Tunde Kelani is known for his witty adaptation of prose and plays into film. His most recent prey being Wole Soyinka’s “The Lion and The Jewel”.

Tunde Kelani

Some of Kelani’s works which were also adaptations – that gave him much recognition – include 2001’s Thunderbolt: Magun (adapted from Adebayo Faleti’s The Whore) and = 2014’s Dazzling Mirage (adapted from Olayinka Abimbola Egbokhare’s novel of the same name. Soyinka on the other hand has had ties which the same adaptation concepts having Kongi’s harvest being adapted into film as well.

The Lion and the Jewel dramatizes a day in the life of three Yoruba villagers caught in a love triangle. Lakunle, a young, arrogant schoolteacher and Baroka, the elderly chief, both who want to marry Sidi, the “jewel” of the village.

In a statement to Punch, Kelani said:

“It was [Soyinka] himself who inspired me to embark on the project. He said, ‘TK, why not take a look at one of my plays?’ Well, I think he said something like ‘one of the simple plays. But when I started to take a closer look at it, trying to break it down, I discovered that it is not as simple as many people think. For one, the play is more of poetry than prose.”

The film will be shot in Ibadan and be be titled Sidi Ilunije. The three lead roles have been cast; Adebayo Salami as Baroka, Ibrahim Chatta as Lakunle and Ayisat Onitiri as Sidi. No official release date has been announced but we’re excited!