Rich Oganiru

Posted by on 2009/09/04 | Views: 5262 |

Rich Oganiru

Leading actor, Rich Oganiru, has dazzled movie-buffs in more than 120 movies since he joined Nollywood. Instead of being a happy man in view of this rare and intimidating record, the ex- naval officer from Owerri says that heís far from being fulfilled as his bank account is yet to read the six digits. He is not financially comfortable either. H...

Leading actor, Rich Oganiru, has dazzled movie-buffs in more than 120 movies since he joined Nollywood. Instead of being a happy man in view of this rare and intimidating record, the ex- naval officer from Owerri says that heís far from being fulfilled as his bank account is yet to read the six digits. He is not financially comfortable either.

How did you come into the industry as an actor?
Well, those who knew me right from the begining knew that Iíve been in entertainment for a very long time. I started as a musician. Sometime in the past, I won the best gospel artiste award in this country at the Nigerian Song Festival (NISOFES) 1997.

Do you have any album that has been released?
Weíve released a few albums as a group but Iíve not recorded a solo album. However, I am now in the studio working on a solo album.
You said youíve been into showbiz since you were 13, when did you join Nollywood, precisely?
It was in 1994 and the first movie I took part in was Shattered Dreams. Later, I did Venom of Justice which I sponsored. That was the first film Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde did and I starred in it. It was a failure because, do I say I was a novice in the business then. But Iíve been able to learn.
Before then, what were you doing?
I was formerly a naval officer.

What rank?
Lets keep off that. Going by Bongos Ikwueís song that goes thus :Whatís gonna be gonna be. Iíve been in the showbiz right from when I was in the Navy, so acting has been part of me. Even in the Navy, I was in the music department.

How many years did you spend with the Navy?
I donít want to go into that. I donít want to talk about my career in the Navy, and itís not necessary.
Since you came into the movie industry in 1994, how has it been?
Itís been growing; itís been quite an experience. Iíve experienced more of the ups than the downs in the industry. If youíre asked to mention the stars to be reckoned with in the industry today, you would mention Rich Oganiru. I have been able to star in, at least, 120 films.

One hundred and twenty films! Has that made you a millionaire?
It hasnít eventually. Itís quite terrible. We joined the industry when acting was almost done for free and our people were being owed. Being owed was the normal thing. We were able to clean up what these younger ones: Jim Iyke, Genevieve and others are enjoying.

Sometimes, do you feel that youíve not reaped enough from fruit of your labour in the industry?
I donít want to jump into hasty conclusions. If I feel sad, Iíll be jumping the gun, which I think is not the right thing. The Bible says: In all things, give thanks to God. Everybody has a process and time. When your time comes, nothing will stop you. So far, so good, I am not doing badly but we are hoping to do better.

Talking about movies, which of your movies actually made you a household name?
From inception, I would say Rituals by Keneath Nnebue. Since that time, I can hardly name any film that is not in that class that I have featured in. Even the marketers and producers are very careful when they invite me. They donít call me for anyhow role. Even the most recent one is spinning the globe now. Itís called Queen of Aso Rock, there are quite a lot of them.

It seems in most of your films, you are stereotyped, itís either you are playing a rich husband or a rich man, donít you see yourself as a stereotyped actor?
That is one of the things I had to de-emphasize. I felt that I have been under-utilized and that was one of the reasons that made me to leave Lagos. Recently, I have been able to do some films in which I acted roles that are different from what Iíve been doing. Iíve done films in which I was a clown like in Woman. In Broken Engagement, I was living abroad and I was a kingpin coordinator. So far, I am about the only actor, if I am not mistaken, who can fit into any kind of language, call it Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo. Iíll be able to pick the accent, give the delivery with the reflexes that is expected.

You said you are also a musician, what kind of music do you play?
I play secular music. I play country music, and I play reggae. Because of my long stay in music, I can say I play all kinds of musical instruments; I play the sax, guitar and I am more of a song writer.

When is your first album coming out?
We are looking at August this year by Godís grace. We have not given the album a title for now because we are trying to be exact with developments. Last year, we were supposed to go on tour of Europe. We are facilitating efforts to complete work on the album, I am going into joint ventures with some partners.

How many tracks do you have in this album?
There are eight tracks in the album.

As a pioneer actor, can you say this is the Nollywood of your dream?
What we are experiencing so far is a fast movie industry. I have heard a lot of comments from my fans in Hollywood and London, and our conclusion is that we have been able to move on a very faster lane than they when they were starting Hollywood. What we were able to achieve in less than 15 years, they couldnít achieve in sixty years.
I am telling you in the next 20 years, weíll be on top, we will be leading the movie industry in the world. We are number four so far, all what we are looking for now is a re-engineering of our economy by the government. Let them get involved in what is happening. If they got involved in this industry and the bourgeois come in and understand how rewarding this industry can be, I am telling you when they realise that this industry can yield more money than oil industry, weíll be number one because we have the best talents.

Your name used to be Rich Azu, itís now Rich Oganiru why the transformation?
Rich Odichinma Azu is my full name. I couldnít understand it wasnít just me. Iíve been having a rethink about the name until two men of God told me, Ďlook, God asked you to change your name." I am telling you that as soon as I changed my name, everything about me changed entirely. It was so wonderful.

Tell us more about yourself
I am from Owerri in Imo State. I am in my late forties. I got married in 1994 and I have two boys
How does she feel when you play husband to lovely actresses in movies?
Itís the usual thing with human beings, especially in Africa where people react to instincts and get jealous. I would not say yes or no to whether she gets jealous or not. But sometimes, every woman would like to mark you by telling you not to do this or that.

Has she ever asked you to stop playing such roles?
Sometimes she does. The issue is for you as a husband to tell your wife this is it, tell your wife this is how the job is. For now, she has understood the job and we are not talking about that now because itís no longer a problem.

I have seen you in movies holding and caressing beautiful women, actresses, most times did you get hard on while playing these roles?
Its quite unprofessional for you to start getting hard on, when I smooch and do that thing, Iím just living a life that is not mine, Iím playing the role. Most times like Omotola and others with whom I have played such roles, weíre not the best of friends. I found out I donít feel nothing about it. We can kiss, smooch but that is for that moment. Immediately after that, Iíve never stood one day to have a chat with Omotola.

In Nollywood today, you are among the most handsome married actor, so you are in the public eyes, how do you cope with ladies, do they harass or disturb you or want to get friendly with you intimately?
I would not say no. Ordinarily, before the movie industry, a lot of people and sometimes-even guys try to get close to me. But the one that pains me most is the fact that I receive calls from gays looking for my anus. What I do is that I look for opportunities to get them closed up so that I can deal with them. I get lot of calls from people that I donít know telling me that they love me but I have ways of approaching such issues.

Your dream as an actor and for Nollywood?
My dream as an actor is that I want to build an empire of perfection; an empire where I can produce films that can be respected all over the world. I want to produce films that can stand as a legacy for all generations. My dream is to be a mouthpiece for this nation in the international community through the work of art. My dream is that God should help me so that my life will not only revolve around acting but be a blessing to people who watch my films. My dream is that apart from acting, my music should heal the sick and raise the dead, deliver people from subjugation, make people who donít know Christ to know him as their Lord and personal Saviour.

Filmography:Queen of Hasso Rock, Wasted Effort, Pay Day, Lacrima, Stoneface in Love, Givers Never Lack, His Majesty, Yellow Fever, My Destiny, Battle Of The Rich, Political Control, Touching Love, Total Control, Last Confession

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