A fictional depiction of late Apala musician Ayinla Omowura, giving audiences a glimpse of the man behind the legend.
Ayinla succeeds largely because of its lead star Adedimeji Lateef, whose embodiment of a man fallible and flawed just grips you and refuses to let go.
Tunde Kelani's account (which is not a biopic) of the eponymous character isn't without a few downsides here and there, but in all, it's a commendable effort.
The film kicks off at a point in the life of Ayinla where he has already made a name for himself in his hometown of Abeokuta. Soon, a show promoter (played by Kunle Afolayan) and a journalist arrive at his doorstep as a tour to London is planned.
Ayinla's relationship with his manager (Mr. Macaroni) is tested when the latter introduces him to one of his girlfriends. The singer's subsequent romance with the girl starts a chain of events that lead to a confrontation at a beer parlour that ends in tragedy.
Lateef gives an award-worthy performance (I will be surprised if he doesn't win any for this) and Kelani spices up the film with pleasing Yoruba melodies.
The supporting characters play their different roles well enough (Afolayan most of all). The costumes and set pieces are a true reflection of the 1980's period in which the film is set.
I had just three issues with the film; one is the make-up for Mr. Macaroni's Bayowa's hair. It wasn't well done and showed that it wasn't really his. The second is the fans seen in some scenes; they are never on. The third is Adedimeji's rendition of Ayinla's songs (sometimes, his lips weren't totally in sync with the lyrics).
Other than the above issues, Ayinla ends up being a success, and by the time the hero's tragic flaw leads to his demise, the viewer has no choice but to empathize with him.
Kudos to Tunde Kelani and Adedimeji Lateef. This is a film that largely lives up to the hype.