Bollywood is regarded as one of the largest movie makers in the world and its influence permeates the entire Asian world. For many years before the advent of Nollywood, the movie world in Nigeria was overshadowed by the dominance of the dance and song-filled Indian movies. However, an evangelical or gospel movie segment of Bollywood is never known the way we have the gospel side of Nollywood.
Interestingly, however, it can be confidently said this year that Nollywood have walked into Bollywood through the gospel angle. The Mount Zion Film Productions probably becomes the first Nigerian movie-makers to penetrate Bollywood with a gospel movie shot in New Delhi by a modest Nigerian crew, and starred entirely by Indian Christians. This has become a landmark project.
According to Evang. Mike Bamiloye, President of Mount Zion Film Productions, they were invited to an annual church conference in New Delhi in 2013, during which they caught the divine revelation from God about reaching the people of the land with an evangelical movie that would address the spiritual problems of the people.
Following this divine idea, a relevant inspiring script was written in Nigeria and sent to our partners in New Delhi for review and to fit into the relevant spiritual and social backgrounds of the people. The script was translated by Ashima Batra, a member of an India ministry, Shiloh Global Ministries Inc., who produced the movie. A team of script editors comprising Indian linguists later worked on the script to avoid religious or spiritual controversies. Then, some sessions of auditions were held for Christians and church members who came from different churches within the city of New Delhi.
Evang. Mike and Gloria Bamiloye had gone to the Asian country with their son: Damilola Mike-Bamiloye, who was also in charge of light and sounds, and the cameraman who shot the movie, and their daughter served on the film location as the continuity manager of the project. When they arrived in the city with all the modest filming gadgets – camera,tracks, lights and sound equipment, which all fitted into three fairly large bags, a three-day seminar/workshop on Christian drama and film production was held for all intending casts of the movie, which preceded the 10 days of intensive work on film locations within the city and the slums of New Delhi.
The casts of the movie comprised largely of adults and elderly people with more than six pastors drawn from many churches, all eager and expectant to feature in the first gospel movie in that part of the country.
According to Evang. Mike Bamiloye, the casts had never acted in drama or movies before, but God helped them to act with all their heart and soul. They were all very loving Indians and the slum used as a major location, though very uncomfortable with the strong heat and swarm of disturbing flies, the people living there were very gentle, accommodating and cooperative. Bamiloye said they shot both in the city and in the slum, and “ten days later we finished shooting the gospel movie, Rupantar!”
The movies stars Bobby Chellappan, Anjana Sigler, Neha Patel, Pranab Debnath and Shiv Kumar Jena.
He added that his drama mission trip to India and the successful making of the Hindi gospel movie has opened his eyes to another area of drama mission – “Reaching the unreached in their local tongues”. He said Mount Zion has made movies with Christians in the United States, and in Canada and “I have made movies with believers in Australia, however, those movies were made by Nigerians or Africans in those foreign nations. We ended up ministering only to our fellow Africans in those foreign lands.
“But, since the success of the Hindi gospel movie, which was acted by the Indians for the Indians, addressing the spiritual and common problems of the Indians, all my drama mission’s focus has changed suddenly: I do not have much interest in making movies in foreign lands, acted in English language by Africans anymore.
“Now, I am yearning to shoot gospel movies in Spanish language, acted by the Spanish Christians. I desire to be in China and make gospel movies for the Chinese believers acted by them for grassroots evangelism. I want to make movies in Swedish language acted by the Swedish. I want to create a grassroots implement of revival and evangelism in the form of gospel movies in Korean language for the Korean nations, the Cantonese language of the 60 million Cantonese in China, the Thai language of Thailand,” he said.
“We have successfully made an India movie in Hindi language, what of the over 90 million people who speak Punjabi language in India and the more than 200 million Indians who speak Bengali? In Asia, there are several other major languages that have never seen any gospel movie in their mother tongues, yet, they have churches and missionaries. That is my focus. That is my hunger and thirst. That is my dream. And that is my ministerial campaign.”