ON Sunday, November 24, 2013, all roads will lead to De Blue Roof, LTV 8, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, as veteran actor, Alhaji Kareem Adepoju, popularly called Baba Wande, will be celebrating 50 years in the industry. The event is expected to be graced by dignitaries from all spheres of life. ENCOMIUM Weekly took the widely respected film maker on this and much more when he visited us on Monday, October 28, 2013…
We congratulate you, sir on your 50 years on stage?
It feels great clocking 50 on stage. I am very happy, and I thank God for that.
If you look back, how would you describe the experience?
It’s full of so many things both good and bad, soft and hard, pleasant and unpleasant and so on. Starting from the stage play, travelling from one place to the other. Then, graduating into film making, television series, Atoka (Yoruba drama magazine) and others. Everything is full of history. The journey has been rough and tough but we thank God for where we are today.
Was there any time or moment you felt like quitting?
No, there wasn’t any time or moment like that at all because I joined the profession with the passion I had for it then which is still what’s driving me on till date. When we consider the financial aspect of the profession, it has not been easy. But when I look at the fame and the way people respect me in public, I enjoy being an actor.
What are the specific pains and gains of being a film maker and actor?
One of the gains is what I have just said now. I enjoy the way people treat me. Anywhere I go or enter I am always accorded respect. Even, in the bank, petrol station or government paratatals, just name it. Even ministers, governors, senators and others give me recognition anytime they see me. So, this is enough for me as an achievement. But when we talk of the pains, that’s just the financial aspect of it. There is not enough money in the profession.
I had interpreted countless roles, and I enjoyed every role I had played so far. I am comfortable with whatever role I am asked to interpret. I had interpreted the role of a rich man, traditional ruler, manager, deaf and dumb to mention but a few. But I can say the most challenging of all was when I acted deaf and dumb in a television series, Kuye, produced by my boss, Late Oyin Adejobi. That was where I interpreted the role of dumb and deaf. And I thank God I was able to do well. It wasn’t easy, I had to remain deaf and dumb for about four hours, and behaved like one too.
Having clocked 50 on stage, and flashing back, would you say you’re fulfilled?
Yes, I am a fulfilled man. I am enjoying my life.
What are the things you still want to achieve in the industry?
A lot, I want to be a promoter and marketer in the nearest future, not only acting. I will like to be selling movies, writing plays, directing and teaching people anything relating to the industry.
With the benefit of hindsight, what do you think is missing in the industry that perhaps, if it is added, will make the industry better?
What is lacking is unity, especially in the Yoruba genre. We are not united at all. And that’s why we’re being cheated. Had it been we’re united, there wouldn’t have been any chance for anybody or group of people to cheat us or deny us our right. So, we all need to come back as one indivisible family.
No doubt, you have done so much in the industry, which of your efforts in terms of film making would you say gave you maximum satisfaction?
The production I loved most was Ti Oluwa N’ile, but at the same time, that was what also gave me the biggest disappointment.
In what way, sir?
I wrote the play and a certain company liked and endorsed it but till date it’s only the company enjoying the fruit of my hard labour. That’s the problem I have with the film. It only accorded me more respect. It also gave me more popularity but financially, it’s nothing to write home about.
Everything boils down to the fact that there is no unity. If we all co-operate and operate as one happy family, we will be able to fight poverty, which is as a result of some other people reaping the fruits of our labour.
Now, on the celebration of your 50 years on stage, what are the programmes lined up?
It’s going to be very lively and colourful. We have a lot of programmes to that effect. First, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, we would be at The Polytechnic, where a colloquium will take place. After that, we will visit Osun House of Assembly and other places, including motherless babies’ homes and the needy on Friday, November 22, 2013. That same day, we will also go for Jumat service for thanksgiving. Then, Sunday, November 24, will be the grand finale at De Blue Roof, LTV 8, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos. Entertainment bigwigs, including King Sunny Ade, Lagbaja, Pasuma and others would thrill. So, it’s going to be very lively and colourful.
Who are the people sponsoring the programme?
We have many people on the list that we’re working on. For now, it is only Aare Arisekola Alao that has responded very well but all others have not done anything. But we’re still praying that they will support us.
What is your advice for the young generation of actors?
All young actors must try and work hard. They should perform very well to ensure that they remain relevant in the industry. They must all work towards ensuring the unity of the industry. I believe they will be bountifully rewarded if they can do these.
We learnt you have many wives and children, how many of them exactly?
All I would say is that I have many wives and children, nothing more.
Okay sir, how many of your children are also into acting?
None of them is into acting, but they take part at times. They have their own jobs and at the same time, they also assist me in my profession.
What would you say is responsible for actors marrying many wives or having many children from different women?
Good, initially, when we started from stage play, if you didn’t have many women around you, nobody would watch your play. That was exactly what informed marrying more than one wife. But nowadays, even if you’re not married, you can still shoot your movie. All you need is just invite actresses to play whatever roles you want them to play in the movie. But before, you must have many wives before you can do anything successfully.
We learnt you have also clocked 70, how does it feel?
(Laughs) I am about to, not yet.
Okay, what were the things you were doing when you’re young that you can no longer do?
There is nothing I was doing before that I can’t do again. I am still very young and strong. I used to play football, I can still play it now. I can still jump and run. I was eating well before, and I am still eating very well now. So, nothing much has changed in my system. I am still very much agile as before.
Can you still fire as before, we mean being active in bed?
(Laughs) Yes, but that has to be with caution. I have to control myself as far as firing is concerned.
– TADE ASIFAT