Producer: Kunle Afolayan
Director: Kunle Afolayan
Cast: Kunle Afolayan, Kate Henshaw, Fathia Balogun, Darimise Afolayan, Toyin Oshinaike
Every once in a while there is a scary story out there that forces us to think of the value of life, our purpose on earth and if it is ever possible to get another chance at life after death. How do we define death, or even life, and then life after death? Life is tricky and films are created to sometimes, give us a better view on life, on hope, and on our values. Roti attempts to give us an answer on some of these questions.
Kunle Afolayan has established a career for himself by tackling unconventional stories. In “Roti” he continues this, Kunle focuses on the possibility of life after death, and the devastation is Kate Henshaw’s to perform and she does a spectacular job of it.
Roti focuses on Kabiru (Kunle Afolayan) and Diana Shittu (Kate Henshaw) they have been married for ten years, and within those years, they have had to endure miscarriages. Eventually, they have Durotimi, who develops a complicated heart issue and dies. This is a setback for the family. Years of miscarriage and now a dead child is not what they expect or have prayed for. To complicate matters, they are unable to have another biological child. When Dianna spots young Juwon, she is convinced that Kabiru’s mother’s promise of the return of her child has happened. Juwon looks exactly like her dead son, and she believes that her dead son is back. She buys him gifts and tries to win the child. Unfortunately, bigger problems await the heartbroken Dianna.
For a Kunle Afolayan film, Roti is good. The story is of pain, and because stories on pain and loss play well with the brain, Roti does too. We enjoy the story but there are a few plot holes. There are moments we question some of the actors, or the decision for some of the extended dialogue, it also finishes unexpectedly, which is what Kunle Afolayan always does but this time, the ending leaves us with very little to think about. For many reasons, my expectations of “Roti” were exceptionally high and I was impressed, but not as impressed as I expected I will be. I just needed the story to stretch and hit its point more concretely. These are the types of films that should be memorable, but for Kunle Afolayan, Roti might not hit home for many because of the loopholes that exist in making the film.
The magic of this story is in its acting. Kate Henshaw is fruitful, and because she plays Diana, you will cry all through the film. For Kate, playing a heartbroken woman is not new; we have come to know her as that actress. With “Roti” she makes a well needed comeback to the cinemas, one that directors should not ignore. Fathia Balogun who plays the mother to Juwon gives us good humor and we love her for it.
There is no Kunle Afolayan film with bad picture quality and in Roti, we have a picture perfect work. Crisp picture and wonderful sound makes the journey enjoyable. Images that communicated pain and anxiety played a major role in the documentation of this film. Yinka Edward understands his camera and he does a good job of using it to create enjoyable images that not only make the story memorable, but remind us of the importance of the story.
Roti earns a 7/10