Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme otherwise known as Aki and Papwpaw (or Aki N’Ukwa) are the child-sized actors who have grabbed the attention of many Nollywood fans. Whether it was the freak factor, or because people were genuinely interested in watching these actors is a topic many would like to debate. In the beginning, they were involved mainly in playing pranks. They acted the role of naughty little children who were always up to one mischief or the other.
They pulled pranks on unsuspecting adults, from teachers to their parents, everyone was fair game. It was hard to see how far they could go if they continued on this path. Even for adults in the bodies of little children, there was bound to be a limit. As the clichÃ© goes: ‘Nature doesn’t allow any vacuum.’
It appears some very smart people have figured out a way to prevent Aki and Pawpaw from burning out. Whereas in the past they played the roles of children and it seemed there was a deliberate attempt to divert attention from their real ages, thus remaking them into little children; things have now changed. It didn’t happen overnight.
But Chinedu and Osita now play adult roles, where their physical growth or the lack of it is a part of the plot. For instance, in films like Brain Masters and Reggae Boys, Chinedu and Osita played their real ages. They were not cast as freaks of nature. Nor were they cast as children who refused to grow up.
They just acted their true lives: young adults who are not big in size. In the two films as it would happen in real life, people mocked their size. In Brain Masters, girls laughed in their faces. And when they eventually fell for them, it was somehow understood that it was more as a result of their sudden wealth than any increase in size. In Reggae Boys, even their father was ashamed of them. That is, until they hit it big as reggae musicians.
This latest development in the lives of Aki and pawpaw has won for them at least, one new fan – me. I didn’t used to be able to watch them in the past. We watch to see how far Chinedu and Osita go in this new reality.