Sunday, January 14, 2007


Born 32 years ago in Caracas, Venezuela, Scarlet Ortiz, alias "Camila Montes de Alba", as we know her, caught my fancy this Sunday and I decided to go 'camilamania' by posting some of her angelic looks on our blog here. She was the rave among telenovela fans last week in her "Todo Sobre Camila" All About Camila being shown on MITV 10 p.m Mondays to Fridays, and 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Fortune cable TV airs it 8:30p.m every day, seven days of the week.

She played the role of the 'cat with nine lives' surviving the deadliest yet attack of her mortal enemies in a prison inferno. Now, she has become a fugitive again, on the run, not necessarily from the law, but from the 'badman' Eduardo Bonfil.

Redemption of her integrity and name seems like an uphill task, but let us keep our fingers crossed and watch how she would 'wangle' her way through the intricate web of intrigues, lies and character defamation that her enemies are currently weaving around her.

She has to her credits some 10 novelas which are earth-shaking: Nubeluz (1990), Llovizna (1996), NiƱa Mimada (1998), Luisa Fernanda (1999), Mis Tres Hermanas (My Three Sisters) (2000), Yo Soy Betty, la Fea (I Am Betty, the Ugly) (2000), Secreto de Amor (Secret Love) (2001), Todo Sobre Camila(All About Camila) (2002), Todos Quieren con Marilyn (All Want Marilyn) (2004), where she played the prostitute ... and, her latest, Mi vida eres tu/La voz del amor (My life and yours/ the voice of love) (2006).

Looking over many of many of the ten novelas of Scarlet Ortiz shows that, at least, 4 (four) were stupendously good and popularly acclaimed world wide. It would have been good if our entertainment merchants focus on getting such best of any actors/actress w, down here for us, instead of the low quality and low budget novelas which they are currently and indiscriminately 'pumping' through many TV stations now.

It is time that our entertainment merchants in Nigeria wake up, and go for good quality and trully entertaining novela instead of the hogwash bandwagon that many tv stations are now showing. The fact that the novela bug had bitten the home entertainment industry in the last two years does not mean that every soap opera with the traditional label of "TELENOVELA" is good for our consumption. Many of this latest entrants are weather-beaten dung, re-packaged by unscrupulous opportunists in collusion with gullible TV stations, to serve an unwary but enthusiastic Nigerian audience.

Some of our local nollywood productions that we have had cause to complain about in the recent past, have become far better in comparison to the flood of cheap telenovelas that some of these merchants are peddling in the market now. If care is not taken, the activities of these 'cheaper-is-better' telenovela merchants would soon devalue the novela entertainment in the country.

Another downside of the current novela buzz is that of timing. These novela zealots forget that many of our tv stations serving 140 million Nigerians are local and not national. They all cramp themselves into the Lagos axis, and also cramp into the the same prime time, for the same audience, thereby diminishing the entertainment value for the home audience. For example, La Revancha (The Revenge) (2003) has truly started on STV, but ask me when? 9:00 p.m same time as la hija del jadinero on AIT! It ain't easy for many novela fans to choose between the novela clash between Silverbird TV and AIT in the new supremacy battle for airtime, triggered by the 'telenovela revolution'. We expect much sanity and mutual compromise among these conflicting interest so that we can maximize our entertainment value.