Nollywood actress, Amara Uwakwe-Anyanwu played the iconic role as Maryam Babangida in ‘BADAMASI: Portrait of a General’, a biopic on General Ibrahim Babangida. In this chat with SAMUEL ABULUDE, she speaks about experience on set, fitting into the iconic role and other sundry issues.
How would you rate Nollywood productions today?
It has improved a great deal. We may not be where we should but we are making steady progress in terms of stories and technical depth. Some great works are coming on board these days and they can match what you have in other climes. There is BADAMASI, where I acted the role of Maryam Babangida..
What is your impression of former First Lady, Maryam Babangida ?
She was a respectable personality, with one of the most pleasant smiles. As the First Lady of Nigeria, she initiated a lot of projects, which continued way into when she left office. For me, she represented the real essence of an African woman. She was a courageous woman too, having lived harmoniously with a man whose actions and inactions stirred some of the greatest political storms in Nigeria.
This impression must be borne out of extensive research on her?
Exactly. I did research her extensively, reading up books and watching videos of her. It took me roughly two years from when I got the script to read and prepare for the role. The script was a voluminous one. I took my time to read every single page and every word to really understand what the story was all about, since it was a biopic. In biopics, one must give a performance that is close to what the real person would do if she was to act her own script.
What was it like working on this set?
It was simply great. I was in the midst of some of the biggest names in Nollywood. Enyinna Nwigwe, who played my husband, Ali Nuhu, Charles Inojie, Julius Agwu, Anthony Monjaro, Okey Bakasi, Kalu Ikeagwu, Sani Danja and many others. It also has that Obi Emelonye signature of technical depth and thoroughness. Those who are eager to know things in the socio-political circles of Nigeria need to see the film. It has stories about the major coups in the country and of course, some hidden secrets about the June 12 saga.
Apart from BADAMASI what other productions have you done?
I have done quite a handful from television to movies. I have done lots of TV series with WAP TV, ‘10 Days in Sun City’, ‘Damian’s Muse’ directed by Best Okoduwa, ‘Stuck in Perfect’ by Toka McBaror, ‘Pastor’s Wife’ and ‘Calabash’ by Obi Emelonye. There are many others where I played minor parts and of course, movies.
You are a model too, right?
Yes. I am currently the brand ambassador of the biggest network marketing platform. I have also represented a hair accessories company as well as a bank. I also do runway fashion shows.
How would you love to describe yourself?
I am a mother, a wife, an actress, a model and a brand ambassador. I am comfortable combining all these roles. I attended Imo State University, where I studied Business Management. I am from Obizi in Ezinihitte LGA of Imo State. I am also a designer, who desires to stand out and make a difference. I am dedicated to work and very articulate. Finally, I like to work smart and intelligently.
What were the challenges you encountered playing that role?
The role is unique in the sense that I was playing a real character not someone created by a writer. Biopics are more tasking because you are expected to study your character in details. The script I got was voluminous and I had to read it over and over again to understand every detail of it. But everyone was happy doing it because that is the kind of script every actor is looking forward to; projects that will reposition your career. It was tasking but I am proud to be part of it. I feel honoured indeed.
How do you think the audience will receive the film?
It is not only a piece for entertainment, there is history, education and it revealed some issues in Nigeria that have remained a mystery. So those who are eager to know the reality about certain events in Nigeria must see the movie when it stages its premiere on June 12, 2021 at Cinewold O2 Arena, London. Tickets are available at www.eventsbrite.co.uk . It is a laudable project and I have been posting that on my social media handles.
What will you tell your fans?
I want to tell them to continue supporting me, because I appreciate them a lot. There can be no me without them. I love them immensely. The ones in UK should show support by attending the premiere.