by Kolapo Olapoju
Nollywood icons, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Genevieve Nnaji are unarguably the leading ladies of the Nigerian film industry, and many believe the pair are involved in a professional rivalry.
Although, there has been no indications from either of the actresses to suggest they might have a rivalry, many believe the pair are not exactly best of friends.
Movie director, Charles Novia, has inadvertently fanned the flame of their ‘supposed rivalry’, with a recent post on his Facebook page, where he congratulated the Nollywood recipients of the Nigerian National Awards.
Kenneth Nnebue, Joke Silva and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde were given national honours by the President, and Novia sought to make comparisons between Omotola and Genevieve’s acting skills.
On Omotola, he wrote, “Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde is known to many. Her acting prowess is arguably in a class by itself and her being nominated as one of the world’s 100 most influential persons by TIME magazine a couple of years back must have paved the way for her present national recognition by the Federal Government. Frankly speaking, I personally think she has more depth in acting than her ‘rival’ Genevieve Nnaji. I have worked with both of them in the past and also studied their acting styles. Omotola has the gift of role immersion. She gives everything into her characters. There is an organic style of interpretation she is gifted with. Very few actors have that. She Is not a Method Actor, mind you but she has delivered roles which many method actors would give her a standing ovation for.”
Meanwhile, Genevieve did not get such glowing comments as her rival-actress. Novia wrote, “Genevieve, on the other hand, is a fantastic actress and a trend – setting one too. But she lacks the intrinsic ability to evolve artistically beyond her present heights in her career. That is my opinion. There is an underlying stereotype in her interpretation of her roles in many of her movies; a linear aloofness and veiled disdain at the thought of being pushed further down the exploratory lane. Of course she has an uncanny screen presence which generally veils her artistic shortcomings when it comes to acting and between her and her rivals, she comes tops on the fan base list. However, with an attitude which seems to say she has nothing more to prove, even the fans would become restless if new artistic exploits are not offered from her to which they can beat their chests.”
Novia, however, added a caveat to his post, saying it was not an attempt to rekindle old rivalries between the actresses.
“And for fans of both actresses, this is a professional review of their acting abilities and not an attempt to rekindle old rivalries. Somehow, this post on the National Honours dove tailed into their artistry. All well and good.”