Film Review: BUTUKU–When Love is Pain


From the posts on a Facebook page called Butuku ZNBC, we can tell that the audience of the soap opera entitled Butuku is growing by the day. That’s the only platform where I based my survey unless you know of another. Kibutuku is a Lozi word that means pain; in this case, ‘when love is pain.’ Ouch! Instead of being sweet, it pains. Count me out, please! Okay, the drama series has been showing on ZNBC 1 since May 21, 2021.

Let’s take a bite out of that movie. In one family, a man physically abuses his wife. The man, Javan (Chiti Mumba Mutale), is down and out and is trying his best to provide for his family by working as a security guard. At the same time, he is studying auto mechanics at a private institution. You can figure out how much he takes home.

His wife, Bana Bupe (Chidzanso Mwenda), is an enterprising woman who sells fritters to supplement the low income. She is respectful and overly loyal but short of obedience when Javan looks the other way. She has been told, time and again, not to send their young daughter to peddle the fritters in the streets, but that ban falls on deaf ears. As the saying goes, ‘still waters run deep,’ so is Javan demeanor. He is very calm and an introvert, but when his wife disobeys his orders, he unleashes the devil in him, and he seems to find joy in beating her.

Across the city, there is an aristocratic family that you may think of as the opposite of Javan’s. They live in the residential area for the blue-blooded class. The husband, David (Raymond Mwangala), is married to a disrespectful, demanding, and abusive woman, Janice (Didzwanji daka), who seems to sit high up on the corporate ladder. David, a lawyer by profession, worked at a law firm but quit out of frustration. He is trying to register an NGO with his friends, but his very first investment goes down the drain. He is fleeced by one of the members.

The movie is a creation of Henry Joel Sakala and Joackim Sakala, with Benne Banda beefing up as director. Going by Henry’s track record in the film industry, the viewers expect Butuku to run parallel with movies like Mpali and Zuba in terms of popularity and allure. Personally, when I see that name in a production, I sit on the age of my chair and expect real entertainment; often, I get it. That’s why when I see a flow in him; I won’t sweep it under the carpet.

Hitherto, it’s thumbs up to the storyline. It flows, leaving nothing to guesswork. We are even beginning to see twists and turns. Casting is also good, although there is much room for improvement. Picture quality: mm… Not top-notch! They can do better. The sound is pathetic, going by advancements in technology in this e-age. I don’t know if they are using ZNBC equipment, but still, it is pathetic.

That’s it for now. Let’s see what follows as Javan is detained in the cop shop for gender-based violence, and Janice glitters in the eyes of a new workmate.

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