Subira Feature Film

Kamvua kamerudi…

What’s good?
What’s popping?
Are you warm?

I just finished my mug of uji so now I’m boiling from within.

It’s been a while since I posted a review or rather my thoughts on this kasection of the blog. I have been watching a lot of local shows and other cool things that I will be sharing in various ways with you as the year comes to a close.

In case you are wondering, it’s because as the year comes to a close, people tend to have more time on their hands. #BingeGaloreLoading

This one started like a month ago when I received an invite on my Whatsapp for the Subira media screening. I didn’t know much about the film at that point and I didn’t seek to find out. No, not because I am a snob and don’t care, but because when it comes to these things, I let the trailer tell me what to expect and wait for the film to do the rest.

It limits my expectations.

So last Thursday, I was among a small group of humans that had the chance to watch Subira at Prestige Plaza. Despite leaving the house in good time, we were a couple of minutes late because Matian’gi’s people were causing traffic checking each and every vehicle that was using that road where that Shell used to be.

There was traffic from Westy all the way to that Arboretum Junction because these 2 cops were literally stopping every car. Taking their time to look at the insurance and stuff. So yeah, we were late.
By the time we got to Prestige Plaza, the film had been on for a couple of minutes. Less than 8 minutes. I am mentioning this for context.

So this is the part where I give you the tea about Subira without spilling the tea.


Subira is a feature film that has been Sippy Chadha’s passion project for over 8 years. Sippy, the writer and director of Subira, really wanted to tell her story of how she came to Kenya as part of an arranged marriage and how she came to terms with it. Subira is based on her story.

Subira is the story of a young girl from Lamu, who finds herself in a quick arranged marriage that tears her away from everything she knows and loves. The story follows her journey in this new place as she struggles to find her place as well as come to terms with her new life as a married woman.

I’m conflicted on where to start, so we shall do a no-particular-order thing.



Subira was filmed in Lamu and Nairobi.
Lamu is beautiful. So I’ve heard. Yes, I am one of the 5 people who haven’t been to Lamu yet.

If you don’t know this yet, I would like to mention that I am crazy for locations. I feel like they do so much for a film. Give me a compilation of good locations with awesome cinematography and you are half way to winning my heart.

The film didn’t have much of that. Or rather, could have had a bit more. This is both Lamu and Nairobi. Granted, I was a couple of minutes late but even if they used that entire time to showcase Lamu, then it would have made sense to do the same with Nairobi which didn’t exactly happen. The film was mostly shot indoors and so not that many opportunities to see everything else.

I particularly enjoyed the ocean views and I’ll tell you more about that under cinematography.


This film will introduce you to a lot of new faces.

Brenda Wairimu is the leading lady and she was very comfortable as Subira. I believe growing up at the coast must have played a role in that. Tirath Padam was the leading man and this being his first feature film, I think he held his own.

His character, Taufiq was a bit confusing to me. He was supposed to be this young liberal man but the only way we now this is because the script said so. I would have loved to see him actually be liberal. Like talk to Subira that first night because she was evidently uncomfortable. Taufiq looked younger than Subira. I really couldn’t shake this. I wish they had made him look a bit older than Subira as much as it was two young people.

Joan Arigi plays Makui, Taufiq and Adam’s house help. I have watched her before and felt like she could have done better. Possibly a directorial decision but her character could have been executed a bit better.

Nice Githinji killt it!

Every time she was on screen, I had to remind myself that was Nice. Her makeup was so well done and her nuances, accent and personality had me believing she was a fifty-some- year old costarian mathe.

Some of the extras felt like they were reciting their lines complete with gestures and all but that didn’t matter much as they were only there for a scene.

I would say the cast was alright.


Water was a big part of this film if not a big part of the cinematographer. The water shots brought everything to life. As I told someone after the film, it felt like when it was time to film a water scene, everyone had to take a break because the cinematographer needed like 6 hours to get the perfect shot. Water was very important and the cinematography made sure we knew this.

They gave us a lemonade moment. Yes that Beyoncé, hold up moment. Definitely a shot to look out for.

That stood out to me the most.



There’s a lot I would have changed in the script. Being a passion project Sippy had been trying to make work for 8 years, I could tell this was her darling. Some of the characters needed more development as they were not well established.

Taufiq (Tirath Padam), needed better development. Being painted a liberal, we didn’t really get to witness this. It was only mentioned once or twice by other cast members.

Some characters like Sarah, Makui and Noor needed a bit more flesh just to build up the story and add some sass.


Sound + Music

The sound was crisp! I loved how clear everything was. The film didn’t have a lot of dialogue so ambient sound was really important. The ambient sound was great and the music choice made it even better.

The music was nice and mellow. Filled up film and created the mood all around.


Final Thoughts

Subira is a good film. It tells an important story. This film made me want to find out about different cultures across the country with practices that are not considered modern. What they entail and what happens if one goes against them.

Who would have thought that girls jumping/diving into the ocean, would be something frowned upon?



Subira will be hitting the cinema on 29th November 2018 at Westgate.

You can grab your tickets in advance and prepare for the red carpet and cocktails. All the details are in the image below. The film will be in the cinema for a while after and if you don’t make it to the premiere, still mark some dates on to your calendar.

Don’t be that guy/girl going to watch it alone. Share the experience.



Miss M.



Muthoni Gitau
Hey there... I'm Muthoni - a quirky Kenyan girl with a serious love for DIYs and a (not so) slight color obsession 😉 Welcome to my world where I share my thoughts on everything I love or find interesting, live the best life I know how and always give my honest opinion!


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