Nigerian filmmakers seek tie-ups with Indians to take on Hollywood

Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest nations and its most populous, is keen to collaborate with the over $2-billion Indian film industry to promote better understanding between the two countries and provide competition to Hollywood.

“I am just excited at the prospect of a future collaboration between a Nigerian filmmaker and one from India,” Femi Adeniye, a Lagos-based Nigerian film producer, told IANS on phone.

“Indian filmmakers have the know-how and the experience and that can combine to be a threat to the Hollywood industry,” added the filmmaker.

Recently, Abuja hosted the first Indian Film Festival and screend a number of Hindi movies including “Lagaan”, “Pardes”, “Chak De! India”, “Stanley Ka Dabba”, “Jodhaa-Akbar”, “Sholay”, “Devdas”, “Dhoom 2” and “3 Idiots”.

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria A.R. Ghanashayan sees a vast scope for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in filmmaking by virtue of complementing comparative advantages and experiences.

He believes the hosting of the film festival in Nigeria would lead to a reciprocal Nigerian Film Festival in New Delhi.

India is currently Nigeria’s second largest trading partner. With a population of 168 million and considerable revenue from oil exports, Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa.

Bilateral annual trade turnover was over $17.3 billion in 2011-12, registering a growth of 34 percent. Last financial year, Indian exports showed a further increase of 1.33 percent even though bilateral trade fell to $16.8 billion.

Nigeria is also the largest market in Africa for Indian exports with a large number of Indian companies operating in the country and some of them making substantial investments.

India is one of the largest film producing nations in the world and Indian films have also been a part of the country’s history and are very popular in Kano, Kaduna and other northern States, and local channels regularly telecast Indian films.

Nigeria’s First Lady, Lady Patience Faka Jonathan, who attended the film fest, opined that the two countries have a shared relationship and similarities in an enterprising film culture.

She feels the film industry provides an avenue for growth for the two countries and says: “Just like Nigeria with a population of over 160 million people, India is equally blessed with a huge population of over 1.2 billion people. We can therefore imagine what this translates into economic terms.

“There is the possibility of stakeholders in the film industry from Bollywood and Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry) engaging in partnerships or exchange programmes that will yield mutual benefits and promote better understanding between our two countries.”

A further boost to relationship between the two countries in films is likely to increase trade between the countries. Some of film producers are already looking at collaboration between Nigerian and Indian film makers.

Inputs by IANS