I was hospitalised after my N500m movie leaked online – Toyin Abraham

Award-winning Nollywood actress Toyin Abraham has said that the illicit release of her latest film, Malaika, caused her to experience panic episodes, which led to her hospitalization.

December 15, 2023, saw the exclusive theatrical premiere of the lavish film.

Abraham, who described how she happened to stumble into the film on a social networking platform, claimed that after seeing it, she nearly went insane.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday at the Nigeria Police Force’s Federal Investigation Department in Alagbon, Ikoyi, where some people detained in relation to the film’s illegal distribution were displayed, the actress bemoaned spending nearly N500 million on filming a film only to discover that it had been leaked to the public.

She said, “If you look at me, you will know that I am actually not okay. I had to come from the hospital. I have been having panic attacks. It is not easy shooting a movie close to N500mi and you just see it out there.

“I saw my movie and another movie and I was like, am I dreaming? And they said, ‘No, you are not dreaming’. And the next thing, they put it on Telegram, telling people they are going to upload it by 12pm. I opened the link and I saw Malaika, I wanted to run mad, it was like my whole world was coming to an end in front of me.

“You know as a woman, I was crying and my manager said, ‘Don’t worry’, and he started making calls to my godparents, my husband and the Filmone team. So we started calling tech guys and how to get to Google. They had to call Telegram. So the next thing, they started breaking the links. Google started to send emails telling us that they had broken the links.”

Abraham remembered how she was so desperate that she had to start pleading with one of the offenders on Telegram.

She also stated that she was surprised because “one of those guys had to tell me to send a mail to a particular email and I said, ‘On my film!’

 “I don’t know what to do; this is my life, this is the only thing I do. That is why I decided to take it upon myself, upon manager and Filmone to fight piracy and this is not about me; not about Malaika, not about any movie in the cinema, not about tribe but about the creative industry. It is about the entertainment industry because this is the only thing we do.”

The actress went on to say that the development had cost her a lot of money since people had chosen to hold off on seeing the film until it was made available for free online.

“I have lost a lot because even when you go on social media, you will see people saying, oh, we will not go to the cinema. We will wait for the movie to drop. Even fans abroad will say they are waiting for the meeting to drop and obviously, anyone who is waiting for such a particular thing will not watch the movie. But it is okay, I am doing well. It is not about the money now. It is about fighting a particular cause for the entertainment and creative industry which I am happy about,” she added.

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