Singer Jose Chameleone is a drug lord in new Shs2.5bn film

POLLY KAMUKAMA

It has already become a hit in Asia and the Middle East following its initial release there.

And now, Luzira: Escape from Uganda, the $1m (about Shs 2.5bn) budget film that was entirely shot in Uganda and features an all-star cast from both Uganda and India, is finally coming home.

A behind-the-scenes photo shows the film's lead character preparing to be hanged.

A behind-the-scenes photo shows the film’s lead character preparing to be hanged.

The action thriller will premiere at Serena Hotel in Kampala on November 7, after which it will embark on an extensive theatrical tour across the city starting with Century Cinemax on November 8.

Directed by Rajesh Nair, a 36-year-old Indian filmmaker who has lived a great deal of his life in Uganda, the film is inspired by a true story of a young Indian family who found themselves entangled in a double murder plot while residing in Kampala.

It casts award-winning Indian actress and former beauty queen, Rima Kallingal, in the lead role as the housewife and mother who is wrongfully accused of murdering two people and is subsequently sent to Luzira prison.

Veteran actor Micheal Wawuyo Sr and singer Jose Chameleone feature prominently on the film's promotional poster.

Veteran actor Micheal Wawuyo Sr and singer Jose Chameleone feature prominently on the film’s promotional poster.

Another Indian star, known simply as Parthieban, plays the role of a loving husband and father who engineers a suicidal plan to help his wife escape from the maximum security prison.

The film, penned by three eminent Indian screenwriters who together call themselves the 3G, also features an array of celebrated Ugandan actors including Micheal Wawuyo Sr, Sam Bagenda and Wilberforce Mutete.

Miss Uganda patron, Brenda Nanyonjo, martial artist, Carlos Ombonya, and beauty queen and TV host, Anita Kyarimpa Fabiola also make an appearance.

Another behind-the-scenes picture shows Police raiding a palatial home belonging to a notorious drug lord, played by singer Jose Chameleone.

Another behind-the-scenes picture shows Police raiding a palatial home belonging to a notorious drug lord, played by singer Jose Chameleone.

But it is singer Jose Chameleone who will surprise the audience despite only playing a cameo role.

The Wale Wale star does not feature in the film’s original version that was released November last year in Asia under the title, Escape from Uganda.

Producers however felt compelled to fix him in the film’s Ugandan version that is set for premiere next month.

The action-packed thriller is stars 30-year-old award-winning Indian actress and former beauty queen, Rima Kallingal, seen here posing with a Ugandan fan at the film's wrap-up party held in Kampala last year.

The action-packed thriller is stars 30-year-old award-winning Indian actress and former beauty queen, Rima Kallingal, seen here posing with a Ugandan fan at the film’s wrap-up party held in Kampala last year.

“We wanted to bring a high degree of Uganda flavor to the film so as to be able to engage the local audience more keenly,” the film’s producer, Girisch Nair, said of his decision to give one of Africa’s finest musicians his first acting gig.

But the move, which will no doubt sell the film given the singer’s huge fan base, came at an extra cost considering that new scenes had to be shot and the film had to be reedited.

Girisch, whose film production company, River Nile Motion Pictures (RNMP) Ltd, has branches in both Uganda and India, is however confident Luzira will make enough profits to clear all the overdrafts.

The embattled Indian couple is seen trying to flee the country by boarding a ship in this behind-the-scenes picture.

The embattled Indian couple is seen trying to flee the country by boarding a ship in this behind-the-scenes picture.

Meanwhile, the singer, who together with his colleague Irene Namubiru lent their vocals to the film’s soundtrack, has taken to social media to share his excitement at having appeared in a film for the first time in his life.

In an October 10 Facebook post, the Tubonge crooner revealed that he is playing the character of Don Dada, a ruthless chain-smoking drug lord and source of suffering for the Indian family.

In the film’s new trailer, uploaded on YouTube yesterday, Dada appears animated as he sits in a casino discussing business with another man, cigarette in hand.

The one-minute fifty-second clip also offers some insights into the film’s high production value with scenes featuring breathtaking scenery, high-speed car chases, shootouts and bloody fist fights.

It took two good months for a team of over 100 cast and crew members to shoot the English language film across 60 locations in Jinja, Kampala and Entebbe.

Hi-tech filming equipment worth five tons also had to be flown in from India, but whether all this glitz was worthwhile remains to be seen at the premiere.

We will update on ticket bookings.

kamukamapolly@gmail.com

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