The Nigerian movie industry has grown since its inception in the early 90s and, despite some challenges, managed to become the third-largest film industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood.
The industry, which is worth over $55bn and one of the major exports in the country, has employed more than 10 million Nigerians. Daily Trust takes a look at some of the most popular movies in the history of the industry.
Released in 2003 and directed by Tchidi Chikere, Blood Sisters is one of the Nigerian movies that confirmed the celebrated acting brilliance of the two biggest Nigerian actresses in history — Omotola Jalade and Genevieve Nnaji.
In Blood Sisters, Genevieve (Esther) and Omotola (Gloria) are blood sisters, but Esther feels nothing but heated jealousy for her older sister, Gloria. She is constantly threatened by her sister’s better grades and luck with men.
The film is said to be the first popular film featuring Genevieve and Omotola together, in which Nnaji’s searing performance as a wicked sister and Jalade’s embodiment of the good sister role is believed to birth the rivalry and division among the fans of the two actresses.
Isakaba is a gripping and entertaining movie in its storyline, theme, and style that tries to reflect one of the most worrying social justice systems in Nigeria: Jungle Justice.
Incredibly reminiscent of the film’s score is the slang word ‘Odeshi ‘ which is yet to be forgotten by viewers who saw the movie as far back as 2001 when it made its debut.
Osuofia in London
Osuofia in London is a 2003 Nigerian comedy film produced and directed by Kingsley Ogoro and starring the popular Nigerian actor, Nkem Owoh, as Osuofia.
The film is arguably one of the highest-selling Nollywood films in history, and also one of the most popular. It was followed by a 2004 sequel titled ‘Osuofia in London 2′.
In the movie, Osuofia (Nkem Owoh), a villager living in Nigeria, leaves for London upon receiving word of the demise of his brother, Donatus, in London who has left in his will a huge estate for Osuofia as the sole beneficiary.
But a series of comic cultural clashes rises when Donatus’ English fiancée, Samantha, fails to understand the Nigerian tradition of inheritance.
Amina is a 2012 Nigerian psychological drama film written, produced and directed by Christian Ashaiku, starring Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Van Vicker and Alison Carroll.
Amina, which was shot on location in London, received generally mixed reviews; many critics criticized the casting of the film, but it still maintains significant fame in Nigeria’s cinema.
The movie’s cast includes Omotola Jalade Ekeinde as Amina, Wil Johnson as Dr Johnson, and Van Vicker as Michael.
Nneka the Pretty Serpent
Years after the mysterious murder of her parents, a traumatized woman gains supernatural powers that aid in her quest for revenge against the killers.
Nneka the Pretty Serpent is a 2020 remake of the 1994 horror mystery film of the same name.
It was directed by Tosin Igho with Idia Aisien playing the lead role alongside Bovi Ugboma, Bimbo Ademoye, Zack Orji, Shaffy Bello, Beverly Osu and Ndidi Obi.
It was released on Netflix on 18 August 2021, and nominated for Best Visual Effects by Africa Movie Academy Awards in the same year.
Living in Bondage
Living in Bondage is a 1992/93 Nigerian two-part drama thriller film directed by Chris Obi Rapu, written by Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, and produced by Ogunjiofor.
The film starred Kenneth Okonkwo and Nnenna Nwabueze in their breakout roles.
Living in Bondage is regarded as the first Nigerian home video that achieved blockbuster success.
It starred Nollywood actors — Kenneth Okonkwo, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Francis Agu and Ngozi Nwosu — who later became the industry’s heavyweights.
Billionaires’ Club is a Nigerian movie about a family passing through the challenges of poverty and subsequently gaining wealth through a secret cult called the Billionaires Club.
The moving movie, which was directed by Afam Okereke and released in 1999, involves a secret society of men who use occult powers by sacrificing close ones to make “blood money.”
The film has as its cast Pete Edochie, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Patience Ozonkwor and Sola Sobawale among others.
The northern Nigerian film industry, Kannywood, has as one of its timeless blockbusters, the movie Wasila, directed by Yakubu Lere in 1999.
Wasila is a family drama about love, cheating, divorce and remorse involving Jamilu (Ali Nuhu) and Wasila (Wasila Ismail).
The two-part Kannywood movie, Mujadala, directed by Ali Nuhu, is a notably successful romantic story between six young men and women in thrilling love triangles.
Mujadala was garnished with Bollywood-style music and dance, which are still sources of exciting nostalgia to many millennial film lovers in northern Nigeria.
It was released in the early 2000s starring Ali Nuhu, Fati Muhammad, (late) Ahmad S. Nuhu, Abida Muhammad, Sani Musa Mai-Iska and Maijidda Abdulkadir.
The director, Ali Nuhu, later made a remake of it with the same title in 2019 starring Umar M. Sheriff and Maryam Yahaya, among others.
The film, Sangaya (1&2) by Sarauniya Movies, can be the most popular blockbuster in Kannywood.
The movie, which was released in 2000, is about a love crisis predominantly set at a Hausa royal palace involving an orphaned palace servant girl (Fati Muhammad), caught up in the challenges of winning the love of a royal prince (Ali Nuhu), who is desired by another princess (Hauwa Ali Dodo).