Nollywood star, Jide-Kene Achufusi aka Swanky JKA, has called on stakeholders to respect ‘Asaba’ Nollywood films better.
The term, ‘Asaba’ films, refers to Nollywood movies produced from the South Eastern part of the country and mostly from Asaba and Enugu.
This section of the industry is, most times, looked down upon and its works labelled as below quality in terms of story production, which is a regular debate.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, Swanky recounted how his booming career began in Enugu where he was first auditioned and got cast.
He continued to make movies predominantly from that part of the industry until he was cast as lead actor in the sequel for the classic, ‘Living in Bondage’.
The actor maintains that there is no need to look down on that part of the industry as it birthed several veterans and stars, including himself.
Swanky said, “They are looked down upon by other creatives and that is where I am from. All my homework have been from there and all I am trying to do is to make relatable films.
“Asaba produced the films I watched growing up and it birthed the Ramseys, the Genevieves, the Pete Edochies and we are being looked down upon today.
“It is only a matter of time before we have the right kind of funding. People like Obi Emelonye and Charles Okpaleke are looking back home to grow the industry and invest,” he said.
Speaking on his role in ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking Free’, Swanky admitted that he knew the film was going to be a hit.
NAN reports that the sequel, which features some of the original cast, premiered to rave reviews in 2019 and finished its cinema run as one of the highest grossing films of the last decade.
He said, “I anticipated a worldwide fever. But am I surprised? No and it is not because I think this is not a big deal. I do not take the love of the fans for granted.
“However, the major reason I was not surprised was because of the amount of work, resources, passion and the kind of minds that were involved in the project. Ramsey Nuoah and Steve Gukas are something else,” he said.
Swanky played Nnamdi Okeke, the son of Andy Okeke who is at a crossroads regarding the ghost of his father’s occult past.
His portrayal of the role earned him massive applause but the actor maintains that he while he appreciates the support, he realised that the applause is as a result of being seen on a bigger platform.
He said, “The problem is you are a surgeon for nine years and you save lives every time in the local hospital where you work.
“All of a sudden, you perform CPR on a very important person in front of world and then everybody starts to call you a hero.
“I have been performing surgeries for a while now so it is not really surpiring. The difference is this was a very popular case,” he said.
NAN reports that Swanky has been nominated for ‘Best Actor’, a voting category in the upcoming Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards