Saturday, December 26, 2009

Manganya Strategises on Piracy

Comedian Michael Usi, aka Manganya, says he has put in place stringent anti-piracy mechanisms ahead of the release of his latest movie, ‘Living on Poison’.
‘Living on Poison’ is set to be premiered next month, August 1, at Comesa Hall in Blantyre- a development Usi describes as a life-time opportunity for Malawians to choose their favourite episodes for inclusion in the final product.
Usi says he has leant a bitter lesson from what happened to his ‘Dr. Manga’ film, which got into the wrong hands and is now out of his control. ‘Dr. Manga’ continues to be shown on various international Airlines, yet the talented comedian has got nothing to show for his talent and sweat contributed towards that acclaimed film.
This has prompted Usi to put in place stringent measures aimed at arresting piracy long before the release of ‘Living on Poison’.
“This time around, we have become cleverer in that we have put in place stringent measures aimed at preventing piracy. We are building from our experience with ‘Dr. Manga’ film; a lot of people got arrested because of pirating that film. This time, we have increased monitoring mechanisms and are ready to take those caught pirating to book,” said Usi.
A soft-spoken Usi, resting his right leg over the left in his office in Blantyre, promised that ‘Living on Poison’ would be a record breaker for Malawi, as he has become more and more inquisitive about human behaviour in the film.
“I have always been fascinated with human behaviour: why do people behave the way they do? This, and many more, forms the thesis of this film,” said Usi.
The yet-to-be-released ‘Living on Poison’ has episodes that tackle various real life experiences- a cheating husband, an inner political cycle that happens to be a lying lot in a bid to impress the President, and prisoners convicted on grounds of reformation, only to be turned “from criminals to beasts” because of the poor treatment they get at prison.
The short of it all is that people pretend to be what they are (cosmetic living)- which Usi equates to living on perform, as an individual’s natural scent gets enveloped in perform and fellow beings live a lie about such an individual since they merely get the painted side- when they are far from it.
“Living on Perform’ is an ambitious film. That is manifest in the fact that it represents, at least, four nations: Sweden, Burundi, United Kingdom and Malawi. These nations are represented by the people who play their roles in the film, adding the much needed flavour, experience and solidarity to the Malawian production.
Usi would also wish to involve the Malawian public, that those who will trek to Comesa Hall on August 1 and partake of the feast will be in for an entertaining surprise.
There will be an assortment of public competitions-all funny, really. One will be about overalls; who will dress quicker than the rest?
Nsima, too. Who will eat his mountain load of Nsima faster than the other?
Laughing: Who will hold the vocal chords a little longer. Who will laugh a little longer?
“There will be many interesting things,” he said.
Usi became the first Malawian to receive international recognition when, in August 2008, he was honoured with a plaque for his outstanding service to youth ministry in West-Central African Division. The event took place in Calabar, Nigeria.

‘Dr. Manga’ piracy case lingers on
By Richard Chirombo
Comedian Michael Usi has so many unanswered questions about his first film, ‘Dr Manga’.
When he set out to release ‘Dr. Manga’ some four years ago, he had a clear vision. He wanted to take Malawi’s film industry to the next big level.
That happened because the film found itself in such countries as Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and United Kingdom. The film even flew on acclaimed international Airlines free of charge, in both the economy and business class segments.
It was with the same spirit, wishing to make it big for Malawi, that he sought the services of a merchandise film, which promised it would reproduce ‘Dr. Manga’ and make it available to as many as possible. Usi, too, would get more money for his sweat.
He never did.
And the film is no longer in his hands.
What happened?
Usi could not say much, for fear of pre-empting what has been lined up for the courts. He could only reveal, however, that: “In fact, that issue has gone to court, and my lawyers have advised me against speaking much about it, as it remains a sensitive issue. All I can say is that that issue is now in court.”
Usi hoped that he would come to the root of so many unanswered questions. He, and Malawians, may also get to know how the ‘Dr. Manga’ film grew legs and found itself being shown in world acclaimed Airlines.
He, and the nation, will also learn how ‘Dr. Manga’ film went to the airport, booked a ticket, and……..boom, found itself in the United Kingdom, Nigeria and other countries.
No that he loathes success and fame, who would hate that? It is a question of benefiting from one’s sweat.
“A lot goes into producing a film. So much money that you need something back. Justice, too, is another issue. Piracy harms innocent people,” he said.

MPS pays up
By Richard Chirombo
The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has paid the K5.7 million fine meted by the Super League of Malawi (Sulam) for the unceremonious way they withdrew Eagle Beaks from the league.
MPS announced recently it would not allow Eagle Beaks, one of the two sides it sponsors in the league, to continue plying its trade in the country’s prestigious league. Instead, MPS was for merging of the two sides into one team.
This irked the Super League of Malawi, which threatened to penalize sponsors of the two sides. MPS would be required to cough half of the league’s running costs, amounting to over K25 million.
The figure was later reduced to K5.7 million following some mitigation from MPS, which included the point that off loaded players would still be well taken care of.
Williams Banda, Sulam General Secretary, confirmed today MPS had paid the fine.
“The money will help us off set some of the costs incurred in preparing for the league. We will also modify the fixture we have released to accommodate the team that will replace Eagle Beaks,” said Banda.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that NCIC, formerly Pakeeza United, will replace Eagle Beaks.
A Sulam meeting held this week resolved to bring Pakeeza back into the league, owing to its league position the time it got the boot from the TNM Super League last season.
The team slided back to the Central Region Chipiku Football League alongside Michiru Castles, which is now playing in the Southern Region Arkay Plastics Football League.
Banda asked other teams, such as Michiru, not to despair as their time would come in future.
Initially, Sulam planned to organize play offs amongst Michiru and Pakeeza following the withdrawal of a Northern region side on grounds of financial incapacity.

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