a single movie, Kumawood would rather use 3 days or a week for a full movie. Fallacy right? You would also prefer to use an individual for many movies in a day meanwhile the actors and actresses are many. I shook my head in annoyance and dismay as I heard a kumawood star proudly saying that they could cast many movies in a day. According to them, they would sometimes be in "Amakom" casting a movie for Bandex and Pat Thomas would be calling them in "Santasi" to come and cast a movie. Since it is money that they want, they would hastily cast the two movies in a day which would not be of good quality. Interestingly, they could cast as many as 5 movies in a day. This is sickening and needs to be quelled. Even though some actors and actresses are superior to the others, I think those who are not good can be made better by the producers. Let us buy dogs when they are puppies so that they be our liking.

"I will never allow my six-year and my nine-year kids to watch Kumawood movies because they are full of insults," Captain Smart bemoaned. Harsh but it is true. Are you please aware that the youngsters emulate their actors and actresses? What will they therefore learn if the movies are full of insults? Tears begin to trickle through my cheeks anytime I see this happening. Not only insults, the movies are also full of comics and the imitation of foreign countries is very bad as well. Let us take "Fakyeme" for instance, we see Ghanaians trying to speak Chinese. Hoh! This is appealing. How many times do we see Nigerians doing this or even the Chinese speaking Twi? The insults and comics have become rampant. How can a 23-year old boy be painted to be a 90-year old man only for them to "insult" and "fool" Sometimes we see scenes created for only comic and insult." kenken Kwa" for instance, Kwadwo Nkansah played no important role but scenes were always created for him to create comics and "insult". If it is now “comic wood" instead of kumawood you please let us be aware.

Have you noticed that Kumawood uses only one style?In most of your movies, we see two people or groups in opposition and at the end one wins. Most of the time, we see pastors and witches with wizards in opposition and at the end of it, the pastors win. Foreign power rather turns to overcome our tradition which shows how we don't respect our tradition. This is because if not Europeans we never knew that there was anything like Christianity but in your movies you do not recognize our tradition. This is not in other countries like India. They rather value their gods a lot. Please let us avoid using one style and also respect our tradition.

Conflict, hatred, competition and pride are also responsible for the fall of the industry. It baffled me when Agya Koo was saying that he was better than Liwin. What did he gain after that? Nothing I think. Kwadwo Nkansah Liwin and Kwaku Manu are at loggerheads so how can these two people come together to bring a good result? Mr A hates Mr B because Mr B is better than A. Mr R has a lot of property so Mr S wishes he were him. I suggest that the ceiling of Kumawood must be cleaned before their floor that is there should be peace in the industry first before any external help. The development of the industry depends on the mutual respect, trust, love and dedication. The absence of these makes the industry to fall.

Political interference is also killing the industry. Instead of the stars to be partial in politics, they go round proclaiming their political affiliations. Mr Beautiful made us to know that he was an NDC man whilst Agya Koo not too long also proclaimed that he was an NPP man. How can these two people with diverse political parties collaborate?

I know some people after taking a glimpse at this piece will argue with me that I am wrong. Yes, I know I am not perfect since I am a mortal being. But one thing I know is that Ghana is a democratic country and the expression of views are taken.

Mr producers, directors, actors and actresses, I wish my piece would be given all the necessary attention. Kumawood forever, long live Kumawood.


By: Musah Abdul Razak

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