Ema Edosio’s underseen debut Kasala! is coming to Netflix. The well-traveled comedy—it has played in several film festivals, home and abroad—is one of several excellent Nollywood films to have gone unnoticed because of the industry’s distribution challenges. The cinemas initially rejected the film, and when it is was finally accepted in December 2018, the showtimes were unfair and many ‘big’ movies playing overshadowed it. This is the first time the film will be available to viewers worldwide.
Kasala!, set in a Lagos slum, follows Tunji, a fast-talking teenager, and his friends Chikodi, Abraham, and Effiong as they go on a jolly ride around their neighborhood in his uncle’s car. Kasala happens when they crash the car and must fix it within five hours before Tunji’s strict uncle gets back from work. To raise the money for the car repair, they resort to avenues known to each one of them.
The film is led by the talented quartet of Chimezie Imo, Emeka Nwagbaraocha, Tomiwa Tegbe, and Mike Afolarin, who deliver a rapturous performance praised by most critics. Writing for Africa is a Country, Fareeda Abdulkareem says they are “a good ensemble.” YNaija’s Wilfred Okichie says: “Kasala’s biggest triumph has to be the casting of the central foursome. The chemistry that oozes out of their gathering is pure gold and Edosio is ever-present, capturing moments that feel so real and true to life.”
Other critics praised Kasala! for embracing Lagos’ dirt and roughness while presenting it in a non-exploitative manner. “It is a realistic and gritty film, one that does not shy away from the grime and the stench,” Toni Kan wrote for The Cable. “The ghetto is up-front and center in all its tainted glory. But far from being an exploitative film which milks the deprivation of the poor for quick gains, the film actually has a heart and a soul. It is a love song composed to Lagos and the denizens of the ghettos that dot the city.”
Kasala! is shot and directed by Edosio from a screenplay by Temi Sodipo. The film stars Judith Audu, Gabriel Afolayan, Jide Kosoko, Sambasa Nzeribe and Kassim Abiodun. Kasala! starts playing on Netflix from January 31, 2020.