I DON’T KNOW WHY THEY GIVE ME SEXY ROLES – BIMBO AKINTOLA
Following her memorable outing in Tade Ogidan's award winning movie, Owo Blow, and Richard Mofe-Damijo's Out of Bound, delectable actress, Bimbo Akintola became a sought-after act for most Nigerian filmmakers.
In fact, her roles in the two movies fetched her the 1999 Best Actress from the stables of Reel Awards. She has since featured prominently in most Nollywood movies, playing lustful roles with a heart-warming sensuality that is quite exciting as it is subtly wild.
At the just concluded Zuma International Film Festival in Abuja, Akintola again clinched the coveted Elsie Olusola's Best Actress Prize, beating two others with her outstanding role in a movie tagged: Senseless. Her success came on the heels of Festival Director, Edmund Peters,' declaration that ZUMA 2008 was aimed at discovering new and emerging talents among whom Akintola is a leading figure.
Although she was not physically present in Abuja to receive the award, the Unibadan-trained theatre artiste added yet another feather to her cap in her acting career. Her victory, along with others who won in diverse categories and from different backgrounds, vindicated the theme, Films Without Borders, which Afolabi Adesanya, Managing Director and Chairman Organising Committee, described as “a synergy of creative energies towards a desirable harmony that will connect global film productions to the mutual benefit of mankind''.
Acting for Bimbo Abiola Bukola Aina Onoyigbe Mary-Ann Akintola, the third child in a family of six comes naturally.
Born to a Muslim cleric father and mother who is into business, Bimbo is an easy going theatre personality. She likes company; loves reading and singing. But she has a phobia for dogs and reptiles. It was while attending the Maryland Convent Private School for her primary education, that it all started.
As pupils, Bimbo and her peers acted for the school's end-of-year drama events. The more she took part in plays, the greater her passion for acting. So, when she got into Command Day Secondary School, Lagos, acting became for her, an easy kill.
In fact, her passion for acting took her to study Theatre Arts; even against her father's wish. She said: "My father didn't want me to act at all. He wanted me to study Law or Medicine. He is a very protective person and so he did all he could to discourage me. But I held on to my dream because I have always had a great love for acting. I took the decision because I never saw myself doing anything else. I felt I would be happier as an actor even though my father thought it wasn't the right kind of profession for me. But today, I am happy that he is pleased with what I am doing. In fact, he is my most ardent fan". But well before her graduation at the University of Ibadan, Bimbo had been involved in a number of stage productions.
"I had been doing many stage productions while in school and had even done one or two movie and television productions. I had my time filled up with acting while in Ibadan until a friend (Bassey Okon - an actor) came and invited me to Lola Fani- Kayode's audition in Lagos. Lola was recruiting actors for her soap, Mind Bending.
"Well, I got there, read and Auntie Lola found me fit and gave me a role. After that, Niyi Wuraola, who worked on the set of that soap invited me again to participate in another audition. This time, it was in Tade Ogidan's award winning movie: Owo Blow. He was recruiting talents for the movie, so I was invited for audition. I went there auditioned and got a role in the movie'' explained Bimbo.
On a number of negative reactions to her roles, the actress had this to say: "At the time I acted in Out of Bound, I was paid well. I think the way I cope with people's reaction is different. Mostly, when people come up to me to comment or to complain, I just listen. If I am less busy, I would take time to explain details to them.
"For me, it's that part of acting which I have to cope with. It's not something that I am fond of but I have got used to it in a way. I have learnt to live with people's interpretation of the roles I play in movies. Oh! Some people said I overacted and that it was over exaggerated.''
Bimbo explained further that much as her involvement in that movie swelled her bank accounts by a few thousands, it also came with some negative reactions.
Nevertheless, she described her performance in Out of Bounds and Widows as her most challenging works. She picked the two out of a long list of movie credits including Owo Blow, The Gardener, The Contractors, Back To Life, Armada, Diamond Ring, Temi ni Toto, Husband and Wife, Heart and Soul and Ejemi.
Asked to draw a line between her real person and her role in movies, Akintola said: “I haven't done much on stage recently but I did one with Chuck Mike sometimes ago. It was entitled: Death and the Maiden. The cast was made up of three characters - Bimbo Manuel, Keppy Ekpeyong and I. Oh!, that play wrecked me. I haven't had it that terrible before. In fact, I swore after the production that I wasn't going to take up such a very complex script any longer. I couldn't just lay hold on the character. The character I played went through a whole lot of emotions, which I could not easily comprehend. It wasn't just like the role I played in Widows or even the role I played in Out Of Bounds. I could relate with these easily without going through the kind of mental torture I went through trying to find meaning to my role in Death and the Maiden.
Meanwhile, the actress absolved herself of blame for playing sleazy roles. Rather, she blamed producers who would insist on having her play such roles. "Please help me ask them (producers) why they cast me for such roles...I act for a living and would pick up a script once I believe that what I am going to do is right before me and all those around me. But I have taken up roles outside that and no one has commented… I am an actress and I would accept roles, so far it is right and someone is ready to pick up the bills'.
Bimbo also disclosed the source of her inspiration and her role models “ I derive inspiration from God...from myself, Bimbo and, from Joke Silva. Oh, I love that woman. She is one damn good actress. She is exceptionally creative. I long to star with her in a stage or screen production. Oh, she is lovely. I have a lot of respect for her just as I have for Auntie Toun Oni, Mama Buki Ajayi and the big one of them all, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett".