As much as Nigerians love Nollywood and their movies, parents are becoming steadily wary of the prominence being given to immorality through X-rated films lately. In this report, RUTH CHOJI examines the place of regulating and censorship agencies in sanitising the industry.
Having become the second largest film industry in the world, most viewers are of the opinion that Nollywood movies would have risen beyond a certain level of immorality and barbarism that could be considered averagely above board. They are daily descending into immorality that is polluting the mind of young audience who are the majority viewers.
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Nigeria, nay Africa in general, value the issue of morality because it is embedded in their socio-cultural lives and this includes norms, values, taboos and beliefs. Juliet Chinasa, an actress who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday on immorality in Nigerian movies, stated that, “the world has changed and people are more interested in explicit content.
They want to see beautiful women with beautiful bodies. Ours is still better because we don’t make love in movies or parade our nakedness. We just wear skimpy dresses and kiss once in a while. This does not mean we are immoral. After all, these things actually happen in secret, even the children know most of the things they see. It is up to parents to control what their children watch, ours is to entertain.”
Another aspiring actor who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday is Anita Daniel and she said, “yes I want to be a star but I won’t expose my body to make it in Nollywood. Those who do it are desperadoes. It is against our beliefs and culture. In fact, my father will kill me if he sees me parading naked in films. He doesn’t even like Nigerian movies because of what he sees on TV. I won’t give him reason to ban me from acting.”
Evangelist Peter Ali, who has produced two Christian movies stated that, “immorality in movies was what pushed me to the industry. I don’t like what I see in our secular films and I feel this is one way I can propagate the word of God. The youths need to know that you can watch a movie and enjoy it without learning bad things. The power of television has brought a lot of changes, some for good and some for bad and it is worse in the lives of the teenagers.
I don’t like it when I see our movie actors act Nud£ or half naked, smoke w£ed and also portray some funny behaviours; children watch and pick these habits. A director does not have to use such things to make his film sell. So, when you talk of censorship, it must start with self; that is the director himself must know what is right and wrong, what the society expects from him and what he will like to see his children watch and learn.
There must be a desire to do the right thing without debasing or lowering the taste of the films. Movies to me are supposed to be channels of promoting societal values and norms. Most of these directors allow such things because they want to sell their movies. But it is not all about the money. If you notice, you will see that young people now believe in getting rich quick or die trying because that is what they see on TV. Another problem is that the actors themselves love wearing such clothes. On most sets, the producer and director don’t have a say over what the actors wear because theycdon’t have money to buy the kind of clothes they would want them to wear and so, they overlook such things.
What I believe is that films are meant to educate, socialise and play a theRap£utic role in the lives of the audience. Unfortunately, that is not the norm today as most of our movies are based on S£x, violence, fetishism, occultism, voodoo, prostitution, sibling rivalry, evils of polygamy, devilish spiritualism and rituals or juju, black magic, sorcery, ritual murder, witchcraft, obscenity, kidnapping and money worship. It is wrong and the producers must stop it. They have the final say because if they don’t produce movies, the actor won’t become an actor. They should be the first censors before the actual censors board can come to play.”
Also speaking on the issue, a lecturer of mass communication, Abdullahi Garba also stated, “I am also worried over the content of our local movies.