Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"Baba Wande", One of the Greatest Nigerian Actors

One of the Greatest Actors from Stage to TV to Cinema in Nigeria

Alhaji Kareem Adepoju, popularly known as "Baba Wande" is the most popular Yoruba actor trained by one of the founding fathers of modern Nigerian theatre and TV drama, the legendary Chief Oyin Adejobi (1926 - 2000) of the popular "Kootu Asipa" (Ashipa Court) TV drama on Yoruba customary court sessions on WNTV (later NTA Ibadan).
His characters in Yoruba drama were so realistic that you would not believe that he was acting in front of cameras. Acting is in his blood. And since I have been following the careers of other actors, I have not seen a better actor.

The naturalism of Baba Wande and Madam Grace Oyin Adejobi, popularly known as "Lagbenjo Iya Osogbo " in the portrayal of their characters is still unsurpassed till date in #Nollywood.

Many of the celebrated actors and actresses in English language Nollywood movies are too artificial.
You see an actress who is playing a character left alone in the living room, cat walking and shaking her buttocks for the cameras! She was most likely trying to impress her lover or client who would be viewing the movie.
Only few of them are convincing in characterisation.

The "Kootu Asipa" series should be documented with other movies of "Baba Wande" for acting classes. Casting directors in Nollywood and Kannywood should study his portrayals of different characters.He should teach new actors his skills as his master taught him to become a great actor.
Oyin Adejobi was a choirmaster and pianist and that influenced his intellectual knowledge and comprehension of the characteristics of human behaviour in his dramas.

Yoruba traveling theatres have produced the greatest Nigerian dramatists and actors. But the new Yoruba producers in Nollywood have not been able to excel as their great predecessors. Tunde Kelani, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Kunle Afolayan and Femi Odugbemi are currently the most outstanding Yoruba filmmakers and can do more beyond the local competition in Nollywood. I am still waiting for the great Nigerian movie. And I see it in the film adaptations of the classics of Daniel O. Fagunwa MBE (1903 – 9 December 1963), Amos Tutuola (20 June 1920 – 8 June 1997) and the first black Nobel laureate in Literature, Prof. Wole Soyinka, whose novel, "The Interpreters" will make an award winning film if an ambitious director can take up the challenge. But not in the guerrilla filmmaking style of Nollywood. Femi Odugbemi or Mahmood Ali- Balogun can do this.

By the way, I have been following the development of Nigerian theatre, TV and cinema since I was a child in primary school and even had my own group that performed on the streets of Obalende on the Lagos Island; joined crowds to see stage plays, open air cinemas and followed my parents to the cinemas since the 1970s and almost joined the Daily Times drama group. I directed my first stage play, "The Prodigal" in 1980 at the National Museum in Onikan on the Lagos Island and got a full page interview in the Times International news magazine of Daily Times and later profiled in the West Africa news magazine in 1984 when Ben Okri edited it. So, we can separate the wheat from the chaff.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima
Publisher Editor, NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series
247 Nigeria @247nigeria

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