A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied
A scene from the local film Catching Feeling: Picture: Supplied

Kagiso Lediga is really funny. He’s proved this time and time again during a career that spans nearly two decades in the South African comedy spotlight.

Directing and writing isn’t new to him - he’s written and directed distinguished television comedies such as the Pure Monate Show and Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola, but, lately, he’s switched his focus to the big screen.

In 2016, Lediga starred in and co-wrote Wonderboy for President.

He has since gone the extra mile by writing, directing and starring in Catching Feelings.

“I wasn’t even sure that I was going to be the lead,” he says. “I knew I wanted to direct the film. That was the one thing and I also knew that I wanted to act as the lead, but I didn’t think I could do both. The idea of going to investors and saying: ‘I want your money, I want to direct the thing that I’ve written and I want to play the lead’; they would have been like, ‘Hai, hai hai, you’re kidding, my guy’”.

When he pitched it, he pretended he was interested in getting other people to play the part.

“I would go: ‘I would like so and so to play the part, but I would also like to audition,’” he laughs. “I thought: How do I direct and act? I did a lot of research on people who’ve done it.”

He went online and read about how other directors/ actors like Ben Affleck and Mel Gibson pulled it off. He tried to learn as much as possible from their stories.

Eventually, stakeholders started to buy into it, and he got the go-ahead.

Then, Loyiso Gola, who features in the film, suggested Pearl Thusi to play Lediga’s wife.

Lediga was unconvinced. He thought: “This is a sophisticated thing, we don’t want to tarnish it with people like Pearl.”

When Thusi came and read for the role, he and his team looked at one another and knew she would be the right choice.

“We quickly discovered that she’s one of those consummate professionals. She really gets in and works hard.

“At that same time, she even auditioned for Quantico, which she got, and she also brought a certain kind of profile to the film because she’s such a big star in South Africa. It got a bit of a commercial edge to it in a sense, which is great.”

Together, Thusi and Lediga make for an engaging and convincing couple whose daily struggles are easily relatable, particularly in the South African context. Their characters are well layered and it is difficult to tell, until the end, whether their relationship will survive the big challenge that confronts them.

One of the most interesting parts of the film is the sex scene between the two. It’s more graphic than the sex scenes we are used to seeing in local films.

I asked him about the thinking behind this and whether he fears some sort of backlash, seeing that we’re a typically conservative market.

I asked him about the thinking behind this and whether he fears some sort of backlash, seeing that we’re a typically conservative market.

“The movie is kind of dirty, even in the language and the way people are - and there’s a bit of nudity here and there.”

He said that with the sex scene, they had all these suggestive images, but they didn’t show boobs and bums in that way. “But the way we’ve done it, it’s in your head and you kind of go ‘he’s taking her from behind!’ It’s quite intense.”

Other striking roles are those played by Akin Omotoso, who sheds his typically serious persona for a more light-hearted role, and Andrew Buckland, who brilliantly slips into the role of an unapologetically charming womaniser.

Fast-rising director Zandile Tisani also plays a notable role - as an intelligent and strikingly beautiful temptress. Lediga commends her engagement to the script and how her fresh face brought a particular dynamism to the film.

Lediga, too, must be commended for intelligently orchestrating and starring in a film I think many will enjoy. It adds yet another feather in his cap.

ShingaiDarangwa

Sunday Indy