Results, not processes are usually celebrated. Rather, I should say that the ugly process of a project is only appreciated after it has birthed a beautiful result. This is the case of the widely acclaimed latest Nollywood movie titled Jagun Jagun whose praise has not and is not about to leave the lips of proud Nigerians anytime soon. Produced by Nollywood veteran Femi Adebayo, Jagun Jagun was officially released on Netflix and has ever since, got every Nigerian who has seen it, drooling in awe, glued to their screens. I, for one, have seen it over six times and I am not even tired! There are a million and one reasons to appreciate this project. But, what if Jagun Jagun never happened? Let’s take a stroll through three painful reasons why you may not have seen Jagun Jagun.
You probably already speculated that this would be the number one reason why this movie may not have been a reality. As an average Nigerian who dares to dream, it is unfortunately common to all of us that money usually tops the list of why our dead dreams are dead, and many would-have-been success stories today are not even stories yet, talk less of successful. Thankfully, this is not the case with Jagun Jagun.
Femi Adebayo, the producer of this movie, expressed the heavy weight that this project put on him money wise. He acknowledged that a huge amount of money, which he refused to disclose for security purposes went into the project. In an interview with popular TV show Your View on TVC, on the 18th of August, 2023, he announced that he and his crew exceeded their budget while production was still ongoing. He explained how he had to sell some of his properties after considering taking a loan from the bank, which he eventually did not concede to. He gave little detail about how they had to spend hugely on feeding, security and transportation of the cast while shooting, how the cost of fuel was a bit more bearable when the production started and how it hiked to worse conditions along the way. He further explained that he almost paused the project because of these dues before he eventually resorted to selling his properties.
This success story would be incomplete without Adebayo’s addition that since after the eventual success of the movie, he has gained about three times the money he invested into this project today, and still counting, even though he still insisted on not disclosing the exact amount, as Nigerian wey im be.
2. We may not have gbo (heard) about Gbotija!
As much as the camera shows us the beauty of skill and expertise expressed by actors, it hides the pains and perseverance they had to go through to bring us such bliss, from us. This is the case with the star actor Lateef Adedimeji who played the role of Gbotija in Jagun Jagun. The young man broke his limb while production was ongoing.
The producer, Femi Adebayo announced in an interview with TVC that actors and choreographers had begun training for about 3 months before the unfortunate incident. While walking through a thick bush and filming was ongoing, Lateef Adedimeji took an innocent step and immediately broke his leg. This occurrence almost broke the spirit of Lateef too as he narrated how much work he had put into preparing for such a big project. He claims on one of his Instagram posts that the Jagun Jagun project was one that took him out of his “comfort zone.” Therefore, it was painfully impossible for him to allow his broken leg steal his role in the movie from him. He had given it all it took and he was not going to back out.
Femi Adebayo, Lateef Adedimeji himself and his wife, Bimpe Adedimeji who was also with him on set the day the accident happened, shared on their Instagram pages pictures and videos of the painful process of treatment that Lateef went through as he was determined determined go on with the project. Seeing how beautiful the result from his role is in the movie, one would never think he went through so much pain to bring it to life. The screen masks much more than we see.
3. Costuming was painful and costly!
I’m certain that one reason why you, reading this, are not an actor yet is because you cannot shave your head, change your hairstyle, wear braces, temporarily enhance one body part or the other. Trust me, you’re not alone. Me sef, I cannot. Of all the reviews I’ve seen and watched about the Jagun Jagun movie, almost nobody seems to be talking about the costliness of the costumes! In fact, the effects that the costumes gave in this movie are too sweet to be described. But again, the actors sacrificed much more than we know to produce these effects.
Let’s start with the fact that all the men that acted in this movie had their hair shaved! I mean, real-life-shine-bright-like-a-diamond gorimapa! The exotic hairstyle of Iroyinogunkiitan and outfit of Agemo (Bukunmi Oluwasina) looked heavy although she looked comfortable in them throughout, carrying her roles with high professionalism. The strained muscles of every warrior in the movie, also proved how heavy some of their weapons were.
The bloodshot eyes of Ogundiji, Gbotija, Gbogunmi and many injured and dead war victims in the movie were painfully achieved costumes. In an Instagram post, the head costumer of this project, Hakeem Effects described Lateef Adedimeji’s tears as “real tears” from creating the bloodshot, red eyes which he wore almost throughout the whole movie.
In summary, these tears, hurts and injuries hidden from the viewers of Jagun Jagun by their screens are a vital part of the success of the project, even though they posed stumbling blocks. Every single individual who was a part of this movie proved that indeed, without pain, there is no gain. Jagun Jagun has not only shown the strongly determined, skilled and persevering spirits of Nigerian actors, but has also shown the average Nigerian how much he is capable of, simply by trying and not giving up. Thankfully, the cast and crew of this huge project scaled through these three painful hurdles and many more to give us such beautiful blessing on our screens. What if they did not? I cannot even imagine it.