The name Nnaemeka Charles Eze, might not ring a bell but his nickname, Nani Boi has become a household name for lovers of books and Nigerian movies. The Enugu state born graduate of Geology from University Of Nigeria, Nsukka is a proflic movie producer and author, who boasts of over 50 story books, with over 10 of them adapted into movies. In this interview with MUTIAT ALLI, Nani Boi reveals how the journey to stardom started for him and how veteran actors, Pete Edochie and Ernest Obi turned his career around.
Can you tell us more about Nani Boi?
My full names are Nnaemeka Charles Eze. A native of Orba in Udenu L.G.A of Enugu state. I’m a graduate of Geology from University Of Nigeria, Nsukka. A writer and publisher of over 50 story books/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 Mr. Raw, Kcee, Storm Rex, Zoro, Dekumzy, Splash, Slow Dog etc. I am 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
How long have you been writing and doing movies?
It’s been long. Since 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 etc. Which movie brought you to limelight? Mummy Why which is an adaptation of one of my books. I receive calls every day from people even 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 etc. It’s actually a star-studded movie.
How then do you get your inspirations?
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. So you turn most 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 am 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 etc.
You have worked with several movie stars, who are your favourites?
All of them are my favourites oh. 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 her ‘Kedike’ video. She looked so innocent and harmless. Then, I have always admired Genevieve though. 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. So why do you think marriages are crashing? 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 film maker and author?
The calls I get from people pressurizing 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 etc.
You know how our films have turned into something else, lack of in-depth; what do you think should be done?
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, and 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 the government should come in at this point in time.
Tell us about Nani boi people out there don’t really know about?
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
Do you have a new project?
Yes its titled “Wrong Initiation”. It’s an action movie that will open the eyes of our youths on the reality of cultism. 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.
I learnt you are very popular in your state, are you planning to join politics?
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.
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