Reviews & Profiles
Sekyaya replays Asian-Ugandan saga on screen
Posted Saturday, October 19 2013 at 01:00
The movie. The Ugandan is a feature film about Raman, an Indian survivor of Idi Amin’s regime. In this riveting story of lies, love and xenophobia, we get a peak into the legacy of Idi Amin’s Uganda and the challenges of inter-racial relationships. Edgar R. Batte sought out the man behind the making of this movie.
Who is Patrick Sekyaya?
I am a film director and also owner of Afri-Plus Films production house, a film making company.
Why did you choose “The Ugandan” as the title of your film and what is the film about?
Before coming up with The Ugandan, I had always thought of doing something for my country. I could tell a Ugandan story and that is how I came up with The Ugandan.
The film is about the life of Indians in the period after President Idi Amin. It is about the way we relate with them as Ugandans of Indian origin. I am looking at a story which is uniting for Ugandans despite the racial differences.
What genre is it and can you give us a brief plot of the movie?
It is a love drama. It is about an Indian called Raman, whose father was thrown out of Uganda during President Amin’s era. Raman returns to claim his father’s property, only to find some of it is occupied by a girl called Melissa, a Ugandan by descent.
Coincidentally Raman has a daughter, Sonia, who is in love with Simon, Melissa’s son. Sonia gets pregnant with Simon’s child so Raman has no option but to allow his daughter marry a man whose mother ‘grabbed’ his property! You will discover the paradox when you watch the movie.
Who did the casting of this movie?
I did the casting and it was in Uganda at the National Theatre. I also worked with the association of Indians in Uganda. In there are common faces like singer Halima Namakula and former Miss Uganda Dora Mwima.
Who is the script writer of this film?
I did it with my German mentor, who helped me write the story.
In what locations did you shoot the movie?
In Jinja, Luzira prison, along Kampala streets and in Buziga.
Who shot it?
It was shot by Arif Lalani. He is an Asian.
Oh he has recently acquired a Red Eye, is it the one you used to shoot?
No we used a 5D camera which also shoots in 3D.
For how long did you shoot?
We shot for three months but it took about eight months to be edited.
Who edited for you?
Alvin Kasule. He is my colleague in the US. He also partly did the producing. We co-funded this movie project.
What was the budget of the movie?
It is about US $27,000 (about Shs70 million).
What was it like shooting ‘The Ugandan’ and what lessons did you take from the making of this movie?
Working on the movie helped me meet a lot of people. We thought Asians love to work alone but I was surprised there was good cooperation during the rehearsals. As the groups started out working on the project there was a lot of tension and in fact at some point I opened up and told the actors to try as much as possible to spend time together and relax. It worked wonders because both sides realised they could mingle and make jokes. This made the work a lot easier.
Are you a film maker who is motivated by profits or telling stories?
I did this movie because I am telling a story to people. I am not looking at profits because they are not there. I do film because I want people to appreciate how I tell my story.