Nollywood vs Hollywood [Entry 45]

Indeed, there are still some elements of mediocrity in Nollywood contents but that’s not the focus of this article.

Over the years, I have listened to people tear down our movie industry; Nollywood with statements like: “It is so predictable, the exaggeration is way too much, there is over acting”. If only these critics would stop at these, it could pass the truth test but they don’t! They go ahead to explain why Hollywood is better sometimes giving the opposite of Nollywood weakness as the strength of Hollywood.

Years ago, the producer of Super Story; Wale Adenuga lamented about the influx of foreign soap operas into our local TV stations. He warned that our local content might be lost.

The foreign soap operas started from the days of “When you’re mine of the Paloma and Diego hall of fame”, it moved to several other Spanish soaps then the Philippines soaps. Later, the Korean soaps became a sensation then, the Telemundo and Zeeworld series took over.

Yours truly followed these trends but had a brain restructuring just before the telemundo craze. Having watched one or two series in each of the aforementioned foreign soap, I think the actual mediocrity is to believe these soaps are better.

The saying that a prophet is not honoured among his own is quite applicable to the criticism shown to Nollywood by a number of Nigerians. Our dear Funke Akindele had an epic reply for a critic who wondered why the character Jenifa in the soap opera with same name is still unable to speak English after many episodes. She replied that even Mr. Bean is still mute after many series.

Should we talk about the indestructible hero that always survives all the tactics of the villain? He jumps off cliffs and bridges and somehow manages to fight and win the bad guys yet that doesn’t fit into our definition of exaggeration.

How about India’s Bollywood where everyone on the street knows the love song composed by the groom for his bride and the Philippines soap operas where there is always hatred among siblings or inlaws.

Their soap operas also tend to portray the country of Philippine as a place where the birth of illegitimate children are normal; you discover that two former enemies later discovered that they are siblings. The fight for inheritance, the different social classes falling in love to the disagreement of the rich class is just a common theme of their contents.

Now, am I saying Nollywood isn’t guilty? Yes! She is. Am I saying Hollywood and the rest don’t have superb content? Yes, they do.

My point is that we shouldn’t run down our content which actively depicts our society using a foreign yardstick that actively depicts the society it portrays.

We would be fair if we weigh movies on a literary scale without foreign comparison because each country has a story to tell and how she tells it differs. Yes, sometimes wack, other times, superb.


This article was written by Debby Ajiboye; connect with her on IG here

66 thoughts on “Nollywood vs Hollywood [Entry 45]

  1. This is an amazing eye opener to readers like us on the need to not only hold unto what we have as ours but build what’s ours without comparison. There’s no need to Clare because there’s nothing to compare. Our contents differs. Thanks for remindimg us that if we can only bit take responsibility for our great soap operas, we will have a tower so high and beautiful to behold by everyone in the country and the world at large.

  2. There will be criticism no point of doubt. We just have to Value what we have without comparison. Many thanks for this insightful piece, you hit the nail on the head.

  3. Well said and perfectly drafted, We tend to give more preeminence and value to foreign movies not out-looking the fact that they tend to promote their own culture and believe system. Fine we may not be at the very top yet but if we accept and promote ours, it will definitely go a long way…

  4. excellent, i feel the narrative that has been told about nollywood should change, nollywood now has movies that are of worldclass quality, if you follow the trend lately, some Nigeria originated hollywood actors are now asking for roles in nollywood, nollywood movies are now on netflix, i believe nollywood will soon enter its golden age

  5. It’s quite an interesting piece. On a personal note however, I’ll say there is room for improvement. The Mexicans improved their art and their soaps are sought after today. Let’s improve on ours too. It doesn’t have to be about western influence or the likes.

  6. Very good write up this should open our eyes to things around us and encourage local content … Foreign soaps actually started from the Mexican soap opera “Rich also cry”, “Wild Rose” ,”No one but you”etc…..
    Let me say I was following the crowd by starting to follow Telemundo and Zee world. At a point I saw some silly and annoying thing in the plots and story line. I stopped watching n have not gone to watching. Am a proud follower of Nigerian series like “Jenifa’s Diary”,”The Johnsons”,”Jemeji”,”Hustle” and the list goes on… You can call me local, but I don’t care…. God bless this writer seriously👍.

  7. Very good write up and up to point but let’s be straight and not get carried away with appreciating what we have as its commonly preached. Have Nollywood themselves sat to correct those critics? Be reminded that Hollywood movies even after well presented are criticised only that the critics are minimal, Our Nigerian ladies prefer to watch Bollywood, Telemundo etc over Africa Magic Yoruba because they see glaring elements of likely truths in their storyline. I watch good movies really and don’t care where it’s produced.
    Am not a fan of Bollywood, Bollywood, Ghallywood or Hollywood and am neither criticising but let Bollywood work on their laziness am sorry to say. They are only after making the money out of it.

  8. Well said… most times we Nigerians neglect our own things because we feel its bad… and yarn for another instead putting hands together to make ours better. Good write up and nice eye opener. more grace and strengthen to do more and excel… thankyou

  9. We really ought to appreciate what we have at all times. Although criticism can help us improve our craft, it should, of necessity, be a constructive one so we don’t completely destroy a vehicle that showcases our culture to the world.

  10. This is amazing. You’ve just said what so many of us have not been able to.
    Criticism is inevitable because we all learn daily.
    Although before we compare ourselves to others, we should be very careful to know.

  11. Quite a piece there it’s true we should learn to value our nollywood more but I would say change is inevitable and even though am very selective with the Hollywood movies I watch I much say they run at a faster pace than our Nollywood and some of our Nollywood are learning to copy the Hollywood and we all know that it’s hard to do something as well and as good the inventor so my advice is if they will do it like the Hollywood they should try and strive to do it better than what they are doing now or nollywood should just go back to the roots and I mean olden days nigerian movies and do it well that way it will be appreciated both by the Hollywood and the Nollywood and it will also give our Nigerian youths a sense of belonging,in all NOLLYWOOD is doing a wonderful job but I believe they can do better.

  12. I’d always lampooned Nollywood for its over-dramatisation, and see no reason to change my view on the industry.
    Nevertheless, I absolutely agree, we should refrain from comparison, as each one has its peculiar strengths and weaknesses, which make them unique.


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