PAUL OBAZELE: My father introduced me to broadcasting:

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Veteran actor, producer, director, and consul­tant, immediate past president of Associa­tion of Movie Producers and incumbent President of Edo Film Makers Association, Paul Obazele is popularly known as man of creativity with his excellent achievements in notion pictures.

This prolific thespian, CEO of Royal Pictures, Producers of 12 Ambassadors is also the brain behind Legends of Nollywood and Legends of Nollywood Awards.

Edo State born talent of the big screen started his acting career in 1985 at NTA Benin; he made his debut on the popular soap operas like Checkmate, Ripples, and Third Eyes among others. This notable and visionary actor has featured in countless movies and still counting. He spoke with NKECHI CHIMA on his journey to broadcasting, his experiences in acting, film produc­tion and the movie industry.

You are among the pioneers of Nollywood, could you take us down memory lane your journey into the make-believe industry?

It has been a very long journey. It began in 1985, when I started acting plays with NTA Benin. As a secondary school student, I was involved in organising shows in school. Actually, I was born into a broadcast family, which made it easy for my acting career to come very early. I saw my father in the studio, and he also encouraged my career. Basically, people started rec­ognising my efforts when I played Ripples, Third Eye, Checkmate and Telemovies on NTA in the past. I remembered vividly, I featured in four different soap operas that ran for four years concurrently. TV Guild branded me the most used face at that time. Then, I featured in so many television commercials, fashion runways and calendars.

I am the only male model who has done six billboards in the country, while working with Segun Adeoye CEO of SA Production, and my late boss supported me.

Checkmate gave you so much recognition as an actor among other soap operas, but you feature mostly on movies rather than soap operas after your breakthrough, why?

I have been part of virtually most soap operas played on NTA as the custodian of plays in the past, in­cluding, After the Storm, which was aired for over four years among oth­ers. And there is no particular movie that actually brought Paul Obazele to limelight. I was already a tele­vision star before the Nollywood saga.

Among the movies you have played, which do you consider to be most challenging?

It is the movie titled 14th of Feb­ruary, which was produced and directed by me. I was supposed to play alongside Fred Amata as his twin brother, but I had to play both roles after playing on set for two days with Fred Amata and other casts like Ngozi Ezeonu, Stephen Okereke, late Enebeli Enebuwa and Zack Orji. He request­ed the character would be best played by me, considering my efforts on set. So, I had to play the bad guy and good man in the movie, while Fred Amata watches and it came well.

In fact, I was spiritually fulfilled playing me and another, as a twin on set. The movie set the blaze for filmmakers to follow; Taiye Ogidon and Ralph Nwadike appreciated it. Though, their movies were produced before mine. It was a val­entine day, where children were kidnapped for child trafficking from their school, which was mastered by his twin brother. We saw the trend and played it to pass a message to our viewers, as if we predicated it. It’s sad! It happened in one of our schools in the North and we are still praying for the return of Chibok girls.

What message were you trying to pass with February 14 movie?

It’s not advisable for parents to love a particu­lar child among his or her children. The mother prefers the bad boy and it affected and spoiled the child. Children are blessings in the sight of God. Every child in the family should be treated equally; it is not good in building family lives, be­cause it brings rivalry, envy and bitterness among siblings, when preferences are made among chil­dren.

My parents treated us equally. Therefore, when one is hurt the rest shares in the burden. And there shouldn’t be any form of competition in the family, because it creates envy and jealousy. I believe in fellowship and love, when they are reared in love and humility, they will learn to share among themselves to keep the bond as siblings. shouldn’t be any form of competition in the

Which will you describe as your fa­vourite movie so far?

I have played, directed and produced so many blockbusters. It is not easy describing the best among them, because I take time to work on my projects with capable hands. I have flicks like, Oh Woman, is a wonderful story, Shadow of Death, House Party, Cry of a Virgin etc. Oh Woman is about a man who keeps secrets from his wife, while his mother controls him to the extent of turning the Will to someone’s favour. After all, the woman and her husband suffered to achieve, angrily she turned around killing her husband gradually.

I learnt so much from my parents. Why will a man keep secrets from his wife? No mat­ter the pressure it should be resolved. “I don’t think anybody will love you more than you”. If you and your wife will agree to bond as one, therefore, you should be prepared to share everything together without keeping secrets, that’s the only way you can have a healthy and sustainable marriage. Keeping secret shows the thin line between love and hate. If a wom­an is betrayed so deadly and you pretend you don’t know, it amounts to hatred and ultimate­ly you are digging your grave.

You just talked about a critical issue that destroys most homes, what is your advice to couple on family lives.

We wouldn’t contest the fact that men are the head of the family. But, how conducive is your environment as a mother or wife in the home? Coincidentally, I over heard my moth­er telling my wife in her kitchen. Apparently, they didn’t notice my presence. She gave her tutorial on keeping her husband forever. First, she must be available and willing to open her legs for her husband twenty four hours. She was vocal, but it is true. Second, be the best cook and a wife with good character. Do you know some women punish their husband with sex? So, what do you expect the man to do? Furthermore, why should a stranger (House help) cook his food? And you make him patronize fast foods or Buka for meals. Don’t ever argue with him in the presence of his visitors.

Therefore, if he is not your friend, soul mate, someone he finds delight in coming home to meet and someone whose breast can satisfy, then it is not a conducive home. Psy­chologically, a problem is half solved when discussed. So, the first person you discuss with traditionally is your spouse. And if their home is not conducive it can’t work. Howev­er, not being in the right mood is not an excuse for not having a happy chat with your spouse or sex. Men are teachers, while women rev­erend in her home not relatives. So, relatives or in-laws have no right to interfere in their home. And our parents have major roles to play for the survival of their children’s mar­riage by allowing them live their lives without interference.

A man is entitled to provide for his immedi­ate family and must not take decisions on his own. From biblical view, a man who cannot provide for his family is worse than an infidel. So, the woman shouldn’t insult the man pub­licly, because it is not proper. Have you seen the bird? A bird prepares the nest, keeps it from external aggregation, stayed on the egg, incubates the egg, and makes the egg very warm for it to harsh. The male bird goes out to catch insects to feed the female bird and that is what the eagle does. So, if we are like eagles the family becomes a better place to stay.

Again, a woman can make the man respon­sible. In fact, women should learn to call their husbands pet names like the Igbo, “Nna ayi.” Love must be told, words are powerful, it’s a piercing dagger to the soul, and it could be sweet or sour depending on how it is spoken. But, romantic words rekindle the love you both share. In addition, if a man is addicted to discussing his wife outside, it is wrong. Why would you ask people about what you intend to do for your wife? What kind of friends do you keep that should dictate to you? Make your wife your best friend; the courtship is not before marriage, but inside the marriage.

What kind of home did you grow up in?

Amazingly, I was born into a polygamous home. My mother is the younger wife, but you wouldn’t know because Patrick (my fa­ther) controlled his home and all the wives and children lived in trust and harmony. Though, we had our challenges, we were taught how to handle them without living a competitive lifestyle.

How large is your family?

We are 18 children and five wives, includ­ing an Indian mother, who is a wonderful woman.

Will you marry more than one wife?

Laughter! Why should I do that? All my uncles married one wife, including my grand­father and forefathers. The fact that my father practised polygamy, doesn’t mean Paul Oba­zele will marry more than one wife.

Who is the woman after your heart?

She is a very lovely, God fearing and vir­tuous general. Please, apologies to Mama G (laughter). And my siblings love and respect her, while she reciprocates because it takes two to tango.

How long have you been married?

We have been married for years, but I wouldn’t disclose that information, because I hate counting years, I think it makes me feel old and am a very young man (Laughter).

How young are you (laughter)?

I am very young but I wouldn’t disclose my age.

Where do you hail from?

I am a proud Edo man from Esan.

What are your achievements when you held sway as national president of Association of Film Producers and incumbent national president, Edo Filmmakers Association?

The romance Nollywood is enjoying with government originated from me. During my tenure, we did Am Eko international Film Festival, where Lagos State government part­ner with us. We introduced insurance polities; the visibility of filmmakers was established. We had trips abroad, workshops and train­ings. And I have also introduced my wealth of leadership experiences in Edo Filmmakers Association. We organised Edo International Film Festival two years ago in Benin. And we are planning to host this year’s edition soon. Basically, we are trying to raise a voice for the average filmmakers in Edo State.

As one of the pioneers of the indus­try, what are you doing to stop circula­tion of pornographic movies on-lines?

If censorship board catches anyone pro­ducing pornographic movies, the person will go to jail. We have regulatory bodies guiding Nollywood, and Nigeria Films and Censors Board will not tolerate nudity. Our society doesn’t support it. So, why would a producer release pornographic movie? If he wants to make sales let him go to the white man coun­try.

But, they shot these movies in Nige­ria?

No eligible producers under the association will subscribe to such project. In our associ­ation, Actors Guide of Nigeria and Directors Guide of Nigeria, we have rules of engage­ment and sense of decency. We have culture to protect, if you notice it took us time before we started kissing on movies. So, every movie producer is expected to make producers that will affect viewers positively.

Apart from being a filmmaker, what other things do you do for a living?

I am also an event consultant and have a management company. Royal Pictures, my production company are owners of 12 Am­bassadors, a reality show that empowers 12 talents every year. We give out 12 brand new Picato cars to winners, this is it’s third season. And we are also the brain behind Legend of Nollywood, which has metamorphosised into Legend of Nollywood Awards, which third season was recently held and awards were given to veterans in the industry.

What will you describe as your most memorable and eventful day?

It was my remarkable visit with some vet­erans in the industry to the State House to present Legend of Nollywood Award to His Excellency, Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jona­than for his immense support for Nollywood from his days as governor of Bayelsa State till date.

He has shown us love and we reciprocated by giving him a befitting award for leader­ship excellence and he promised to keep the award in his personal museum, when he lives office and assured us of his continuous sup­port, and promised to build a hall of fame. As a lover of arts, he promised his support for the entertainment industry to make it a world class industry to be reckoned with. I was amazed by his extreme humility and friendliness. We felt honoured and we love him more. He is the people’s man not just our president and we look forward to his re-elec­tion into office.

Who were the awardees for this year’s edition?

We also gave awards to Governor Raji Fashola, His Excellency, Godswill Akpabio for their exceptional contributions to entertainment inFashola, His Excellency, Godswill dustry. And we also gave awards to veterans who have contribut­ed to notion pictures in the past like, New Masquerade, Samanja among others that gave birth to Nollywood. This year, we also gave awards to Sonny Irabor, Bisi Olatilo, Patience Ozorkwo (Mama G), Adetayo Salami (Oga Bello), Jide Kosoko, and Wale Adenuga among others. ­

What is Legend of Nolly­wood about?

It is an independent talk show on film, celebrating movie stars over 10 years in their career with an excellent pedigree.

You played a remarkable role in the award winning Benin historic movie titled Invasion 1897, could you tell us your experiences on set?

Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen is one creativity crazy filmmaker. He came to challenge me to play on that set. In fact, it was a won­derful experience with excellence execution of the flick. Whenev­er, I remember the huge amount spent on the production of the movie, I cannot stop imagining. Lancelot has a very large heart. He is a professional director, he refused to give me the script, be­cause he preferred a professional interpretation and holding onto what was written. And he direct­ed me on his perceptions, while I played it to the best of my knowl­edge. And it was on that set that I fell seriously sick, but I give God all the glory for life. Every crew member is delighted on the world acceptance of the movie. Invasion 1897 has been making waves on international and Africa cinemas over the world, winning so many awards to his credit. Well! It’s not the best of Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, because each time you praise someone, you see another surprise, so I await for another great work.

Have you played any mov­ie recently?

I featured in St. Mary, I played a commissioner of police and the movie will soon hit cinemas. There is another titled, Iyore played alongside Rita Dominic, while I played the Oba. It is a wonderful movie among the recent movies.

What is the craziest thing you have done on set?

I slapped my boy! He is my worker and he spoke to my artiste wrongly, I slapped him because he crossed his boundary. My workers don’t speak with my artistes when I’m directing. The only person who has the right to talk to them is my production manager. And he was rude, even when the artiste was wrong. It’s crazy, but that was one of the rules of engagement.

If not a filmmaker what would you have become?

I would have been a soldier. They are principled and disciples, they don’t accept what they can’t offer and that’s the best way to life.

What is your advice to as­piring artistes?

You have to be knowledgeable of the profession and not coming into it, because you are looking for cheap recognition. When you are a professional in any area of your work, people will look for you, not you cutting corners. You need training to become successful in your chosen career. Original link
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