93 Days: Like Ameyo Adadevoh, like Bimbo Akintola
Three members of House on the Rock Cathedral inspired this piece on the fiery actress, Bimbo Abiola Bukola Aina Onoyigbe Mary-Ann Akintola.
They spent considerable time at the parking lot discussing the internationally acclaimed movie on Ebola, titled 93 Days, which premiered right inside the cathedral last Tuesday.
For most of the time that they stood by their cars to review the epic docu-drama, which also premiered at the just held Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the talk was on Bimbo Akintola’s beatific acquittal of the role of the heroine, Ameyo Adadevoh, in that 90 something minutes movie with the signature of the dependable Steve Gukas.
In fact, the reviewers concluded that when the movie opens in cinema across the country from September 16, Bimbo’s performance in the movie would be one reason it would be hailed in the acting department.
They felt, and rightly too, that Bimbo bumped herself snugly into character and gave a surreal performance that can only rival her acquittal of the role of Tutu in Richard Mofe Damijo’s Out of Bounds (Bimbo’s debut outing on screen) or her performance in Jimi Odumosu’s The Mourning After.
One of the reviewers said: “Her delivery was powerful. It was top notch.”
The only lady among the reviewers admitted that she almost thought she was watching footages of the last moment of the late doctor.
“Bimbo played the role so well that for most part of the film, I thought the real Adadevoh had resurrected.
“No, that lady (bimbo) can pass for Adadevoh in real life. She really studied the woman. It was more than mere acting,” the reviewer enthused.
But it was just make believe. Like other roles she has interpreted in her eventful and shinning career that has spanned almost two decades, Bimbo only exhibited competence as an actress.
It was the competence that she exhibited that made the role believable.
Clearly, Bimbo not only delivered the role with unerring skills, she also made playing ‘Ameyo Adadevoh’ look as if Gukas and the other producers of the movie- Bolanle Austen-Peters and Dotun Olakurin- commissioned the writer to write the script with Bimbo in mind.
Bimbo was exceptional in the role of Ameyo Adadevoh, a role she said she felt honoured and privileged to play.
“I felt honoured playing the role and bringing to life what this amazing woman lived and died for,” she said of her role in the movie that is a fitting tribute to those who died trying to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Nigeria.
“This is a woman (the late Mrs. Adadevoh), who gave her all to save lives, and others who didn’t survive the Ebola scourge were selfless. They knew that staying around a victim wasn’t safe, but they stayed and took care of the patient.
“That was a huge sacrifice and sometimes I ask myself whether it was something I could have done. It is difficult to answer really. It takes a lot of courage,” she added.
But playing the role didn’t come easy for Bimbo, as she revealed. “I have never met or heard about Mrs. Adadevoh until this whole Ebola thing popped up. There was even no video clip of her I could watch.
“Most of what I know of her was what I was told by those who were close to her, like family and staff- and I saw some of her pictures at home and at work. But, of course, that does not tell you much about the person.
“What helped was that I spoke to a lot of people who knew her, including her son, friends and staff, and they told me of this caring, principled, courageous, free spirited, cheerful super woman they all miss.
“They talked about her strength and the fact that she can give up sleep to ensure that the next person was okay.
“All those information about her person helped me to play the role.”
She continued: “In terms of emotional moments, a very emotional moment for me was once when we were shooting at First Consultant and her staff started sobbing as soon as they saw me in costume and make up. She must have really touched lives.
“I regret not meeting her in person when she was alive.”
An actress of many credits, who is one of the few Nollywood screen actors that can be described as ‘timeless,’ Bimbo’s Nollywood story is not difficult to tell.
Standby… roll tape… action… Flash back to the 90s. Recall the beautiful damsel that erupted like a volcano and etched herself in the memory of many playing Tutu in that groundbreaking movie, Out of Bound?
Well, that damsel is Bimbo, who with that outing, which was her first real feel of the screen acting turf, earned her a place on the list of acting showbiz personalities with commendable depth.
Today, the seductive Tutu in Out of Bounds and star of critically acclaimed flicks, like Owo Blow, The Gardener, Armadas, Diamond Ring, Eje Mi, Temi ni Toto, Keeping Faith and several television soaps, like Family Ties and Mind Bending has risen to now be referred to as an actress in the professional class and one of the most sought after actresses in the Nigerian movie industry.
Born to a father who is a renowned Islamic scholar and a mother who is an entrepreneur, Bimbo, third child in a family of six, studied Theatre Arts and majored in Acting at the University of Ibadan.
But it was back at Maryland Covent Private School in Lagos that the interest to act grew for Bimbo, who has phobia for dogs, likes company and loves reading and singing.
As pupils, Bimbo and her mates were used as ready actors for the school end-of-the-year drama event.
The interest, as she recalled, grew and caught on there so much so that when she got into Command Day Secondary School, Lagos, she found acting more like what food and sleep is to man.
But it was when Bimbo was admitted into the university that her passion for acting peaked.
The recipient of a number of industry awards, including the REEL Award Best Actress of the Year (1999), recalled how she engaged the raised platform at the Arts Theatre in Ibadan and how she took part in a couple of skits on radio and television back then at the Oyo State Broadcasting Service.
Still single and interestingly ‘not searching,’ as she has stated several times past, Bimbo, who is unpretentiously friendly, but who revealed that she “picks her friends from the heart,” admitted having featured in well over a 100 movies and television production, both in English and Yoruba.
Her involvement as an actress in a couple of Yoruba movies is the reason she is described as a crossover artiste.
But of these movies, Bimbo, who prefers listening to any music that is “pleasant to the ears,” picked her outing in Out of Bounds and 93 Days as her most challenging movie run yet.
Any regrets? And Bimbo, who is easily attracted to “honest, very plain, easy, nice and people with integrity,” quickly replied: “No regrets at all. I have enjoyed every bit of my stay and time in the industry.
“I personally don’t regret anything and I hardly harbour regrets, because I learn so much from my mistakes.
“So, I am happy here. After all, this is all I wanted to do, I mean acting and being an entertainer.”