Looking For Baami, Review By Jane Obonomen

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Looking for Baami is a movie produced by Biodun Stephen, doubling as a director and Mary Njoku as an executive producer in the year 2019, featuring Bimbo Ademoya as Ajindeife, Femi Jacobs as Femi Osinowo, Bolaji Ogunmola as Sharon, Ajimobi Karen as Kodi, Constance Owoyomi as Chiamaka and a few other characters. The setting of the movie is Ibadan. Femi’s mother was an absentee character who was his confidant and who influenced his decisions, but only her voice was featured. There are a few scenes that are tear-provoking for the emotional audience and also rib-cracking for the general audience. If the tears hadn’t started forming in her Dad’s office where she looked him in the eye and challenged him or that night when she broke down in exhaustion afterward, it would flow at the scene where finally she gained acceptance.

As for the language of the play, it is a combination of both Yoruba and English. There is also the inclusion of colloquial or street parlance to spice up dialogue. This is mainly used by the main character to deliver her emotions effectively.

The movie depicts the humiliation a young girl faces for her innocent quest to be recognized by her father who is oblivious of her existence. In a world where social media can celebrate or defame you, the father is careful not to be preyed on by a desperate gold digger who wants to trend by sabotaging his new celebrity status. As Femi gains popularity in the technology business world, little does he know that his new attainment is about to bring to his doorstep the shock of his life; a baggage from his past, as his girlfriend defines it. Upon her exit from Earth, AJ’s mother presents to her a priceless gift; fatherhood.

The first scene shows a hawker of pap meeting up with a young boy and apologizing for her lateness. He pays her money for the unsold pap she has left which she shyly accepts. He gives her what looks like her first kiss which leads to a romance. Years later, he is a popular tech guru and has currently launched a new business app. He is on TV talking about how the company is a product of teamwork. Meanwhile, somewhere far away, a dying woman points him to her daughter as her father; something she has never done before.

In his office, he is alerted that he has an unscheduled visitor but he declines the meeting. Later his PA, Sharon, returns to tell him that his daughter is the visitor. He denies that possibility vehemently. Out of curiosity, he asks to see the camera footage of her visit. He sends it to his mother who is confused as well. The next day, she shows up again at his office. Femi’s PA meets her and is awed that her sophisticated boss could ever produce such an illiterate who can neither speak good English nor understand grammar, a girl so poor she doesn’t have a phone number on the excuse that it dropped in the pot of pap that morning when she was using the flashlight. Meanwhile, Femi thinks this is a scam move and that she wants to milk money out of him so he is determined not to give in. He detaches himself and tells his PA to fix it. Well, she does this to the best of her knowledge. She befriends AJ under a false name, Ada, with an agenda to pay her off. She tells her that her busy father has gone on a week’s trip but gifts her with an Android phone with some money. AJ happily receives them thinking they are from her Dad. In appreciation, AJ hails her in local parlance.

The next day, AJ shows up at the office but is denied entry from the gate. When she insists that she wants to see Aunty Ada, the security tells her that no one bears such name in the building. Sharon comes out of the office but hides when she sees AJ arguing with security. AJ feels betrayed that Ada is not Ada and that Femi Osinowo, her father, is in the building and didn’t travel. She then hands over the gifted money and phone to the security man to return to Ada. When Femi finds out that Sharon tried to pay AJ off, he is mad. Sharon then advises that he check with all his ex-es, just to be sure that no one had a child for him but Femi is still very sure that he could not have fathered such a grown-up like AJ.

The next day, AJ resumes at the gate of the office, fully armed with a stool and an umbrella, determined to meet her father. She does this for days until she finally sets her eyes on him. To her dismay, he orders security to “get her out of here”, but the security is no match for her. Soon, they involve the Police to arrest her. Passersby make a video and within minutes, it goes viral that a girl shouting, “Baami Baami”, claiming to be Femi Osinowo’s daughter was arrested. In the interrogation room, Ajinde’s first question to the officer is if it’s her father who authorised her arrest. She tells the police officer that when her mother announced that Femi Osinowo was her father, she didn’t believe it either. She goes on to say that the relationship her mother had with her father was romantic and all she wants right now is for her father to know her.

Femi is now in an awkward position of reaching out to as many ladies as possible that he has had an affair with, in the past. His mother is also doing her best to call former neighbours. At the police station, the officer encourages Femi to discuss with AJ just to see if a memory resonates. He walks into the room where she is and for the first time, they get a close look at each other, except Femi looks at her with disgust. Flashback is employed to tell the story as it happened; the actions that produced Ajindeife. A young woman, Abebi, hawks pap to her customer’s house but meets her grandson who receives the pap on the note that she will return later for payment. She does but is greeted again by the same lad, who introduces himself as Femi. He pays her and informs her that his grandma is not well. Femi who was lusting after her in the morning offers to see her off and from then on, their relationship starts. After a short while, Femi announces to Abebi that his grandma, whom the audience does not see throughout the movie, has fallen sick and they need to travel to the city. This is the same night he gives her N650 for her unsold pap and the pap he owes. Although he promises Abebi to return in two weeks, she is tearful as they hug. Flashback ends. Aj brings out the balance of the money Femi gave Abebi that night of his departure and Femi is stunned. This young lady is later to become Ajinde’s mother. He rises and demands a DNA.

Confident AJ who has never been pointed to any man by her mother to be her father, is ready for any form of confirmation required to checkmate her identity. In his conversation with his fiancé, Femi confirms that from her story, AJ is his daughter but he has not thought about what to do after the DNA. Surprisingly, she suggests that he pays her off, that after all, she’s an adult and he doesn’t owe her anything. She quickly adds that she is not willing to share him with any baggage that may ruin her “picture-perfect life” with him. An audience would have judged Chiamaka from her calmness to be a compassionate fellow. Anyway, Femi assures her of his love for her and his need for her support at this moment. They share a kiss that does not ignite a loving emotion from the audience.

In his office, he is ranting about social media referring to him as a ‘deadbeat dad’, when they hear a noise outside. It is Ajinde insisting on seeing her Baami. He warns her for the umpteenth time never to call him that and asks her to state her purpose of visit before he throws her out. Ajinde laughs hard and asks him for the genuine cause of his pain. She asks if it is the fact that she is not educated or not as fashionable as his PA. She is explicit about how she is equally embarrassed at the turn of events. She has been humiliated as well, she says, at the garage because she is claiming to be the daughter of a rich man. She wonders why she has to suffer this much, including an arrest, all because she wants to know the man her mother called her father. In her emotional outburst, she declares that she does not care anymore if he is her father or not and that the purpose of her visit is to know the result of the DNA. She then promises never to return as she stomps out melting the hearts of her challengers.

She fights back tears as she leaves the compound. At night, she let all the tears out in the comfort of her friend, Kodi. That same night, sleep eludes Femi as her voice keeps ringing in his ears. In the morning, he receives the result and Aj is confirmed to have his blood running through her. He is enraged as his life is about to change. At the garage, Aj receives a call that Baami is her father. She is happy that her claim is true but she doesn’t care about the outcome. Later, Femi’s PA visits the garage in search of Aj, and says her father sent her but Aj gives her no kind reception. She follows AJ to her house, but still, Aj insists that she does not need her Baami anymore and she never was interested in his money. When Sharon takes Aj’s feedback to him, Femi cannot believe that his daughter has no interest in seeing him. He eventually visits Aj by himself, since the rejected stone is now the chief cornerstone. He starts the conversation by asking her the meaning of her name. She explains that her name was influenced by the love his mother experienced with him. Femi retells how he met her, saying he got admission into the university after he left the village. His relationship with her mother is summarized under youthful exuberance.  He is sorry for everything and is willing to be her friend. He asks for a chance to make it up to her. She asks him if he can admit to the public that he is her father. Her eyes widen when he agrees. She lightens up when she hears that she has a grandma waiting to meet her. He confesses that fatherhood is strange to him but begs to be a Dad to her. She then asks if this means she can call him Baami. He sweetly says yes and at that moment, Aj bursts into tears as she leans on her father, probably provoking tears from the viewers too.