By Benjamin Njoku
On the surface of things, one may contend that Patience Ozokwor in real life ought not to be separated from the wicked roles she plays in movies. The actress’ critics also behold her as ‘a pantomime villain’ who derives joy in inflicting pain on her victims. And in this way, she merits neither recognition nor affirmation.
This submission, however, becomes valid based on the simple ideology that there’s no way a movie star cannot leave part of his/her ‘ inner-character’ in any role he or she is playing in movies. These are correct in a way. But Patience Ozokwor insists that she should not be judged based on her wicked roles in movies as it’s only make-believe.
Ozokwor, fondly called Mama G overtime had been stigmatized, criticized. But the undaunted actress believes that the best way to expose the antics of poor tradition and bad behvaiour in the human society is to replica the same in movies. Though her name is regularly associated with wickedness and controversies, no thanks to her compelling role in movies. In real life, Ozokwor is a true mother and an actress with a large heart. One cannot ignore the fact that this movie icon has brought happiness and joy to many homes across Nigeria and the world at large through her movies.
The Enugu-based actress once defended her wicked roles in movies, saying “I am proud of it because it complements my passion of preaching the Word of God against bad behaviour and poor traditions in Nigeria, Africa and the world as a whole.”
Continuing, she maintained that “the secret of movie production is to play your roles to the best of your abilities. If they cast you as a prostitute, then play a convincing prostitute and you will succeed. This is what has put me where I am.”
She further went on to say that any actor worth his salt should be able to deliver on whatever role he or she is given to play. “For people to be so affected by the roles I have played means that I did a good job in interpreting the characters I was given. However, I wouldn’t like to pass wrong messages to anyone through my movies. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I am a simple person who doesn’t like to interfere in other people’s lives.”
“Sometimes, I cry when I watch some of the movies I acted in. I am nothing like that and you can never see me where wicked acts are being perpetuated. If anybody close to me does something wrong, I will not shield the person. Like I have said several times, I am an actress and every character I have ever played ended on the set,” she was quoted as saying in an interview.
While an actor rarely chooses what role to play, Ozokwor, said she believed that her performances in most of her earliest movies influenced many producers to give me such parts in movies. Her roles in such movies as “Submission,” “Old School,” “Authority,” “Behind Closed Doors,” “Private Sin,” “Area Mama G”, “ The Evil Clock”, “ Seed of Discord”among others are still talked about in many quarters. She’s also best known for delivering the perfect ‘wicked mother-in-law’ character interpretation. Among the daring actresses in Nollywood, she’s tipped as the most consistent and highly stereotyped one.
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But beyond her acclaimed ‘wicked roles’, Mama G remains an impossible figure whose other sides are hidden from the public eye.
The actress once confessed in an interview that aside her stereotyped roles in movies, she’s also highly romantic and has a human face. “If I am in love with you, you will know; I can’t hide it. Everybody around will know I am in love with you. I don’t go jumping from one man to the other but if I have feelings for you, everybody around will know that you are the man.”
“All the same, because I don’t kiss in movies doesn’t mean that if such occasions come up, I wouldn’t
have done something like that but God just shut that side for me and I never had any reason to kiss somebody. You know, I am always on the cantankerous side. Such people don’t kiss and they don’t do romance. The kind of roles I play actually help me not to get to all that,” the actress said.
Judging from the time Mama G shot into limelight in 1999, after starring in the movie “Authority, the actress has remained a reference point in the Nigerian movie industry. Her commitment, consistency and dedication to her craft has continued to endear her to her trimming fans scattered all over the world.
With no scandal hanging around her neck, in an industry where it thrives like buying and selling, it goes without saying that Mama G is a true queen mother of the big screen in Nigeria. Many believed that the screen idol has carved out a niche for herself in the industry, and since making her acting debut, she has not disappeared into thin air for one day. Her openness and non-discriminate attitude towards the disadvantaged aspiring and young acts are part of the qualities that stand her out among her contemporaries.
Like the proverbial golden fish, Mama G has no hiding place as she’s involved in so many things to put body and soul together. Few years back, she tried her hand at music when she released an album which was a hit at a time. The album contained songs such as ‘Ihe Neme N’uwa, ‘Iyo Ngwo Ngwo’, ‘Adaeze’, ‘Make We Jolly’ and ‘National Moi Moi.’ But unfortunately, like other failed actors-turned- musicians, including Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Tonto Dikeh, Cossy Orjiakor among others, Mama G could not sustain her foray into music. But that does not mean that she has not excelled in other areas of life. In fact, the most important thing that is currently happening to her life is her new found faith.
Since she gave her life to Christ, and has been passionate about her new life after she was ordained as an Evangelist, Mama G has been busy, going about preaching in various churches and crusades on her life changing encounter with the Lord. Notwithstanding this development, it’s believed not to be the beginning of the end of Mama G’s acting career. There are indications that her new found faith may in a way obstruct her chances of accepting to play her usual infamous roles in movies. But then, it’s rare for ‘a leopard to change its spots.’
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