With lion and the jewel, TK delivers a talking point for his 70th birthday

 Three months from now, Tunde Kelani will be 70 years old. As he releases his latest movie, Sidi Ilujinle, in cinemas from December, the country’s most important filmmaker is inadvertently providing the material for the talking buzz around that landmark birthday. Sidi Ilujinle is the first film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s Lion and The Jewel, a play first performed 58 years ago. Kelani is always fascinated about the idea of translating Nigerian literary texts into the motion picture.
In the late 1980s, he was involved in the production of IWA, an adaptation of Adebayo Faleti’s Idaamu Paadi Mikailu, directed by Lola Fani- Kayode. As a film auteur, he has produced and directed Koseegbe, (from Akinwunmi Ishola’s text of the same name), Oleku, adapted from a novel by the same author and several other texts. TK has spoken fondly of turning Cyprian Ekwensi’s The Passport of Mallam Ilia into a movie, but it hasn’t happened.

To turn Lion and The Jewel into Sidi Ilujinle, Kelani consulted Kehinde Olojede, provost of the College of Education, Akoka, for the translation of the play into Yoruba and asked Taiwo Egunjobi to do the screenplay. There will be a lot of celebration by the arthouse crowd, as TK turns 70 on February 26, 2018, but this superbly talented artist has cleverly chosen a Soyinka play as a central theme for the party.

By Toyin Akinosho
19 November 2017   |   2:53 am