I finally got a chance to have a sit down with two of Kenya’s fast-rising stars in the film industry, thespians ‘Bella’ and ‘Jamal’, courtesy of KTN Home’s hit series Kalimani Dynasty.
Making their debut media tour following the success of their first season, Bella –real name Georgia Lenny and Aman Birgi alias Jamal, they exuded confidence and projected their star power in striking humility as we had a conversation at Standard Group Headquarters, Mombasa Road.
“I come from a very artistic family; my brothers are also into the arts. We acted in church and after High School I joined a theatre group,” started Bella a she gave an account of how she landed the role that has made her a darling in Kalimani Dynasty.
She plays a teenager struggling to find a footing in a family that views her as the black sheep; sandwiched between personal struggles and a strained father-daughter relationship. A sweet twist in the plot that is dripping juice with a premise of power, wealth, friendship, love and betrayal.
“For one reason or the other her father doesn’t like her very much. Ever since she was a child, she noticed that he preferred her older sister. So, she rebels; but all this is a cry for attention because every time he reprimands her, she translates that that as affection. She can never measure up to her sister,” she added.
“What is difficult fitting into the rather ‘difficult, swingy’ character?” I asked.
“As I read the script, I realized that she gets her drive from her pain considering that her father prefers her older sister over her. That was my central point about Bella; the way she walks talks and dresses. The makeup she wears is different from everybody else’s in the show.”
Sharing her Season One experience, Bella noted that it was a fulfilling journey that ticked many boxes in her career, love for the craft and opened a new world of immense possibilities as the show progresses.
“There are a lot of people who identify with this character and I had so much fun with it. I had a lot of scenes to shoot and had a great time. But at the end of the day; I am living my dream... Season two is bigger and better. The story itself has evolved. I am not going to spill any juice, but, the story is going to be worth your time,” concluded Bella.
For Jamal, the no-nonsense pony-tailed lawyer in the show, the Kalimani Dynasty switch after a lengthy spell in Canada was a much welcome learning curve that breathed freshness into a path he had never taken before.
“The process of how to learn lines, emote in front of the camera and being able to do that in front of people was new for me. It has been a great learning experience,” said Jamal.
“I was and still am a bit of an introvert, I have over the years pushed myself out. The law stuff, I had zero experience. I had to research on lawyers. For instance, I had to watch movies of them on how they carry themselves and interact. It was scary, fun and exciting,” added Jamal.
Jamal pointed out that as an artist, he is happy with the growth and glad that KTN Home had taken up the show for a second season.
“I am glad Season One is over because it was so nerve wrecking as a new actor. The break between that and Season Two I got to work on stuff and got more confident in certain areas… For Season Two from Jamal expect more intensity and less of the silly playfulness and definitely character growth.
“We have scenes in court; more emotion, anger and heartbreak. I am hoping more people will connect more. If they liked and enjoyed the likeness of my character in Season One, I am hoping that they will still love it after I have grown and a bit invested in it.”
He noted that his father was his biggest fan and records all his shows.
“He doesn’t really compliment me expressively but when I hear my voice on his TV because he has recorded and is replaying it, it makes me proud; you can’t ask for more,” added Jamal.
Oozing optimism and impregnable respect for the fans who tune in every Saturday at 7: 30 pm, Jamal extended his hand to those who have resonated with either character in the show.
“Thank you for watching the show and supporting us. I hope you get some inspiration from the show. I hope you found someone that resonated, excited and inspired you in any way, big or small,” said Jamal.