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In Memory: 8 Memorable Roles by Amaechi Muonagor

In Memory: 8 Memorable Roles by Amaechi Muonagor

While he was a supporting actor for most of his career, his scenes were memorable and a huge comic relief for many people. 

By Joseph Jonathan 

Still reeling from the loss of John Okafor (Mr Ibu), the Nigerian film industry was thrown into another row of mourning after receiving the news of the demise of Amaechi Muonagor who passed on Sunday, March 24, 2024, at the age of 61 – a news that sent shockwaves throughout the country. 

With a career spanning over three decades, Muonagor left an undeniable mark on the Nigerian film industry. He captivated audiences with dramatic performances, leaving them in stitches with his comedic timing. He was an actor dedicated to his craft, and this shone through in every role. While he was a supporting actor for most of his career, his scenes were memorable and a huge comic relief for many people. 

To celebrate his remarkable career, and honour his legacy, Afrocritik has compiled a list of his most memorable roles, each a testament to his versatility and enduring impact on the industry. 

Daddy Jonathan – Karishika (1996)

Amaechi Muonagor - Memorable roles - Afrocritik

Amaechi Muonagor’s portrayal of Daddy Jonathan in Karishika, a film now considered a cornerstone of Nollywood’s horror-thriller genre, stands as proof of his early brilliance. Stepping into only his second role in the industry, Muonagor embodied the character of Daddy Jonathan, a spiritualist who specialised in helping women with fertility issues. His brief but captivating performance not only established Muonagor as a rising star but also paved the way for his subsequent roles.  

Aguiyi – Ukwa (2001)

Ukwa

While Nkem Owoh might have been the star of the film as its titular character, it is the character of Muonagor as Aguiyi (Ukwa’s elder brother) that is indeed multilayered. Aguiyi is a committed family man who would do anything to please his wife. He is the pride of his father, but he also has an antagonist relationship with his brother. This complicated relationship takes a different turn when he brings his brother from the village to live with him in the city, thus setting off the plot of the film. 

Mbakwe – Aki ná Ukwa (2002)

Aki na Ukwa - Wikipedia

In Aki na Ukwa, Muonagor stars as Mbakwe, the hapless father of the troublesome duo, Aki (Chinedu Ikedieze) and Pawpaw (Osita Iheme). He aptly portrays the frustration and helplessness of the character in a way that elicits both laughter and sympathy from the audience. It is also worthy to note that Aki ná Ukwa launched the careers of Ikedieze and Iheme. 

Ndukwe – 2 Rats (2003) 

Two Rats

Nigerians always talk about wicked uncles and this makes me wonder whether they got the idea from Muonagor’s character as Ndukwe in 2 Rats. In this film, Ndukwe murders his brother and takes over his property. As if that were not enough, he turns his nephews, Aboy (Osita Iheme) and Bobo (Chinedu Ikedieze) to houseboys in their own father’s house. This sets off a chain of reactions from the boys as they become a torn in his flesh, hence the title of the film. Muonagor is so convincing in his role that if it were your first time of watching his film, you’d think he was indeed wicked in reality. 

Ejike – Meet the In-Laws (2016)

Meet The In Laws

In Meet the In-Laws, Muonagor is Ejike, a father who opposes his daughter’s marriage to someone from a different tribe. The plot of this film might be cliché but there is nothing cliche about Muonagor’s performance. He is funny and complements his co-stars. This isn’t to say the role is purely for laughs; Muonagor also portrays Ejike’s genuine concerns with both sincerity and nuance, creating a character that is both relatable and entertaining. It was for this role he was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy at the AMVCA 2017.

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Obi – Adaife (2019)

Adaife jpg

In this film, Muonagor plays Obi, your average Nigerian parent who is mostly indifferent about his daughter’s mental health issues. Surprisingly, it is his portrayal of this character that adds a layer of comic relief to the film. 

Ndio – My Village People (2021)

My Village People poster jpg

While audiences may be more familiar with Muonagor’s comedic flair that lights up the screen, in My Village People, he takes a surprising turn as Ndio, a fearsome village priest (dibịa). This departure from his usual comic persona proves to be a pivotal element, as Muonagor’s portrayal of Ndio’s imposing presence and malevolent power contributes to the fear factor in the film. Also, this unexpected shift not only showcases his versatility as a performer but also serves as a key ingredient that makes the film work as a horror-thriller. 

Maazi Mbakwe – Aki and Pawpaw (2021) 

Aki and Pawpaw jpg

While there were different reactions that followed the release of this film, there is no question about Muonagor’s performance. In this remake of the 2002 classic, Aki ná Ukwa, Muonagor reprises his role as Mbakwe, father to the troublesome duo (Aki and Pawpaw). They’re now much older but still troublesome as ever, however Mbakwe is not the helpless father we used to know. Muonagor’s character exudes such confidence and calmness that can only be gotten from years of experience. 

Joseph Jonathan is a historian who seeks to understand how film shapes our cultural identity as a people. He believes that history is more about the future than the past. When he’s not writing about film, you can catch him listening to music or discussing politics. He tweets @JosieJp3

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