With ‘Last Three Digit’, Padita Agu Returns To The Silver Screen
IN the early years of Nollywood, around the 2000’s, there was a set of young and talented ladies that the industry threw up. These ladies, described then as ‘young stars of Nollywood’ were ready centres that producers hung stories on. They were the ones that the ‘girlie-girlie’ or ‘the new babe in town’ roles were reserved for. The delectable Padita Ada Agu was one of them. The fair complexioned actress and the others in the club of young stars including Funke Akindele, Georgina Onouha-Igwebe and Nkiru Sylvanus were everywhere on the silver screen. They sparkled and showed stuff.
But in the estimation of observers of the industry, it was Padita that shone more among her peers and fitted snugly into roles that she was cast to interpret. Observers say that she bumped so easily into the roles she interpreted in movies like Burning Heart, Beyond The Song, Into Temptation and Without Apology and that the petite looking actress and latter-day business entrepreneur made the roles seem as though they were developed with her in mind. Indeed Padita was believable as an actress and was roundly believed to be good at what she was doing.
Born in Katsina and raised in Katsina and Abuja, a reason she speaks Hausa language fluently, Padita, a trained theatre artiste hails from Imo State. She had her early education in Katsina and had her training in theatre arts at the University of Abuja. An alumnus of the acting sequence of the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, Padita revealed that she knew from age seven that she was going to end up in the arts because, as she noted, she grew up around the arts and had always been around the arts.
“I started off making crafts. I also used to draw. I grew up in the north so it was easy to find clay with which we molded stuffs. I could draw perfectly as a child even at seven. I also did some singing whilst in secondary school. That was from where my parents and siblings concluded that I was going to either be an actress, fine artist or singer and which was why there was no resistance from them when I eventually toed the line. So my life was all around arts and it would always be around the arts” she enthused.
Jovial and friendly even though her close friends say she is too reserved, Padita who was full of gratitude to her parents for supporting her career choice, hit the right notes when she starred in the epic movie, Egg of Life directed by Andy Amenechi. The movie was about seven ladies who were sent on an expedition to search for a solution for their ailing community. Padita played one of the ladies. Although observers all seem to agree that it was her participation in Egg of Life that shot Padita to limelight, the actress thinks that it was her participation in another well-received Nollywood production, Sisters Sister directed by Jude Okoye that first made her become noticeable. “Although Egg of Life went viral and established me as an actress, but it was actually Sisters sister that was shot in 2001 by Jude Okoye who is the manager of the Psquare singing group that made me become noticeable. That, to my mind, was my break out role”, she said.
Padita described the experience on the set of ‘Egg of Life’ as awesome. “It was a great experience working with a formidable crew led by Andy Amenechi and working with actors such as Nkiru Sylvanus, Chinelo Ndigwe and Oma Nnnadi. We spent a month on set. It was a good experience. We were like in a military camp. We were up by 6am and would remain on set till in the evening”, she recalled.
The success of ‘Egg of Life’ and a few others after it like ‘Surprise Mission’ and ‘Final Whistle’ meant that Padita would lap up scripts after scripts and that was what played out. She got calls to attend auditions and be part of movie productions. Things began to look good for Padita and her teeming fans until she disappeared from the scene around 2005.
“I pulled out in 2005 to go and study and grab other opportunities”, the star of ‘Nerdita’, a new sitcom on television explained. “I stepped out to complete my university degree, got into a relationship along the line and then went on to study acting and then later took a course in filmmaking. I returned in-between to do some work like ‘Marital Confusion’ but I ensured it didn’t distract me from the goal of equipping myself. But once I was done a bit with learning in 2012, I decided to come back and continue from where I stopped’’.
Padita’s come back performance apart from some telemovies she has done for the African Magic original film series is playing a lead in Moses Iwang’s comic movie, ‘Last Three Digit’. The movie opens in cinemas across the country from this weekend. “At least with this movie my fans will know that I have returned and it is for good. Let me just say that I am back and steady”.
But has she found her involvement in the world of make believe rewarding? Padita, who revealed that she is interested in the business of filmmaking, a reason she has decided to go into funding movie production, cut in: “It is a passion thing for me and not necessarily how much I have in my account.
I am passionate about the arts. Sometimes the image people have about actresses is enough to make you want to leave but you see, my love for this job goes beyond what people say or think. I love what I am doing, whether it is rewarding or not. It is what I love. I can’t even think of something else. I just love the arts”.
When Padita is not on set, she says she spends time at home taking care of her daughter. Her daughter? We asked because we never knew or heard that Padita was married let alone being a mother. “I have been married before. I actually changed my name then but I am back to my maiden name. I have been married. I left the marriage because it was not working for me. It was one of those experiences. Actually, that was what took me out of the industry. But when I am not busy, I take care of my daughter. I play with her. I also try to stay abreast of what is happening around me”.
Padita’s career ambition is to play a long game in the movie industry. She also wants to go into business. “I want to go into business and make money and then art will become an art for me. It is not a survival thing for me, it is a passion. I want to do it regardless of whether it is paying or not. I am going into business to be able to raise funds so that my ideas can come to life and so that I can give back to society. I believe that the reason why we co-habit on earth is to give back to each other. I love a peaceful world. I like to make people around me happy. Anything to make the world a happy place is my interest. For movie making, it’s a love that will never die,’’ she said.