If you grew up in a typical Yoruba home, you probably watched one or two movies with an opening montage of a talking drum beating the rhythmic words: “Opomulero moja lekan”. It follows up with visuals announcing Mainframe Films and Television Productions. By this time, you know you’re in for some really good time.
The production company, owned by filmmaker Tunde Kelani, took off in 1991 and takes credit for the bulk of Yoruba Nollywood movies that have attained “classic” status. Kelani’s distinct approach to filmmaking appeals to young and old audiences in a way that makes them return for more.
If you’re looking to join the party, and carry the Yoruba movie stan title, these mainframe production movies should be on your all-time binge list.
“Ti Oluwa Nile” (1993)
The trilogy shot veteran actor, Kareem Adepoju AKA Baba Wande, to fame. In the movie, Baba Wande’s character, Chief Asiyanbi, conspires with two others, JP and Sanya, to sell a sacred land. Things go awry when death comes for Chief Asiyanbi’s co-conspirators. He (Chief Asiyanbi) then makes several attempts to escape the claws of death.
Ti Oluwa Nile also stars Dele Odule, Yemi Shodimu among others.
“Ayo Ni Mo Fe” (1994)
It’s one of the oldest movies that addresses mental health in Nigerian society. Ayo Ni Mo Fe follows the story of a lady who chooses to marry a struggling and irresponsible young man over a wealthy elderly trader. The young man would later impregnate and marry another woman, driving his first wife insane when she finds out about the betrayal.
Yomi Ogunmola, Lere Paimo, Bola Obot and Kareem Adepoju, among others, feature in the film.
Koseegbe follows the story of a newly promoted customs officer. Upon resumption, he decides to wage war against corruption, smuggling, fraud and all other forms of illegal activities. However, his resolve clashes with the plans of dishonest colleagues, who then scheme to have him implicated on the job.
The movie features Jide Kosoko, Peju Ogunmola, Kola Oyewo and Yemi Shodimu, among others.
If you’re ever in doubt about Nollywood’s ability to deliver romcoms, this classic will give you a rethink.
Oleku benefits from a stellar performance by veteran actor Yemi Shodimu. The movie, an adaptation of Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola’s novel of the same name, follows the story of a final-year student’s complicated love quadrangle with three women.
It stars Lere Paimo, Iyabo Ogunsola, Feyikemi Abodunrin and Omolola Aderupoko, among others.
It’s one of the most popular offerings from Mainframe Productions. Saworoide show how greedy King Lapite flouts his kingdom’s cultural values for his selfish interest. King Lapite’s life is cut short when a military coup usurps the throne.
Veteran stars like Lere Paimo, Kunle Afolayan, Kunle Bamtefa, Bukky Wright and Kola Oyewo featured in the film.
“Agogo Eewo” (2002)
The sequel to the 1999 Saworoide. You might want to watch the first instalment for a premium viewing experience. The town of Jogbo needs a new king after Lagata’s (coup leader in Saworoide) death. Jogbo’s chiefs outsmart Arese, who is next in line to rule, and install a police officer hoping he’d play to their corrupt tunes. The officer is, however, determined to quell corruption in Jogbo.
Agogo Eewo stars Lere Paimo, Kunle Afolayan and Dejumo Lewis, among others.
This movie is a must-watch if you’re looking to learn about the sacrifice-bearing ritual at the Osun Osogbo festival in Osun state. Starring Bukola Awoyemi as lead, Arugbo follows the story of a corrupt leader of a small Nigerian town and a young woman chosen to act as the ceremonial virgin in the village’s ritual rites. However, her chastity is questioned after she was abducted by three men.
Arugba also stars Segun Adefila, Lere Paimo and Remi Abiola, among others.
It’s an adaptation of a 1994 book of the same title published by Nigerian playwright, Femi Osanfisan. Maami features one of the best on screen performances of Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele.
The movie tells the story of Kashimawo, a young boy with a difficult childhood raised by a single mother under poverty-stricken conditions. Kashimawo becomes a national hero and superstar playing for the English football club, Arsenal. When he returns to his home country, Nigeria, he must decide whether or not to join the country’s National team for the 2010 South Africa World Cup.
Wole Ojo, Olumide Bakare and Sanyo, among others, feature in the film.