Muigwithania: A Kenyan feature film

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May 21, 2010 – When renowned actor Giancarlo Esposito was in Kenya for the Film Festival some months back he was disappointed that there were no Kenyan films about Kenya.

It was always one story or the other, mostly depicting Kenyan lifestyles, but nothing really on who and what we are as a peoples of this nation.

In comes Muigwithania (Gikuyu for Reconciliation), where writer, director Amit Tyagi who has done vast research on the Mau Mau uprising, crafts what life was like in 1954.

In the thick of the Mau Mau confrontations with the Queen’s Army, Tyagi explores what it may have been for an Asian businessman, Kenyan by birth, who finds himself in the path of a Mau Mau General Rashid (played by Tony Njuguna).

The cast is mixed with novices and veterans, in a plot that portrays the confusion, patriotism, fear and risks that were part of Kenya’s struggle for independence.

Wide Angle Visions Limited, a media production company, forked out Sh15 million to shoot and produce the movie, mainly at a location in Kabete.

Mehul Savani, of Wide Angle, who also plays Mr Patel in the flick, says the greatest challenge they faced was looking for the money and now, marketing it in such a way that will ensure they get their money back.

“We’ve put a lot of effort in this movie. We have worked on quality, and the DVD will be out in a few months. We are also looking at in-flight entertainment. Let’s also not forget that there will be a nationwide release of the film on may 28.”

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Organisers say the release date significantly comes just a few days before Madaraka Day on June 1.

After a launch in Nairobi, Mehul says the film will be introduced to audiences in Kisumu and Mombasa.

Journalists were treated to an exclusive premier and here is my take: all in all it’s a film well done.

It gives an interesting look at life going on despite the Mau uprising and what it meant to people living in Kenya – locals and foreigners.

The dialogue could be tweaked and the film starts a bit slow but manages to grip at just the right moment.

In the meantime, I have been repeating the name Muigwithania so much while talking about it; I think I have the pronunciation just right

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