The series/telenovela Hotel Majestic, as the name suggests, gets its name from the hotel. The hotel itself is situated in the rustic village of Idara. While I don’t know for sure whether Idara is a fictional village, the characters’ names and other details suggest Hotel Majestic is somewhere in Edo State, perhaps not very far from Benin-City, the state capital. Owned by the Emenis, the hotel (Hotel Majestic) has seen better days and is in dire straits. While its founder is nowhere to be found, the rest of the family must disrupt their lives in the city to make something of what’s left of their family legacy.
The hotel is in need of a serious injection of cash to get a much needed renovation. Not to mention better management. Instead, the Emeni children: Jeme (Yvonne Enakhena), Timi (David Jones David) and Maja (Kingsley Nwachukwu Ifeanyi) have to struggle to keep the family investment alive. They’re not always on the same page nor do they always fight for the same side for that matter. Happenings in the hotel, an interesting assortment of staff help to keep things pretty lively. As with any typical Nigerian village, throw in the ‘big man’ politician like Honourable Edafe (Akin Lewis) and the story practically writes itself.
Sounds easy enough, right? Is this why Hotel Majestic has succeeded where many have failed? If it were that simple or easy, why aren’t more riveting drama series running on air? Do feel free to share your own reasons even if you hold contrary views. But allow me to share with you a few reasons I think have contributed to Hotel Majestic’s runaway success. These reasons are not in any particular order of relevance.
Anyhow, it seems we do have to start from the beginning: The (Hotel Majestic) story. It succeeds in its single-mindedness: It’s a Nigerian story. No, not by being an overbearing and contrived ‘Wazobian’ contraption where the need for federal character and political correctness overloads the story. Because most of the characters are from the old Benin-Delta (Bendel) area, things are easier. Especially to a ‘Bedel’ girl like yours truly.
The other hurdle Hotel Majestic successfully scales is a continental one. It doesn’t attempt to be some African hotel. Or what it thinks is the internationally accepted idea of a Nigerian hotel. It certainly is not Tinsel which ‘belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody’. Tinsel is supposedly based on a fictitious film industry (Nollywood) but we cannot see it. I’ve made deliberate effort not to use Tinsel’s failings to measure Hotel Majestic’s successes. I almost succeeded. There’ll be enough time to talk about Tinsel. But I digress.
Back to Hotel Majestic, another plus is the cast. Almost everyone fits into the story. There isn’t one person who sticks out like a sore thumb. I must confess that I haven’t always liked every actor or the interpretation of their characters. While I wasn’t always sold on some, they’ve managed to grow on me.
Because of the organic nature of the Hotel Majestic story and cast, both the strong and the seemingly weak depend on each other so much so that even those ‘wrinkles’ now fit into the story. From lead characters like Honourable (Akin Lewis), Alero/Ivie (Ivie Okujaye), Maja (Kingsley), Timi (David Jones David) to support cast like Bene (Gloria Young), Ese (Kocabelle Guemini) to Jeffiong (Maurice Sim). No one role is too big not to need the other actor.
…Lest we forget
Let’s spare a moment for those behind the scenes-the production crew. A wise film producer once told me to hold directors responsible for every ‘bad’ acting from actors. It follows then that directors deserve to get some of the credit when actors deliver. Especially when you consider that quite a few of the Hotel Majestic were first timers.
The trio of Tope Oshin Ogun, Victor Sanchez Aghahowa and Patience Oghre Imobhio deserve triple commendation.
Hotel Majestic is showing on Africa Magic Showcase (dstv channel 151, 8pm weekdays).