When you talk about Angelina Jolie, most film fans understand who is she, having a big name in the world movie industry. But when you come to the local film industry you can not jump the name Blandina Chagula, “Johari” to her fans.
The winner of best female actress and winner of rising actress in 2006 at the Risasi awards, Blandina Chagula can be described as an icon in the film industry in Tanzania, among the first women who dared to engage in the movie industry at the onset of the industry.
“At first the film industry was not paying. We just did as an additional occupation but now we enjoy what we do and we take it as a job like any other. We improve a lot in the industry from paying attention to quality in production,” she said.
While ordinarily she is Blandina Chagula, she is famous as Johari, the name used in most of her appearances in films. Her presence in films began in 2002 when she played a drama series with Kaole Arts Group, screened on television.
Blandina says that since childhood she used to like acting, wishing to talk on themes that touch society and was also influenced by Tanzanian actress, Waridi and therefore took a nam,e that reminds her of her heroine.
“Soon after completing college I started playing in a drama series with Kaole Arts Group after being interviewed by Kaole officials and because I had the talent I passed well. That was my first arts group upon which I was lifted into the film industry, starting to play movies within the group,” Blandina said.
She remained for half a decade with the group, her first movie titled Riziki,after which she participated in another move where the name Johari started becoming a household word.
The Johari movie became a monument to her career, removing any doubts she still had about it, receiving extensive coverage in the media, which pushed her to start sharpening her career objectives and achieve what she could more easily to about achieving.
“I decide to stay put in film after seeing the clear advantage it offered. At first it was not paying so I faced difficulties to catch up with movie demands, but after the film industry expanded and its advantages became clear I decided to leave the group and participate fully in films,” she explained.
Most actors and actresses in major film industries around the world are wealthly due to achievements obtained in making films, as it is a sector that contribute a lot in the services sector.
“Yes, I had success, first achieved by setting up a film company in partnership with actor Vicent Kigosi, “Ray” and the company was called RJ company. We do everything concerning movie production after working with other companies for a number of years,” she said.
She is managing director of RJ Company and her works include producing movies and Ray is production manager, where she play a character in some of the movies.
Apart from sharing the company Blandina takes acting in movies as a normal job which gives her a salary and makes her live more or less comfortably, able to support her family. The movie industry had enabled employment of so many people who had no job but were talented, she points out.
To be an actor or actress you can not escape being seen by the public or if you are a celebrity public attention will not be avoidable, and lots of challenges arise, but at the local level Blandina has her own challenges including lack of cooperation from people who perceive the movie industries as a waste of time.
“I faced a lots of challenges as many people see us as prostitutes, many men follow us. We have been underrated by so many people and so many things happened, but having only one stand helped me by concentrating on what am doing,” she said.
Blandina or Johari at present works hard in order to achieve her dream of being a big movie producer as well as doing the work of a movie director in the years to come.
“I want to produce movies which can be nominated in international movie awards in the United States or elsewhere,” she says of her utmost yearnings.