Talented actor cum film maker, Saidi Balogun who left for the United States of America few months back is now back in the country. However, before his arrival, the rumour mill was agog that the fair skinned thespian wedded secretly in the US.
But when ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with him in his Ikeja, Lagos office on Friday, August 3, 2012, the popular entertainer rubbished the tale, adding that he is still single and not searching. He also spoke on other issues relating to his life and career including details of his trip abroad.
For quite sometime, you were in the United States of America to do what?
I went to the US where I visited many places including New Jersey, Las Vegas, Maryland, New York, Dallas, Texas and many more.
What was the purpose of the trip?
The trip was meant for two purposes, first, the US granted us visa for a stage play, entitled, Sango. We took it round. We were also granted permission to shot a movie and musical if we wanted because they gave us a working permit.
So, that’s the opportunity I had to shoot my movie, entitled You or I. it’s an all white affair. I am the only black among the cast.
What’s was the response to the stage play and your activities over there?
It was very lovely, people appreciated the stage play and everybody supported the shooting of my movie. I really thank God for the success of the journey.
Which organization or person sponsored the trip?
It’s Tai Balofin of New Day International that took myself, Murphy Afolabi, Sanyeri, Bimbo Oshin, Mercy Aigbe, Kunle Adegbite and others to the US. We were many, we thank God for everything.
We learnt from the US, you moved to another country, which country was that?
Yes, we took the stage play to Canada.
You have been talking of You or I for quite long, when exactly is it going to be ready?
It will be premiered this year. By God’s grace, it will hit the cinemas before the year runs out.
Your movie, Eti Keta, was nominated for last AMAA award, how did you feel about that?
I was in the US when the award held. I didn’t even know the result. I believe that’s gone.
But for the nomination alone you should…
(Cuts in) I thank God for the movie to be nominated in the African category of movies, that shows people are recognizing our work. I give kudos to the organizers of the award, especially Peace. She is actually doing her best, may God continue to bless her.
What’s going to separate You or I from other movies you have produced, especially Eti Keta?
I think it’s God that will do the separation but I would say I have done my best from my own end. You understand the fact that I love doing creative things. For instance, in You or I, I am the only black man, every other person is white. It’s about our matrimonial lifestyle, it’s a classical movie. I believe we are trying to move with time.
Before you came back, the rumour mill was agog that you had done a secret wedding in the US. Some even said you had relocated finally to the US because of the woman, how would you react to all these?
Thank you very much. That’s why I like you, you always investigate your stories very well before writing it. That’s why I cherish your magazine, you guys are doing a wonderful job, you write reality, not because I see your face.
I don’t know where those who wrote that rubbish got their story. I am not married to anybody, I wasn’t married to anybody in the United States of America. I was only married to my job there. The United States of America didn’t grant me a visa for marriage.
I was given a visa to work. I am not married to anybody as at present, Saidi Balogun is still very much single.
But it was reported that the woman was in her 50s…
(Cuts in) I was just laughing when I read it. I, Said Balogun marrying 50 something year old woman? Then what happens to all those beautiful girls out there? Is it money, beauty or fame that will now make me get married to a woman of my mother’s age? Some men do it, if they find love in such a woman but as for me, my hands are clean. I am not condemning anybody doing that but I can’t do it. It’s just a rumour.
But what do you think could have informed the rumour?
I don’t know. Possibly, they just wrote the story to deceive their readers. As for me, I still repeat it, I am still single.
Are you searching?
I am not searching, I am only waiting for God’s time. When the right woman comes, the Lord will direct me. Presently, I am married to my job.
But the report actually generated a lot of reactions by movie lovers. They argued that you never filed for a divorce and you went ahead to marry another woman…
(Cuts in) I think I have told you the truth. It’s nothing but the truth, I am not married to any old mama. I am using this medium to tell all Nigerians, home and abroad that I am not married and if they heard that I got married to anybody in the US, they should go and check the date and confirm but by the time they will be reading this interview, I, Saidi Balogun is still single.
But you stayed too long in the US, maybe that’s the reason for the suspicion?
Oh! This is not the first time I will be staying out of the country for more than two months. It all depends on what my visa allowed. And definitely, if I have anything to do there, I must wait and do whatever I have to do. But I was shocked to have read that.
Can we say You or I has anything to do with your past relationship?
Thank you. I only shot a movie about how we young guys should handle our homes. It’s not about noise making or anything else. How we should plan our homes and make things work. Maybe that’s what they heard that brought about the rumour.
The story is an English movie which has to do with how you settle down, who is at fault. A man or a woman? It has nothing to do with religion or tribe. You can get divorce from the least expected angle. So, we have to treat the issue of divorce in You or I. Is it the woman or the man? That’s what the movie is all about.
Do you mean it has nothing to do with your previous experience?
No, it has nothing to do with that. Whatever we do, whoever is at fault, it’s God that will judge. I am a teacher, I write and act for people to see their future, remind them of their present and make them to look back at their past to make corrections.
I am not different from pastors, alfas, we’re like preachers waking people from their slumber.
Some days back, we learnt some of you guys were in Ondo State to support Governor Segun Mimiko’s gubernatorial campaign, how true is it?
It’s true. Just like I always say, I don’t vote for a political party but for any individual who is performing. To my own knowledge, there is much difference between Ondo State then and now. The man is really doing well but that does not mean he may not have his own fault but for me, the man has done very well.
If somebody is doing well in the north, I, Saidi Balogun will go there and campaign for him and whoever is not doing well, let’s all crucify the person. I am supporting Mimiko as a person because he is doing well in Ondo State. I am not a party person.
It’s like you’re packaging a movie for him?
No, it’s a friend of mine that produced a movie, entitled, Baby Seju for him. I was also in the movie just to confirm what I know people of Ondo State can see, not what they can’t see on ground.
But we learnt you’re the one who led other actors to the campaign rally, like how much were you paid?
I was paid with a beautiful handshake. But as all of us are coming out now to campaign for these politicians, if by 2015, these federal law makers fail to pass antipiracy law, if we see any of our people campaigning for any politician be it a senator or member, House of Representatives such a person should be crucified.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 7, 2012