Charles Awurum, the popular Nigerian actor, has talked about his career and other issues in the industry.
In this interview with Naomi Chima, the veteran actor shares his experience on some topical issues in the Nollywood industry?
Nollywood audience has not been seeing much of you in movies, what is with the absence?
I am going to shoot on Sunday in Asaba. I have been shooting but I am not in every film because so many things are happening now. People are just shooting anything, any type of script that comes up. So, I choose what I do.
What will you describe as being responsible for substandard movie production in Nigeria?
People just shoot movies anyhow these days. If you do not have enough money to shoot a movie, you stop. You don’t just shoot any movie. This is why most of us, the oldies, no longer partake in every film. With N200,000, some people will move to shoot a film. Actors now pay to partake in movies just for popularity, instead of them to be paid. And where there are no producers or directors that are professionally trained, they just take a space somewhere and they shoot a film.
Give us your take on how movie production has been redefined in Nigeria?
The industry is growing, most movies we shoot now can stand the test of time. You can match them with that of the white men. We are moving higher and as an actor, if you allow the train to leave you, you should not blame anyone or say you are being segregated. What we are shooting now is no longer what we used to shoot before; if you check the locations of the movies that we are shooting now, you will know that we have gone far. Everything seems to be like that of the western world. So, when you act in movies that will not go anywhere, you do not expect to be applauded. These people eager to be on the screen are not trained, paid, they do everything by themselves and they still pay for it.
There are complaints about some thespians not getting support from their colleagues in the movie industry when they are in dire need or sick, why is it so?
I do not think the industry is not doing enough to help people. You see, when you are told to be a part of an association, belong to that association. Most of these people you see that are sick and are seeking public funds are not even part of the Actors Guild of Nigeria. We sometimes know of their illnesses very late for those of them that are part of us and we even go about to help them. The AGN is doing very well, there is nobody that is sick now that it does not help. The association even goes out of its way to help people that are not members to ensure that they are treated. They only go to the public when it goes out of what they can afford.
In the case of getting to know a colleague’s illness when it is very late, why is it so even for members of the association?
The industry is big now and people do not always check up on each other. As I am here, most people will think that I am on location, nobody will ask after me, except of course family and close friends that are actors too. If something happens or is happening, one should be able to call the president or come to the secretariat and tell them for instance, this thing is happening to me and I cannot take care of it, can you please help me? When you do not call for help, how will they know you are sick? It is when it is too late that they start blaming the AGN. The AGN is doing a lot, we know how many people that were carried to India by the AGN for treatment. People are just saying whatever they want, sometimes they come to us for donation and we donate. People should speak up on time too about their health or any other thing when they need help.