Nollywood actor and filmmaker, Nnaemeka Charles Eze, better known as, Nani Boi has become a man of many parts, he is also an OAP and author of many books, some of which are being studied in schools. The Enugu State born graduate of Geology from University of Nigeria, Nsukka speaks in an interview about some of his adaptations, the journey to stardom and a host of other issues.
HOW long have you been writing and doing movies?
It’s been long. I’ve been doing this since the year 2001. Then I and my friend, William Charles Agbo used to write and produce movies for marketers. Together we produced movies like Take My Life, Final Goodbye, Waiting for Death, Shadows of The Enemy and so many others.
What movie would you say brought you to limelight?
I’ve featured in a couple of them but the one that quickly comes to mind is Mummy Why which is an adaptation of one of my books. I receive calls every day from people, even from outside of Nigeria, commending me for the work. It’s a family movie with a difference. I wrote it, produced and sponsored it. Ernest Obi directed it and it featured Pete Edochie, Tony Oneweek, Uche Ogbodo, Ernest Obi, Evi Obi, Harry B, Uncle Jude, Chinwe Owoh, Uloma Eze and so many others. It’s actually a star-studded movie.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from what our people are going through. Also, children inspire me. I also observe them closely and I am always thinking of what to do to help groom our young ones accordingly. That is why my motto is ‘Inspired by Kids’.
Is it that you turn most of your novels into movies?
Yes. Mummy Why opened my eyes. It made me realise that parents want movies that they can proudly watch with their kids without skipping any scene. I would be shooting the sequel next month. I write my movies by myself and I am happy many good people believe in the dream. Thanks to Pete Edochie, Ernest Obi, Uncle Jude, Saint Do, Nnamdi Mezue and all the others.
You have worked with several movie stars. Who would you say is your favourite?
They are all my favourites. But I have so much love and respect for Ernest Obi and Pete Edochie.
Have you ever had a crush on any female celebrity?
Yes. I crushed on Chidimma after watching the video of her hit track, Kedike. She looked so innocent and harmless. Then, I have always admired Genevieve Nnaji too. But now, I’m married and my wife acts.
How has it been married to an actress?
Actresses are good people. They make good families and of course have their own family issues like every other family.
That is a contrary view, especially as marriages seem to be crashing these days…
It’s not only celebrity marriages that are crashing o. That is where we get it all wrong. But generally, marriages crash because the people involved allow it to crash instead of putting their heads together to make it work. Na Internet dey help crash celebrity marriages more.
What has been your most fulfilling moment as filmmaker and author?
The calls I get from people pressurising me to shoot more movies for them. As an author, I think my books are among the most read books by primary and secondary school students in Nigeria; Stories like Take Me Home, Daughters of Zion, Know What to Be, Son of Thunder, Face To Face and so many others.
How accessible are your books?
They are very accessible and are all written in simple language and style with good moral lessons for our feature leaders.
A lot of people are of the opinion that movies these days lack depth. What’s your take on that?
We are trying, but we still have a long way to go. We need good stories, we need sponsors, we need to put an end to piracy, we need to spend more time shooting our movies. We need to work with cast and crew that are good for the job and not with sentiment.
And above all, the government should come in at this point in time.
Tell us one thing about Nani Boy that people don’t really know…
Where I am today is not where I thought I would ever be. As a very good footballer, my dream was to become a professional footballer but knee injury killed that dream. Everything that gives me money has nothing to do with what I studied in the university. But my course of study, Geology, made me strong and resilient. I believe I can do anything through God who created and strengthens me
Are you working on anything at the moment?
Yes I am. It’s an action movie that will open the eyes of our youths on the reality of cultism. It’s called ‘Wrong Initiation’. It’s a big project that I had wanted to partner with my state government but it didn’t pull through. But it’s coming out very well though. My Cast and crew are doing a wonderful job.
A number of your colleagues are going into politics. Do you intend to toe that line soon?
I’m ready to work for my people if they need me. If my governor, His Excellency Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the good people of Enugu state want me to work for them, I am ready to help build Enugu of our dream. But I can never be a do-or-die politician. I want to serve and not the other way round because Enugu state is truly in the hands of God.
Who is Nani Boi?
Nani Boi is Nnaemeka Charles Eze. He’s a native of Orba in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu state. I’m a graduate of Geology from University Of Nigeria, Nsukka. A writer and publisher of over 50 story books and novels for children and young adults. I’m also a movie writer and producer. I do music for fun and as an artiste, I have worked with the likes of Mr. Raw, Kcee, Storm Rex, Zoro, Dekumzy, Splash, Slow Dog and a host of others.
I’m also an On Air Personality with Dream 92.5fm Enugu. I own and anchor a local program, Ogabuagaa. It’s an indigenous program that I use to reach out to people of all classes.