I’ll Preserve Igbo Culture With Movies –Atuanya | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I’ll Preserve Igbo Culture With Movies –Atuanya

Posted: Feb 23, 2016 at 9:44 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Zeal Chigozie Atuanya is one of the few Nollywood personalities who has managed to combine acting, producing and entrepreneurship. And he is making out well.  His latest indigenous movie production, Chetanna, was successfully premiered in different cities in the United States of America and in Awka, the heart of Anambra State. Endowed with striking good looks and creative ingenuity, Zeal as he is fondly called, was courted by the advertising world to feature in prints and electronic media campaigns. Evident enough was his appearance in Delta Soap Television commercial that ruled the airwaves in 2002 which further stimulated his meteoric rise to relevance in the entertainment industry. He is happily married to Obinauju and was recently blessed with a beautiful baby girl he christened Chikaima Atuanya. The Nri- Anambra State born multi- talented actor regardless of his fame and fortune is as humble as a dove as well garnished with a good sense of humor. In this interview with RITA OKOYE, he tells his success story, life as father and more about his wave making movie, Chetanna.

How was Valentine and how did you spend it?
For me, every day is Valentine. But anyway I try as much as I can to always be at home with my wife every February 14th.
As an actor, I always travel around to movie locations, yet squeeze out time to be with my lovely wife and baby girl.
That day was a good Sunday, I know I had a sumptuous meal prepared by my wife and we spent all day together. Nothing really special.

Now that you have digressed from being an actor to a movie producer, what prompted the decision?
It is a normal thing for actors to feel they can marry the two or veer into movie production after being in the industry for a while. It is the best way to express yourself. Maybe you have a great story idea you want to sell to your people and they best way to do it is to produce you own films.
Basically, for me, the passion to resurrect our dying Igbo language prompted my going into movies production. Chetanna is an Igbo movie and it is doing quite well. I am also ready to shoot another one that is indigenous too.

What’s the movie Chetanna all about?
Chetanna is not just a normal story, it is not fiction, it is a true life story. It is an inspirational story, filled with messages. The movie is the gripping tale of an American returnee whose unbridled past in America has come to haunt his present in Africa. A marriage gone sour; greed gives way to unprovoked vendetta and deep-rooted deceit until nemesis comes knocking while true love is caught in the web of mindless scheming.
So far, it has been globally accepted and I got nods for doing a good ingenious movie. Chetanna has also won several awards; Golden Icons Academy Movie Awards (GIAMA) CISA 2014,  ZAFAA, BON 2015, Nollywood Germany Award 2015  and AMVCA 2016 nomination under the category of best indigenous movie.

How has it been marrying acting with movie productions?
I had a co-producer who helped out in so many ways. I also made sure I worked with my colleagues who are very close to me.
It was a good team work. I had to give lots of privileges to the co-producer to enable me concentrate and fit into the Character I played in the movie.  You won’t see me shout on set or overreact over certain things, because I have programmed the whole production to favour us all.
What also helped me was that I have been in the movie industry for a very long time, so I know how producers run their shows.

You are married and now a proud father, how does that make you feel?
I was born into a family of five boys and a girl. So, I was used to having boys around me. Now I have a girl as my first daughter. It wasn’t easy for my parents to raise five boys. My wife travelled to USA to deliver our bundle of joy. We live in Lagos. I feel so happy and fulfilled to be a proud father.

What do you think should be done to make celebrities’ marriages last?
Let me be sincere to you. Any marriage that would be, would be. Any one that would not be, would not be. If my wife wants our marriage to be, it would be. If she doesn’t want it to, then it would not be. If you want to keep your home, you have to stop listening to rumours. Let the wives learn to encourage their husbands than nagging all the time.
First of all, it is good to have God as a good foundation. With him as the solid rock that holds your home, it would surely last. Then tolerance is another strong point to attain a peaceful home. Marriage is a combination of two different people, from different backgrounds who came together to live as one. Sometimes, we have to learn to overlook.

How do you cope with female fans, as a cute actor?
Well, that is one thing people use to deceive themselves. Because they call you a fine boy, you are proud of the title. For me, to be a fine boy is your pocket. Nkem Owoh once ‘yabbed’ me because of that, but it was in a movie. He said to me, “they call you fine boy, but you don’t have money and you are fine with the title’. That word stuck in my head. No money, no fine boy.

As a Nollywood practitioner how has this present economy of the country affected you?
The present situation of the economy is affecting all and sundry, nobody is exempted. I know we have to fight corruption, but obviously that seems to be the major target of our President and other needs of the masses are neglected. Everybody is crying of same thing, Naira is depreciating, food stuffs are going higher, foreign investors are gradually pulling off. How long will this continue? Everybody wants corruption to be eradicated, but not at the expenses of our well-being. Let the president find a solution to all these.