FilmInterviews

Vj Shaolin Khan Lee Praises MultiChoice Uganda for Job Creation, Security 

Kaija Ukasha, renowned as VJ Shaolin Khan Lee has praised MultiChoice Uganda for the opportunity of extending Vjing rather in-house translation of original movies to different languages.

On a recent episode of Home of Our Stars, Flavia Tumusiime sat down Ukasha to reflect on his cinematic upbringing, Ukasha recalls how translated movies shaped his early film experiences. His journey began in the video halls (bibanda) of Kawempe, where amidst a family obsessed with football, he found comfort in the magic of cinema.

In his early days, Ukasha honed his skills by immersing himself in his surroundings at home, laying the groundwork for his future career. “The appeal of translations captivated me, and together with a like-minded brother, we delved into the world of Vjing,” he recounts. Making connections at a local video hall proved pivotal, as generous acquaintances shared their equipment, paving the way for Ukasha’s learning journey.

Detailing the essence of Vjing, Ukasha stresses its reliance on talent beyond mere translation. “Vjing transcends language; it tests the breadth of your knowledge. You might excel in medicine but be clueless about law. However, with Vjing, you must possess a wide-ranging understanding of general knowledge,” he elucidates. “Beyond translation, you must offer insights and interpret the situations of the films you work with.”

As Vjing transitions from traditional video halls to multiple TV platforms, Ukasha sheds light on the origins of movie translations. “The practice of translating movies precedes the arrival of Western films in Africa,” he explains. “When explorers first interacted with African communities, language barriers were daunting. Yet, skilled interpreters adeptly conveyed meaning through gestures, showcasing a remarkable talent.”

Ukasha underlines the role of simplification in translated movies, emphasizing their accessibility to diverse audiences. “Watching a translated movie streamlines understanding,” he notes. “After a long day’s work, viewers shouldn’t expend extra energy interpreting complex plots, especially in genres like detective stories. Our role is to simplify the viewing experience for everyone.”

Ukasha’s breakthrough in Vjing and entertainment came through a friendship with a video library. “I joined Romeo Video Library, where my friend Mufumba and I often debated who was the better VJ,” he recalls. “One day, Mufumba was assigned 18 films to translate. He chose 4 and handed me the rest to try. By day’s end, only my four were returned for redoing.”

This experience humbled Ukasha, motivating him to strive harder. “When Mufumba left to start another video library with his boss, I seized the opportunity and haven’t looked back since,” he reflects.

Initially, TV owners didn’t value translated movies. Yet, with the transition from analog to digital, TV stations could monitor viewership. “I spent years in TV, and although translated movies weren’t initially respected, owners soon noticed their high ratings,” Ukasha explains. “This recognition boosted our confidence, leading to prime-time slots, often before or after the news.”

Speaking about his involvement with Urban Life, airing on Pearl Magic channel 161 on DStv and 301 on GOtv, which has been revamped to showcase a collection of beloved local dramas, Ukasha notes, “Urban Life stands out from most Ugandan dramas I’ve worked on. The production quality, storyline, and acting are superior. Previously, Ugandan films tended to be monotonous, often resembling interviews with just one scene. The diverse storylines in Urban Life add depth and intrigue.”

This transition has brought significant rewards for Ukasha. “My journey from video halls to TV, particularly on Multichoice’s Pearl Magic, is a major milestone for me,” he shares. He also highlights the impact this has had on the industry.

“We’ve made significant strides as an industry. We’ve established the Uganda Video Jokers Guild, where I served as chairman for 15 years,” Ukasha explains. “I’m confident that the young talents I’m mentoring will eventually collaborate with major industry players like MultiChoice Uganda. It’s just a matter of time.”

Ukasha reflects on the challenges faced in this journey. “Most of the movies we translate are from the Western world, and we lacked rights. So, if someone sold our translated movie, it was tough to protect it or earn royalties,” he explains. “Reporting these incidents was difficult too, as we didn’t have the rights to translate them in the first place. This pushed us towards TV.”

Regarding MultiChoice, Ukasha expresses confidence in job security. “With MultiChoice, we feel secure because the films we translate belong to them. There’s no risk of someone selling our work without permission.”

Home of Our Stars provides viewers with more content featuring their favorite stars. Pearl Magic Loko fans now have access to a wider range of content, all in one place on Pearl Magic (DStv channel 161 on GOtv channel 301).

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