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Drama series set to change times on TV

REAL TALK
By | April 23rd 2010

By George Orido

A fresh entertainment menu has been added to the local TV menu following the introduction of two exciting programmes on KTN. Mheshimiwa and Changing Times went on air last Monday and Tuesday at 7.30pm to a good reception from viewers.

Written by young screen writer Jennifer Gatero, Mheshimiwa is a comedy series for general exhibition meant to satirise the political antics of Mheshimiwa Kabaila (Joel Otukho), who is a prototype of the new political breed. Mheshimiwa’s entry into politics is through the euphoria that grips a country during the elections. His party of choice is popular at the time and he is elected in political office by virtue of this without regard to his leadership attributes.

His popularity at the grassroots only stems from the fact that teachers in the rural setting are a revered by parents and students. Mheshimiwa leaves his rural and backward constituency to move into the city for the swearing in ceremony at the Parliament buildings accompanied by his wife Mheshimiwa Magdalina Kabaila (Carol Kipsuto), who has hastily resigned as a nursery school teacher.

His life from then on is a comical progression from a bumpkin into the know-it-all-politician who is always waiting for the elusive assistant minister docket.

With the elevation of being an MP’s wife, her ambitions have gone haywire and her finger is on almost everything her husband does. In this nerve riveting series, each episode tackles a new issue on the political scene in Kenya.

Fresh talent

These range from scandals of national magnitude to the outrageous utterances during funerals and harambees at weekends. The cast is talented, mainly fresh artistes from school and college, but with astonishing understanding of character

"We work with new artistes because we grow new talent," explains Mike Ndetei, KTN Production Manager. He says the production house and broadcaster chose to work with these two stories for the sheer amount of technical quality, including sound, pictures and editing. And true to his words, Philip Bresen, a self-taught cinematographer with vast experience in local TV productions and M-Net, has proven his ability to bring international picture quality through the high definition camera.

Hot on Mheshimiwa’s heels is the English series Changing Times, also written by Jennifer who also wrote the first KTN local TV and critically acclaimed series, Better Days.

Based on a family situation, Changing Times is a drama about a powerful multinational and the man behind its success. Mr Kanyi, a brilliant businessman and a loving father, has got where he is by being discerning and perceptive. But in an uncharacteristic error of judgment he gets involved with the wrong people.

The first is Elizabeth, 20 years his junior, the woman he marries after his wife leaves him. The other is Yusuf Ali, an Arab man who deals in illegal arm trade.

He is blessed with 19-year-old twins, Sean and Rita. The series also revolves around their life in college. It portrays college life where the twins study — from bad relationships to love, life and changing heartbreaks.

"It’s a series that is ultimately about love, relationships and family. It has something for everyone including the kid, the teen and parents," says Jennifer who studied her filmmaking at the Mohamed Amin Foundation.

Cast

Changing Times will anchor its acting strength on the veteran actress Nice Githinji, who appears alongside a galaxy of fresh talent.

Among them is Kevin Ndege, 22, acting as Kanyi, the son of a very rich businessman. This is his debut TV performance.

"I think this is an awesome production to be associated with," remarks the animation and graphic design student at the University of Nairobi.

His age-mate and co-actor Grace Njeri (Edna) is pursuing a degree course in tourism management and marketing at Moi University, Eldoret. Grace is remembered for winning the Best Actress award in three consecutive National Schools and Colleges Drama festivals. As a musician Duncan Nyamori appearing as Alfayo in Mheshimiwa finds comedy a challenging but interesting task.

"I will take this opportunity to marry comedy with music and give my fans a truly exotic blend of entertainment," says Nyamori, who has released an album with his brother.

Mheshimiwa and Changing Times join the growing number of local productions on Kenyan TV. And they will sure give Tahidi High, Higher Learning, Papa Shirandula, among others, a run for their money.

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