If you are a lover of Yoruba movies, this should interest you. And that is because this story aims to take a quick voyage down the memory lane of your area of interest. Meanwhile, on this journey, you don’t need to drive or look for transport fare. It is a journey of the mind. All you need to do is to cast your mind back to some different interesting episodes in the annals of Yoruba movie productions, and some fantastic stars that have been thrown up along the line. And you can rest assured that, the journey would not be stretching too far into the past so that the return trip would not take time too, for everyone to disembark and do something else with their time.
First of all, a simple question: who is the most sought-after actor in the Yoruba movie industry currently? You don’t need to even think at all before knowing it is Odunlade Adekola. The tall role interpreter has been on the high pedestal for a while now and he is apparently not ready to let go of his firm grip on the trophy for the best among the rest. His haul of awards as the Best Actor in the Yoruba movie industry in the last 6 years or so, across different award platforms, home and abroad, is a testimony to that fact. But before Odunlade Adekola, there have been a couple of fantastic actors too, who have ruled the stage like a colossus, leaving others to play catch up. This writer would be bringing some of them back to joggle everyone’s memory. The list would be in no particular order.
Babatunde Omidina (Baba Suwe)
This self acclaimed King of Comedy in the Yoruba movie industry, Babatunde Omidina, popularly known as Baba Suwe, was at a point in time, the hottest thespian in the industry. Because at that time, buying any movie by movie lovers would largely be dependent on whether Baba Suwe was amongst the cast or not. And the sole reason was the inimmitable comic angles he would bring to such movie. Though, he was still active in the industry until he had some health challenges recently which took him abroad for medical care, but even before then, he was no longer at the level he used to be.However, staging a big come back is not beyond him.
Fair complexioned, handsome Yemi Solade, is a very talented actor. One of the few that education has helped to play roles in both Yoruba and English based movies. The graduate from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, was at a point in time the hottest item in the Yoruba movie sector when acting offers were coming his way from left, right and centre. But he is apprarently not at that level any more, though still very relavant in the industry.
Yomi Fash Lanso
Give him any role and he would make a fantastic showing of it. That is the stuff Yomi Lanso is made of. At a point in time, casting for any Yoruba movie expected to make good sales on the movie shelf would never be complete without having the fine face of Yomi Fash Lanso among those adorning the jacket of such a movie. Though still doing his best in the industry but the level seems to have changed.
Self-styled Mr. James Bond, Saheed Balogun, an actor in his own class, was the darling of Yoruba movie lovers at a point in time so much that any movie location without him being given a major role would be a high risk on the part of the producer. He was so hot and so much in demand that even those who may not like him in the industry could not do away with him. Since he held the aces to dictate how well a movie would do in the market after production, everyone needed to submit to his demand. Still very much in the industry but the baton of the hottest has since been handed over.
Bolaji Amusan (Mr. Latin)
The reigning president of the Theatre And Motion Picture Producers Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), Otunba Bolaji Amusan, has had a time of star surge in the industry for himself too. Especially, within the periods he produced ground-breaking movies like “Iseju Marun” (Five Minutes) and “Omo Ode De” ( Here Comes The Hunter). The movies were extremely successful in the market and they brought a surge to the career of the Gbongan, Osun State, born comic actor of good repute.
Muyiwa Adegoke (Londoner)
Tribal-mark carrying Muyiwa Adegoke, a fantastic comic character in the Yoruba movie industry is a viewers’ delight, any day, any time. The Ibadan, Oyo State based thespian was at point in time, indispensable in any movie expected to record reasoble sales, and that was largely due to the unique funny antics the actor also known as Londoner would display in the movies. That level has obviously dropped, but Muyiwa Adegoke has not stopped doing what he knows how to do best. And that is, making people happy as they watch him on the screen.
Funke Akindele (Jennifer)
This screen diva who started her career acting in a tv series titled: “I Need To Know” years ago, Funke Akindele, otherwise referred to as Jennifer is a big force to reckon with in Nollywood today. But at a point in time, she was the main darling of Yoruba movie lovers. That fillip in her booming career was activated by the extremely successful outing of her movie entlted Jennifer in which she was an eponymous character of a village girl, Sulia, who chaged her name to Jennifer on getting to the city. Still a super star making a lot of money from her “Jenniffer’s Diary” series on selected television stations, not much of her is being seen in regular movies like she used to be.
Fond of calling himself “The Finest”, Funsho Adeolu has been there, done that too, as a main dude most Yoruba movie lovers craved for in the movies they wanted to watch. His good showing in a movie back then entitled: “Ale Ariwo” ( Noisy Night), brought a major break for him in the higly populated Yoruba movie fiefdom and for a long while, he dictated the pace as the main star. But that is no longer the case at the moment.
Muyiwa Ademola (Authentic)
Muyiwa Ademola a.k.a. Muyiwa Authentic is a born actor whose career was boosted by the verisimilitude with which he deliverd his role as a lunatic in a self produced movie titled: ” Ori” ( Destiny) years back. And on the strength of that performance, he became the hottest actor in town. He won the crown of the best around for a while, producing other movies, but the momentum has obviously subsided. But one thing with him is that, he knows how to bounce back when ever he wants to.
Femi Adebayo (Jelili)
Otherwise called Jelili Oni’so (The Farting Jelili), acting runs in the veins of Femi Adebayo, having been sired by a veteran thespian, Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello). And the lawyer who acting has not really given the time to practice, remains one of the best actors Yoruba movie industry has seen. Though, he was revealed to the industry via a role he played in a successful movie years back titled: “Owo Blow”, he kept waxing stronger. He became a big force to be reckoned with when he produced his major comic film titled: “Jelili” not too long ago but there seems to be a little dip in demand for him currently.
Olaniyi Afonja (Sanyeri)
Using comic movies to propel himself to the top, Olaniyi Afonja better known as Sanyeri is one actor who can make even a man with a heart of steel start Rolling On The Floor Laughing (ROTFL), to borrow the language of the social media. Everything about him is comedy from his tribal marks to his small starture and his manner of speaking. Bursting on to the movie scene with his friend, Adekola Tijani (Kamilu Kompo), they became a comic duo Yoruba movie lovers would always look out for. But Sanyeri seems to have currently gone back to the drawing board to come out with something big soon, as the demand for him does not seem to be like before.
Adekola Tijani (Kamilu Kompo)
Kamilu Kompo, a name he got from the role he played in a movie with the same title: “Kamilu Kompo”, he produced few years back, Adekola Tijani, is an actor that used the medium of comedy to rise to the top in the movie industry. Known more as comic partner to his friend, Olaniyi Afonja (Sanyeri), Adekola Tijani enjoyed high level of relevance and demand with Sanyeri, but he also seems to have let down his guard. He surely must be cooking something to stage a big come back to the main stage too.