‘Daydreamers’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Is Kamal Dead?

The Kenyan film industry is producing some exciting films, and they are using all the filmmaking techniques that the Americans and the French used to enhance their cinema. One can clearly see those techniques in action in Bufis, aka Daydreamers, the new Netflix film. Directed by Mahad Ahmed and Vincenzo Cavallo, the movie is based on the true story of a scam that was prevalent in Kenya. Many people, usually Somalis who had crossed over to Kenya during the 1991 civil unrest, had found unique ways to get visas approved and get a chance to reach the land of opportunities—the United States of America. 


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Assad was the Somalian Spike Lee, according to Kamal, which is why he worked for him. Kamal had a whole gang of hoodlums who protected the area in times of distress, but nobody talked about that aspect of their gang. The main source of income was directly connected to make-believe, like in cinema, which is where Assad came in. Assad was once a Somalian warlord, but in Kenya, he managed to get so many people visas by making them act realistically in front of the US Embassy’s officers. A new assignment had arrived, and Kamal had begun the ‘casting’ process for the story that would help so many fulfill their dreams of living in America. He didn’t take into consideration the risk this time around, which could prove deadly.


Why Did Kamal Reach Out To Asho And Samira?

Kamal had once gotten to the USA, but because of gang associations, he was deported. Now he has made other people’s dreams come true. Asho was a dancer in a local strip club and a good friend of Kamal, so it was time to contact her for the new assignment. Assad had told him that he would need a ‘mother’ which is why Kamal reached out to Asho, who fit the part, according to him. Asho had a dream to go to America, and Kamal knew about it, which is why he was able to convince her. Asho’s plan was to marry an American and get a green card, but those were pipe dreams, and here Kamal was offering her an opportunity to get a visa. All she had to do was act realistically, and Assad was there to help her with that. The plan was a good one, as it would benefit not just Asho but a Somali family that wanted to go and settle in the USA. Similarly, there was Samira, a young woman who was needed to give the story prepared by Assad much-needed credibility. It took some convincing, but sometimes ‘bufis’ is so strong, people cannot help but play along.

How Did Assad Get The People To Act Realistically?

Now that the casting was done, there began a workshop to prepare the ‘actors’ to deliver a great performance. Assad knew of a region near Eastleigh in Kenya where the wealthy people had their abodes. Their servants were, of course, from poorer regions, and Assad had their contacts. Whenever these elites left their houses, Assad was notified, and the location of the ‘rehearsals’ was set. Now, Kamal had gotten the crew together in one such villa, and Assad had completed the script. Jamila, a lady working for Mr. Smith, the immigration officer, was given the file to be taken to Smith, which contained the application for the ‘camel herd family’. It was all part of Assad’s story, and he was on his way to get everyone ready. For that, he taught everyone the basic principles of the Stanislavski System, a technique of acting perfected by the Russian acting teacher at the beginning of the 20th century. It has given us some of the best actors we have ever known, and it started working well on the cast here as well. Everyone was given the backstory of their characters, and they were asked to memorize each and every little detail and then associate a personal memory with each detail. Soon, people began to transform and began identifying with the story, the characters, and their backstory. 


How Did Assad And Kamal Succeed In Sending Everyone To America?

While Assad and Kamal were working to prepare a strong foundation for the family, Asho and Samira were looking out for Dahir. The police chief was killing members of Kamal’s gang, and soon he realized that Kai, his best friend, had betrayed him and was working for the rivals and the police. Everything was going to culminate in a violent finale as the police and the Somali Islamists were both looking for Dahir, who was a Somali warlord and wanted to escape to America with the family Assad was handling. 

Kamal had done all he could to get the casting right. The day of the interview came, and everyone hit it out of the park with their performances, except the little girl, whose mother’s part Asho had to play. That created a bit of doubt in Smith’s mind, and Buhran went after Asho to find her reality. She didn’t seem to belong to a camel herd’s family, as in the evenings she began her job at the strip club. Meanwhile, Assad received a call from the Islamists to get his men to America and give him Dahir, who had killed a lot of Muslims back in his days as the warlord. Assad’s wife and kids had been kidnapped, and even though they were not his real family (they were only pretend husband and wife), he couldn’t afford to lose them. He gave them Dahir, but not before he had made a pact with the police. The police wanted Dahir, but he promised to give them the Islamists’ leader as well, who was radicalizing the Kenyan youth to send them off to join Al Qaeda. He was an even bigger fish than Dahir. The police chief agreed, and so did Dahir. Dahir knew his sacrifice would save Assad’s family, and it was a fitting way to go, as he would have sacrificed his life for something noble.


As far as Buhran and Mr. Smith’s little visit to Asho’s workplace was concerned, they were defeated at their own game. They were drugged, and when they were indulging in questionable dance moves with the ladies, their videos and photographs were taken by Asho’s men. She had something to blackmail Smith with, and her visa was guaranteed. The family with the father and daughter seemed credible and were sent to America. The only mystery is perhaps that of Samira. She was with Kamal when one of his gang members shot him in panic, for he had started to believe Kai was right in betraying him. The police were killing off the gang members left, right, and center, and he wanted to go away, which is why he had come to rob Kamal. Kamal survived but had to walk with crutches. Samira must have been terrified after this incident and perhaps went back to her home. But she had mentioned that her father would never accept her back, so there is a chance that she went to America with the ‘camel herd’ family. Apparently, this was the last family Assad could send to America, after which the DNA test was launched to check the relationship between the applicants.

During Daydreamers‘ ending, Assad and Kamal remained in Eastleigh, and they had to think of newer ways to capitalize from the ‘bufis’. Assad would have been a great writer-director in America and Kamal would be a great casting director. But they were left behind. Perhaps they would get killed in gang warfare or by the police or try and find a way to get to the US themselves. There are so many places where people are mentally living in another place, dreaming intensely of a utopia. And this often happens when the immediate surroundings are unpleasant and sometimes threatening. Daydreamers captures the essence of these utopian dreams and their direct contradiction with the immediate environment in a dramatic but lighthearted way.


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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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