Nollywood Divorces Needful-Actor Kalu Ikeagwu

British-Nigerian actor and writer, Kalu Egbui Ikeagwu in this chat with FRANCIS OGBONNA speaks on his career, family and his many charities among other issues, Enjoy…

Can you tell us a little more about yourself beyond the actor that we all know about?
My name is Kalu Ikeagwu; I am an actor, writer and producer. I am a fun loving person who loves living life to the full. It is not necessarily about partying everyday per se, but about getting the best out of everything you do, and getting the best out of everyone you have the opportunity to interact with. I like to travel and experience different peoples and cultures and this has helped tremendously with the work I put out on screen. That, I feel makes me an overall winner, neither part of my life suffers-the professional and the personal. I also enjoy doing charity, especially for a good cause.

Really! What type of charities do you do?
Though I don’t really like talking about in public, but I try to help orphans and motherless babies with part of my substance.

How often do you do this?
I actually work with a few organisations and try to do that regularly.

How did acting begin for you?
Acting began for me when I was six (6) years old. As a kid I had a very creative imagination, so I sort of nursed it as I grew older and when I got to the University, I just fell into it inadvertently.

So at what point did get into it professionally?
I actually started acting on stage, but TV started for me while I was in the university. I had a stint with NTA, though we earned a lot of money then acting for us was just something we engaged in socially, but afterwards I realised that it could actually help take care of me as a youth.
Can you remember the year you had the stint with NTA?
I can’t remember exactly, but it was a satire in anticipation of the democratic era that was coming afterwards, I went to England, returned in 2004 and that was when I started professionally.

And how has it been. Has it been rosy all the way or have you had some challenges that made you want to change your mind about acting?
I have had a few challenges, like I had to make a decision earlier on in my acting career, one of which is that I shouldn’t do a movie that my mother couldn’t watch. That sort of affected things for a while, because I just couldn’t do any film. I also had to make a decision to in between project or movies give myself a little time, so I can be able to immerse myself into character. The fall-out of that was that jobs. Stopped coming in the way they were supposed to. It was very challenging and at a point my siblings and mother kept urging me to return back to England. However, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I also had made up my mind that whatever happened I was going to stick to acting, because it was what I was created for. I told myself that I was going to be satisfied being of the pioneers, that is, even if I didn’t achieve anything else. And so far, I have had no cause to regret acting and it has given me a lot to be particularly thankful to God about.

Any particular reason why your folks kept urging you to come back to England? What it that they were averse to you acting like some parents would say that acting was beneath their kids or for no-do-gooder?
Regarding what I wanted to do, one thing I liked my father for is that he taught us (he is late now) to do is pursue and only get involved with things we believe in, so even though there were traditional professions e.g. Engineering, Medicine or law, that every parent would have wanted their kids to practice, my father would rather you practice what you find fulfillment in. However, the main reason why my mother wanted me to return to the UK was that at that time she though England will be a lot safer, because of the perceived insecurity in the country. More so, I lost my Aunt to the train bombing in London then and lost my dad my dad here in an accident within a tiny space of time, so it was understandable. Any caring mother would make such request, because they would want all their children around them.

Any regrets so far making that decision?
None whatsoever! In fact that decision has helped me found out the value of pursuing what one believes in above everything else it has shown me that God has given everyone of us a talent that we have the responsibility to discover, develop and deploy for the benefit of others and of course ourselves ultimately. When we do so, there will be no reason whatsoever, why we won’t succeed.

You have lived both in the UK and in Nigeria, I want to believe to believe you have also lived or at least visited some other cities in the world. Which would you say is the best spot for you, especially when it comes to relaxation?
Well regarding relaxation, the other places are good. I have lived in the UK, New and other places, York, Lusaka, Zambia. I wouldn’t want to say that Nigeria is the worst of them; we have a lot to offer, if we are ready to. Having said that, I will prefer living here in Nigeria than anywhere else in the world because, this is my home. If you live outside, one thing that will always remain at the back of your mind is that you are not part of that society, no matter how comfortable you are there. There is no place like home. Also all the blessings I have had in my life, God blessed me with them here in Nigeria. So Nigeria is home to me.

You are a very good looking man, who is also doing well in his chosen career. This ordinarily should attract fans to you, especially those of the opposite sex. How do you manage you female fans?
It is simple, everything I have was given to me, nothing that I have was I born with, except for the discovery part, as well as honing my skills. It was God who positioned me for success. Regarding my female fans and other well meaning fans, including the children, it’s just an attestation to the fact that my effort is being appreciated and an encouragement to do more. It also goes a long way to show that God has granted me favour before all these people, whom I should not take for granted. It should make me work more.

What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done to you?
A lot! I have seen fans do crazy stuffs ranging from sending offers of marriage to almost knocking off my feet when they come to greet me. There was one time when I was trying to buy a newspaper and a fan, a lady, out of excitement almost knocked me off the road. I literally had to jump off the way so as to avoid being run over by her. She was just excited and that’s humans for you. Excitement can make a person do the weirdest things.

Have you tried production before?
Yes I have. I did that in the US. I co-produced it and it was a really exciting and fulfilling experience. I look forward to doing more of that.

If you were not acting what would you have been doing?
I would be teaching.

Lecturing or just teaching?
Lecturing teaching or whatever…as long as it has to do with imparting knowledge…

Have you taught before?
Yes I have…

At what level?
I have taught in Secondary school and I have taught also in the University. That was in Ambrose Ali University. I taught Caribbean literature and Australian literature…

Have you been to or lived in Australia before?
No. I studied in Nigeria at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I also did a post graduate diploma course on Business management in the same university and a diploma in Computer programming.

What is the best film you have ever featured in?
I don’t have a best film, but I do have challenging ones e.g. the ‘Damage’. In it I was a wife-beater. I abused my spouse.

What is your best meal?
Akpu (Fufu) and Edikaikang or Afang…

Do you eat that often?
Unfortunately no! And that is because the person who used to do the Fufu the way I love it, that is my grandma is late and my cousin is very far away now. That makes it a sort of luxury for me. I don’t get to eat it until I have the opportunity to visit her.

Talking about family, what is your take on the high rate of divorce in your industry?
Well it is just a microcosm or a representation of what is happening in the larger society. The fact that it exist within our industry is a good thing, because it puts us in the spotlight and by so doing puts a spotlight on what is going on in the society at large. And that to me is something that we’ve to address, especially with the type of permissive culture that is creeping into our society.

Are you married?
Yes I am.

What attracted you to her?
She loves God a lot more than I do; she is great with managing finances and very honest. She is very intelligent as well and we are very compatible. Bottom-line, we both love each other very much.

Do you have kids already?
I have a daughter and we are very close.

Thanks for talking with us.