ARTS The man behind 'Muchaneta' drama:
FOR the past few months, drama lovers across the country have regained their trust in the local television courtesy of the local dramas that have been airing on ZBCTV, especially “Muchaneta”.
With a crop of talented actors and actresses, the drama has proved to be a darling of most households.
Most people that had lost interest in local television have been lured back by “Muchaneta” and lead actress of the drama Kessia Masona who plays Muchaneta mesmerises viewers with her stunts.
The confidence in local dramas that “Muchaneta” brought back seems to have been boosted by the coming in of another production titled “Muzita Rababa”.
And there is one man behind the two dramas, Nick Zemura. He is the writer and producer of the two productions.
This publication had a chat with the America-based producer who is currently in the country for the shooting of his dramas and he shared the secret behind the success of his productions.
“It’s simple, we just need to know the environment that we are living in and to tell you the truth the country is not yet in the mystery and science fiction era, so there is no point in coming up with a science fiction film or drama,” he said.
Zemura urged producers and writers to know what people want and deliver to them.
“People want something they can relate to. Give them what is happening in their societies. In Harare for instance, it does not matter whether they are from low or high density suburbs because most of those in the low density today grew up in the high density neighbourhood,” he said.
“I always laugh when I hear the weather report where the Meteorologi- cal Department tells people the weather in Dubai.
``I always ask, what is the point of telling people that because those few people in the country who travel to places like Dubai have phones that can give them the weather pattern of any particular country they want to travel? Give people something they can relate to.”
On selecting his cast, Zemura said he mostly do what is known as typecasting which involves getting people that have habits similar to their roles.
“That is what I did with `Muchaneta’. Look at Kessia who plays Muchaneta, naturally she is loud and that is what I wanted on that role. Sokostina who plays Tambudzai Josphat’s sister is a person who reacts well to situations making her the suitable character for that role.
``I did the same with Marwei while Bhaureni comes from a theatre background so he was good for that role again.
“It was only on Josphat that I did not do type casting, I just understood how good he was and let me say he is a brilliant actor,” he said.
On “Muzita Rababa” which has a cast that comprises mostly of prominent people including musicians and veteran actors, Zemura said he wrote the drama after having visited a number of local churches and learnt a lot from their activities.
“Some churches are doing good but what I discovered when I visited different churches is that in most cases those churches that are malfunctioning are a result of the congregants who start giving the leaders names like `Man of God’ when the title does not suit them.
He said he discovered that musicians also have acting talent hence including them on the project.
“I watched Jah Prayzah and Ammara’s video `Kure-Kure’ and I just saw that the two were good actors naturally and I approached them for the drama in which they both agreed but Jah Prayzah happened to be busy when the drama was due for shooting and that is when I opted for Mudiwahood who just proved to be perfect for the role of Jacob with his natural swag character,’’ he said.
Zemura said both the dramas will be showing on ZBCTV throughout 2017 and highlighted that another one will première this year.
The filmmaker said he had passion for film since he was young.
He started writing and performing while he was a student in Murehwa, at Gumbanjera Primary School.
His passion for film grew when he was at college and in the 1990s he approached several people in film and theatre in an attempt to join the industry professionally.
`’At that time, I think the industry was so closed that it was impossible to break in,” he said.
He later worked with Murehwa Theatre Works but his dream of breaking onto the mainstream industry could not be realised then.
`’It was difficult to explain to family members that this business was what I liked to do, although they were very supportive of my art, there was that voice of reason that said you must have plan A. So acting, writing, film-making, all forms of art became plan B.
“I kept pushing for the success of my plan B and today I am happy to be recognised as a filmmaker.”