Movie Title: Anikulapo
Cast: Kunle Remi, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Sola Sobowale, Bimbo Ademoye, Taiwo Hassan, Faithia Balogun, Adebayo Salami, Kareem Adepoju, Moji Olayiwola, and Aisha Lawal.
Runtime: 2 hours, 22 minutes
Date of release: 30 September 2022
Director: Kunle Afolayan
Inspired by Ifayemi Elebuibon
Setting: Set in 17th century Oyo kingdom. Some favourite scenes are the marketplaces, where we are given a glimpse of how trading worked back then, how clay pots were made, and what houses looked like. The star-studded fantasy movie tries to concoct a vividly conceived story that would intrigue its audience.
Plot Summary: “Anikulapo” is a movie that showcases the Yoruba culture. A mystical folklore drama revolving around the life of a young zealous man seeking for greener pasture in great Oyo Kingdom. Unfolding events & his illicit affair with the king’s wife leads to his untimely death & encounter with a mystical bird believed to give & take life.
Review: A mysterious black bird with smoke surrounding it appears in the opening scene of Anikulapo, questioning a young man about the cause of his demise. According to legend, the bird, known as Akala, has the ability to either give or steal someone’s life.
A skillful aso ofi weaver named Saro (Kunle Remi) who traveled all the way from Gbogan to Oyo is introduced as the young man who has been raised from the dead. Since the locals are kind to him, he quickly establishes himself there. He ultimately develops a relationship with an already-married Awarun who is not interested in discussing the possibility of a future with Saro.
At the king’s palace, she offers Saro a business deal in exchange when he feels misled. When Saro enters the palace, he notices Araloke (Bimbo Ademoye), the King’s youngest queen. Little does Saro realize that the queen is also interested in him. They quickly start dating in secret, but Princess Omowunmi, who also thinks Saro is a fascinating and attractive man, doesn’t learn about their relationship until one day. The couple decides to leave together. Araloke manages to evade their fury by fleeing in the wilderness, but Saro is captured and killed by the King’s troops. He is given a new lease on life when the mysterious bird appears at this crucial moment. Araloke, terrified, tries to scare the bird away, and as she does so, she discovers a black gourd on the ground.
Saro and Araloke traverse thick woodlands on foot before finding safety in a remote village. When they first arrive, they see the villagers grieving the loss of a kid. Saro receives the gourd from Araloke and is tasked with reviving it. When the infant comes to life again, Saro is given the name Anikulapo (one who has death in his control). The fame of Saro quickly becomes universal. But over time, Saro’s pride and greed have overcome him, and this has caused a split in their relationship. Saro acquires more wives, but after the death of the land’s prince, his life becomes chaotic.
The film’s emphasis on greed as a lesson is important to highlight. Many people have already warned Saro not to bite off more than she can chew, but human greed is so wicked that it won’t make people listen until they are at their lowest point or on their deathbed. He was in difficulty because of it both before and after he died, despite the warnings, and it cost him his life.
However, Bimbo Ademoye (Queen Araloke) owes her fans an explanation for defying her earlier this year when she stated in an interview, “Never! My dad is watching. I can’t play nude or a sex scene in any movie.”
Also, why did Saro open his eyes at the end, does that mean he lives on?
Despite the fact that “Anikulapo” falls short of living up to its promise of fascinating storytelling, it is one of those movies that genuinely and proudly honors our cultural history.
Verdict: 7/10. It’s fascinating to witness this look into Nigerian folklore and fantasy.