In 2018, Kunle Afolayan announced that he would not be releasing any new films in 2019. The making of a film demands a lot of funding and effort, and Kunle was not prepared to go through the many struggles of production. When the idea for Mokalik came, however, Kunle felt it was a project he could pull off with a minimal budget. The idea for Mokalik came to Kunle Afolayan the day he took an antique car to a mechanic workshop. He was inspired by the unique hustle of life that he observed there. In an interview with Punch magazine he said;
“I experienced something new and different at the mechanic’s workshop, and I thought that the world had to feel it too. I hadn’t been to a mechanic’s workshop in a long time, and when I got there, I discovered that it’s a new world. I saw things that inspired me and things that the world should see. An idea came up to make it into a film and I followed it.”Kunle Afolayan
Mokalik is a mild coming-of-age story about Ponmile. Ponmile is a small boy from a lower-middle-class background who discovers a new and fascinating world when he spends time as an apprentice in a mechanic village. The experience gives his young mind a new perspective on many things. He even falls in love with a local girl. The dialogue of the entire film is in Yoruba. Mokalik reflects the actual practice of sending a child to learn a vocation in addition to formal education. There are many dangers to the practice of apprenticeship, but Mokalik attempts to show the potential benefits it can have on a child’s upbringing. The film also gives a very human face to the life and character of Nigerian artisans.
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The cast of this film includes an interesting variety of characters. Damilola Ogunsi appears briefly as a pompous and talkative local man called Obama. Obama is that oversabi individual that you can find in almost every small community. In real life, Ogunsi is an albino actor popularly known as the “Gold Fish” on social media. The film also features Simi, the alternative R&B singer, and Tobi Bakre, a former Big Brother Naija housemate. Kunle felt that both were a good fit for the characters they were given, and since the film’s release in May this year, both Simi and Tobi have received many compliments on their acting. This was Simi’s first appearance in a feature film. Kunle Afolayan cast his nephew, Tooni Afolayan, as Ponmile.
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Even though Mokalik is a relatively low budget film, the video quality is crisp and the cinematography is impressive. Kunle Afolayan partnered with Canon to create Mokalik. He shot the film in the mechanic village where the idea first came to him, with a Canon EOS C300 Mark II. Canon hosted a private screening of the film in March before it was released in cinemas across the country. Most of the post-production of Mokalik was done in Nigeria, but colouring and grading were done abroad.
Mokalik is now available to watch on Netflix, along with some other popular films by Kunle like October 1, The CEO, Phone Swap, The Bridge, and The Figurine. Meanwhile, Kunle is preparing for his next film, Citation. Citation is a University drama about a woman dealing with sexual harassment from one of her lecturers.
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