October 02, 2015

Browny Igboegwu "I Never Dreamt of Becoming an Actor"

Browny Igboegwu

Hard-faced but handsome Nollywood dude, Browny Igboegwu, is one actor that has started claiming his rightful position in the job-for-many entertainment industry, the Nollywood, which ranks almost in the same position with India’s Bollywood, if not the Hollywood. This fine actor has appeared in many films that one might have lost count in an attempt to know the number of flicks he has featured in. The Nollywood buff was with  Oge Ezeliora at Asaba, Delta State, and he shed light on his passion for glass cups, his accidental entry into the industry, his mother’s reaction to his hair plaiting, how he met his loving wife and the coming awards ceremony in the United States of America where he has been nominated. It is vintage Browny at his ‘raw’ best...
• My Mother Felt Bad when I Started Plaiting My Hair
Recently you were nominated by Afrifilmo, which is Africa Award & Film/Music Festival as the Best Actor for 2015 on People’s Choice Category. How were you able to achieve this?
Well, all glory be to God. I believe it’s my time to shine and God really showered me favour.

Tell us more about it. What was the award all about and how did it get to you?
It is called Afrifilmo, which is Africa Award & Film/Music Festival 2015.It has different categories. They have the People Choice Vote and Legendary Vote categories, where you have best actor and best actress as well as best legendary actor and actress. I fall into the People’s Choice Category  where you have actors like Fedrick Leonard, Uti Nwachukwu, Ken Henries, Yul Edochie, Majid Michel, Prince David Osei and my humble self. Coming to how I was nominated for the award. It was a bit surprising to me reason being that I was busy canvassing for another colleague when another colleague of mine told me that I was among the nominees. And I was far ahead other nominees; already having 11,000 votes and some fraction votes before the end of voting. I couldn’t just believe myself. The nominees were all from Africa, including those based in America who I would rather consider to be African descent.

When is the award taking place?
It will take place from October from 1 to October 3 but the award night proper is on October the 2nd.

Do you see yourself reaping heavily from the award?
Oh, I am on top of the world; something I thought was exclusively for the big names. I mean those who feel it can never be anybody but themselves only. I was so glad I was nominated. I am not after the monetary attachment, but the fact that I am nominated on the account of my input into the Nollywood industry.

Let us digress a little from the award. Why are you always on the hard line in the many of the flicks you have appeared in?
Yes, when I am not acting the bad boy. I am acting the stubborn child, wicked husband or simply being a bully. In Jaja of Opobo for instance, I acted as Inspector Femi where I played the role of a force man trying to sabotage the efforts of my colleagues, showing how the police connive with ghetto people to jeopardise the efforts of some good officers.

Aside the movies, what else do you have to showcase?
I have the Brownsburg Foundation I have been floating for two years now. Here we take care of motherless babies, widows, destitute and I am planning a talent hunt for people in Anambra and Delta States. And I am also running a photo studio called Brownsburg Studio at Benizia Hotel here in Asaba, Delta State and I thank my great fans most sincerely for nominating me.

Are you single or married?
I am married to a beautiful woman called Becky.

What actually attracted you to your wife?
She is a very caring woman, intelligent, God fearing, generous and honest. I mean she is a mother, a friend, a companion and somebody who can stand by you in any situation, most especially when you are in trouble. She is my strength.  Any time I need her she is there for me. That was the first thing that got me attracted to her. And when I went deeper, I discovered she is a wonderful person that cannot be let go; so I married her.

Where did you meet her at first?
In Asaba, here in Delta State. I met her in a bar with my friends. I actually came to shoot a movie in Asaba and she is from this state. So we became friends through her brother who is also my friend.  I actually met her in a joint where my friends and I went to hang out. So I realised she is an elder sister to one of my friends coincidentally after approaching her, from there we became very close.

How did you get into acting?
I found myself in Nollywood by accident. I never intended to act. I never dreamt of becoming an actor, I just got into it   I actually came to Asaba to celebrate my birthday and my friend decided to take me out. After hanging out till late night, we ran into some people shooting a movie. Then we stopped by to watch them. I noticed my friend was the director of the movie so we exchanged pleasantries. We later noticed that one of the actors was not playing the role given to him properly and the director who happened to be my friend was complaining bitterly. So I told my friends I can do better than the guy that he is not a good actor. Immediately, the director heard my voice and invited me to act the role. I played it properly and I was paid a huge amount of money.  I was shocked because I didn’t know actors were paid well. I just told my friends that I have found myself a very good business. That was how I became an actor.

What kind of role did you play?
A cultist role.

How did you play the role even though you never acted before? Are you a cultist?
(Laughs) Like I said before, I’m naturally born actor.

So how has it been? Can you talk about the journey so far?
It has not been easy, but I thank God for where I am today. May His name be praised. I will not tell you the journey has been so smooth because you understand the system we are operating in this country. But with God, all things are possible. Sincerely, I have not achieved anything each time I take a second look at myself but I am better than what I used to be. I give God the praise.

The industry is highly competitive and every day we see new faces. How do you intend to cope with competitors and what will be your staying power?
I don’t really see this as a very big challenge because I am very hard working. Anything I do in my life I take it serious. I am not a lazy actor and that is why you see me everywhere. Every day, I work on myself, I do a lot of research. I go back to my old movies and correct the mistake I made. I try as much as possible to change my diction, the way I speak, my reactions to situations when I am acting, my relationship with people and many things about me.  And I have improved seriously. So I don’t think I have any problem with upcoming actors.

Nollywood as an industry has a lot of challenges. Ever since you started acting, can you share some the challenges you have ever encountered?
So many and believe me, God has sustained me. It is not by power or might. We actors go through a lot in the hands of movie directors. They can be so frustrating. Some even go as far as not paying you after working and if you don’t reach a very good agreement with them, they may not invite you for another role. Sometimes, you might get a script on getting to the location you will discover that it is totally different from what they asked you to act and you will be confused on the role. If I keep mentioning the challenges we actors face, you will get tired of Nollywood. Just believe it that we are equal to the task. If not, many of us would have left the industry or switch to another business.

Which movie actually brought you to the lime light?
The movie is called Marry Me. That was the movie that actually made me famous.

Who produced the movie?
Aka God Investments and it was directed by Ikechukwu Odife

How many movies have you acted in and how long have you been in the industry?
Over five years now and I have acted in more than 60 movies. Right now, I have lost count.

Many of your colleagues after acting for a while turn to production. Are you producing your own movie soon?
I do not really want to get into production. I am basically an actor and if ever there is anything I want to delve into, it will be directing and that will be basically towards the period I want to retire from the screen.

You are going to retire from acting?
Everyone gets to a point where you need to do something new after doing one thing for some time. Besides, a time will come when shuttling from one location to another will become boring. So at that time, for me, I will fall back into film directing.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
One guy saw me one day and said my grandmother hates you and he was damn serious. You needed to have seen the look on his face that day. He told me that it was for a role I played in one movie where I played the young Peter Edochie and I was beating my wife mercilessly until she lost her pregnancy and all that. Because of the kind of roles I play, lot of people think I am a bad boy but I am not.
Do you see yourself as a very fashionable person because I notice you look like a model?
Well, I started as a model but am not too crazy about fashion so I dropped the modeling thing.  I just love looking good and I dress according to events. I am not loud when it comes to dressing. I don’t dress to kill. I am just simple.

What do you cherish most in your home aside your wife?
(Laughs) I am passionate about my glass cups and my shoes. I love these two things so much. Sincerely, if you break my glass cups you will pay for it. If you give me a glass cup as a gift, you have bought me over. So am crazy about lovely glass cups.

Some people said you are not friendly. How true is this?
That is their problem. All I can say it that I am blunt. I hate fake people and lies. I guess that is why people think am not friendly. But I am a jolly good fellow.

What were your parents’ reactions when you went into acting?
When I started acting, my father was already late and my mother was not comfortable with it, especially when I started plaiting my hair. She was asking when I started such stuff. Sometimes, when some girls come to our compound to make my hair, she will be sort of upset. But when it started going out well she was forced to start liking it. Even my siblings asked me: ‘After all the years you spent studying in the university, you now want to start acting’. But with time, everybody learnt to let me be.

And you continued in spite the side talks from family members?
I felt it was my calling and my vocation. I also felt the need to pass on messages to the society and to correct some societal ills and misdemeanour. So I was not discouraged at all. I just forged ahead. I thank God for where I am today because some of those friends and siblings who felt I should not be acting now came back to me to tell me that I have done them proud.

How do you handle advances from female fans?
Cordial and I try my best not to embarrass myself and to keep the relationship the way it is supposed to be. You know that nowadays, young girls like to embarrass stars but I have tried to keep a good relationship with them as fans and that has been helping me.
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