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‘Mothers and Daughters-in-law should give each other chance, for peace to reign’

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Kehinde Olorunyomi and husband, Adewunmi Odukoya

Kehinde Olorunyomi is an award-winning screenwriter, actor and director. She has worked with notable people in the industry and was the writer for the Switzerland- Nigeria collaboration film Joshua about illegal immigration. Kehinde and her husband, Adewunmi Odukoya, who is also a film-maker and producer, have recently premiered their new movie titled Mothers And Daughters In-law at The Palms Cinema in Lekki, Lagos, and billed for nationwide view from June 7 at the cinema. In this interview with

MARIA DIAMOND, Kehinde and her husband talked about the issues between mothers and daughters-in-law and how these issues can be resolved.

Kehinde, tell us the ideology behind the play and its thematic preoccupation?
I HAD the inspiration to write the play about five years ago after hearing and gathering stories from women who have challenges with their mothers in-law and how some of these issues between them crashes the home, so I decided to come up with a play that would somewhat correct these problems, a play that would depict the importance of patience and how it can abate certain issues and make the relationship between both women better than anticipated.

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What message is the movie driving home?
Basically, the message is to give each other a chance and space for peace to reign. Everyone is not the same, so don’t expect the other person to be you, hence the need for patience and tolerance with the understanding that the other woman’s background is different from yours.

What’s your overview of the Nigerian mother in-law?
The story is based on the typical Nigerian mother-in-law and the perception varies, but 70 per cent of daughters and mother- in-laws disagree.

The mother-in-law should not forget that a woman’s place is in her husband’s house, and so it is important for them to allow their daughters in-law run their own homes, and if there is need to correct or advice, they should do it lovingly to avoid being the cause of misunderstandings between the couple.

Do you think it’s ideal for mothers and daughters in-law to live together for a long time?
If it were up to me, I don’t think it is ideal, because space gives respect and familiarity brings contempt, I think it’s better and safer for mothers in-law to simply visit briefly and go back to their homes in order to maintain their dignity and respect.

Why do daughters-in-law find it difficult to tolerate their in-law but have no issue with their own mothers?
I think it’s easier to be yourself with your own mother and let out all your flaws and shortcomings without feeling threatened in your home.

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Your mother deals and relates with you the way you are because she is your mother and she loves you even when you’re not in your best mood or behaviour. She understands and doesn’t get offended, complain or make a big deal of your mistakes. But you can’t do that with your mother in-law, because you’re not her biological child, she doesn’t have the same unconditional love and affection your mother has for you, so she expects you to be perfect and treat her as a demi-god, anything otherwise would lead to serious issues.

How long did it take you to put the movie together?
The plan was to do a series but my husband suggested we do a movie first, see how it flies before the series so that didn’t take too long, just took three months for the shooting, scripting and editing.

Have you done any other movie before this one?
Yes, we’ve had two other movies in the cinema, The Novelist and Couples Award, and they came out great. We have produced other films that didn’t go to the cinema but are widely watched. So basically this is the 8th film we have produced.

What are your expectations from your audience?
It is our hope that people would enjoy the movie and learn one or two lessons from it.

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Adewunmi, tell us about the thematic preoccupation of the movie Mothers And Daughters In-law and the role of the stakeholders generally?
It is a topic that people try to shy away from but in the real sense, 85 per cent of mothers and daughters in-law don’t get along. So the preoccupation is to bring all these issues together, come to a resolution and have people learn from them.

Women naturally don’t really get along, whether related or not, friends, sisters, colleagues, only a few get along well.

Women need to understand that when you get married, your husband is actually your mother’s first love, while the mother in-law also needs to understand that her beloved son now has a new love and life partner. But the failure to understand who is who and what to the man, is why there is friction. So as a man it is always hard to fully understand the situation and can only manage it.

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From the male perspective, how do you think you can strike a balance between mothers and daughters in-law?
The major problem is the tussle about position on who have more right over the man. So for a man, you play safe when you stay neutral, you appeal to your wife and at the same time go behind and appeal to your mother for peace.
What are the moral lessons of the movie?

The need for both women to have a common goal of peace, try as much as possible to get along with each other. Mothers-in-law should give their daughters-in-law a chance to love their husbands and enjoy their home.

Would you say it’s safer for a man to marry a woman chosen by his mother for peace?
Love and marriage is a personal thing, it is not who people choose for you, but the person your heart desires. And I don’t think that would work either because it would get to a time when she still wouldn’t get along with the woman she chose for you, something would always go wrong. So it’s about giving each other a chance.

The movie portrays different women with different scenario and how each of them finds a way around the hurdles.

What were the criteria for selecting your characters?
It wasn’t easy picking the best person to play each character, but eventually we found the best actor for each character and it turned out great as though the writer had the actors in mind when writing the play.


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