Written and directed by Hamisha Daryani Ahuja in her directorial debut, the movie revolves around two lovers (Didi, a Nigerian girl, and Raj, a guy from India) from different worlds who struggle to hold on to each other amid the expected resistance from the two families.
Those who are yet to see Netflix’s latest romance flick are advised not to have high expectations. Only by doing so can they sit back and enjoy this film.
Despite its predictability, Namaste Wahala has some valuable lessons for those who find themselves in similar situations. Because the truth is, we may be of different skin colours but we are all one.
Like all movies, this one has its ups and downs. Let me get to the negatives first.
The meeting of Didi and Raj (the two lead characters) is the work of lazy writing in my opinion. It was a collision (literally, they bumped into each other) that could have easily been avoided. It felt forced and created in me a certain bias for the film in the early goings.
After their second meeting at an event, what the viewer is treated to is a vocal rendition (typical Bollywood style) with the lovers engaged in a full-blown romance. WTF!
Didi comes from a home where her domineering father (played by Nollywood veteran Richard Mofe-Damijo) wishes she could stop seeing what he calls her hobby as a job and become the daughter he expects her to be.
Raj is an only child; something that makes his mother (Sujata Sehgal) dote on him endlessly as she never gets tired of being the overprotective mother that she is.
Didi and Raj’s blossoming affair is frowned upon by Didi’s father and Raj’s mother.
RMD plays the disapproving father all too well. He wants his daughter to marry a man of his choosing and refuses to accept Raj because he is not Nigerian.
Sehgal is a joy to watch, perfectly portraying the suspicious Indian mother who worries that the unworthy Nigerian girl is stealing her beloved son from her.
These are all things we have seen before in many films. But one thing I like about Namaste Wahala is that the love story is spiced by an investigation into an assault case. This is something that reveals the other side of Didi, showing that she is not just a pretty face.
Osas Ighodaro (a well-known face in Nollywood) plays Preemo, Didi’s father’s company lawyer who obviously loathes Didi and always looks for every opportunity to verbally abuse her.
The rivalry between Didi and Preemo works well as I enjoyed the way it played out. Ighodaro uses her short screentime to her advantage, leaving a lasting impression.
Now, the scene where Ernest (Didi’s father) meets Raj was not well executed in my opinion. It clearly showed the former holding the drink he gulped in his mouth. It was hard for me to guess what he intended to do and when he actually spat on the floor on seeing Raj, I laughed in amusement.
There are some other lapses but they aren’t so significant to mention. Now, let’s get to the good parts.
Broda Shaggi’s cameo appearance is a much-needed balm as his banter with Raj’s mother is (to me) one of the best comic moments of the film. His character embodies the typical Lagos driver who is foul-mouthed and uncouth.
Even though the romance between Didi and Raj is rushed, the chemistry between the actors playing them is undeniable. I ended up rooting for them.
Ini Dima-Okojie made me forget my bias with her acting. She showed me that Didi is a powerful woman who doesn’t just conform to the whims of her overbearing father.
Joke Silva also shines as Didi’s mother. The scene where she clashes with Meera (Didi’s mum) was fun to watch. Though I feel she should have been more utilized, I’m happy to say she didn’t disappoint.
Ruslaan Mumtaz as Raj also impressed me. But then again, when have I ever not been impressed by a leading Indian?
The comic element works well, though it could have been toned down in a few scenes.
Conclusively, Namaste Wahala doesn’t bring anything new to the table. But using an age-old formula yet again isn’t all bad. Besides, it is meant to be an entertaining love story and it works well in that regard.