By Ali Baylay
A Venus Film productions.Starring: Van Vicker, Jackie Appiah, Kofi Adjorlolo, Kalsoume Sinare, Rama Brew, Gavivina Tamakloe, Yvonne Nelson; Editor: Dapo Ola Daniels; Assistant Producer: Ali Samba; Producer: Abdul Salam Mumuni; Executive Producer: Abdul Salam Mumuni; Director: Frank Rajah Arase. 150 mins.
The princely cast of Gollywood’s finest really do an excellent performance here, to boot, and in fact this movie got me sold to Gollywood movies. As you can see, I’ve been all about Nollywood, but since I discovered Tears of Womanhood, a Gollywood classic, I believe good movies do come from Ghana’s woods, such as Princess Tyra. With its fairy tale nature, this movie will take you to a fairyland where stories like Cinderella may seem a joke.
Princess Tyra is not our typical royalty versus peasant kind narrative; it is a kind of story about a royalty kicking against the mores of a palace, in exchange for the common life. Your guess is good as mine where such kingdom exists in our part of Africa, but this prince sure looks like a future king of Morocco than the true negroid prince of lower Sudan.
I did not have the patience to sit through part 3 of this movie, ’cause I live in the first world and no one movie will put my life on hold for three hours straight. Princess Tyra is a good movie though, one of its kind coming from Africa today. Imagine, two royal families promised each other a child in marriage so both kingdoms could cement relationships. It turns out Prince Kay (Van Vicker) has turned liberal, scorning everything royal in exchange for common life. He doesn’t believe that in this ” 21st century people still indulge in those barbaric rites”, he queried at one point. At the other end of this tangent, is a saucy, spoiled brat, Princess Tyra (Yvonne Nelson), who can put on hold the hustle and bustle of a supermarket, just so she can buy an item or two.
Prince Kay is turned off by Princess Tyra’s stringent royal tradition and principles, who declares that, “the wishes of mortals the gods command.” And she has frequent outbursts with not a dint of romance in it. He, runs from a princess, “who’ll not have my peace”, he laments. But for Princess Tyra, “Where thunder and lightning strikes birds don’t fly”, she boasts of destroying whoever stands between her and her desire for the prince, because, “vengeance of a woman is like a burning bush”.
In the middle of it all is a common maid, Maafia (Jackie Appiah) who massages the prince’s feet in a rite once and later in a queer bathroom incident, falls under the romantic radar of the prince. We did not see the two (prince and maid) mate, but not long after the maid’s mother dies of asthma attack, Maafia leaves Ilugbo Kingdom in search of Prince Kay to report her pregnancy to him but instead meets the prince’s mother, the Queen, and reports her pregnancy. The Queen doesn’t handle this news well.
The story gets sticky when writer employs another plot and character, Ashley to merely resemble Maafia and gets Ashley pregnant by the prince , and both by bizzare plot twist, meet side by side in a hospital. Camera and edit can pull all kinds of tricks but this Maafia look alike coming into the story sure put a damper and unbelievable feeling to the story. I marvel the fact that writer created a three dimensional character for Jackie Appiah’s role (maid, Ashley, Maafia) , only that in narrating such a wonderful fairy tale, story and character have to be linear in nature, or not even Cinderella could have survived as a timeless tale with such muddled plots. Prince Kay would have gone on pulling all the stops to get to his one and only Cinderella, rather than easily fall for a look alike and gets her pregnant too.