Nobody can kill me—Mr. Latin
Nobody can kill me—Mr. Latin
Written by BAYO ADEOYE
Saturday, 24 July 2010 00:00
Bolaji Amusan, also known as Mr. Latin, is as popular as the Yoruba home industry in Nigeria. He is a humour merchant of no mean repute. In this interview with BAYO ADEOYE, Amusan, whose romance with the movie industry started in 1999, talks about a lot of interesting issues that are dear to his life
Recent car crash
The accident nearly claimed my life as the bus conveying my colleagues and I somersaulted several times. At first, I thought I had died, but I thank God some sympathizers came to our aid.
But I want to comment on the rumour making the rounds that the accident was the handiwork of my 'enemies' who didn't like my contributions in the Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners( ANTP) in Ogun State. Nobody is after me because I am not after anybody. We are all friends, irrespective of our political beliefs or principles. Nobody can kill his fellow human being; God is our creator and He alone can kill. So, nobody can kill me.
Journey so far
When I told my parents that I was going into acting, they seriously objected to it because they believed that acting is for the never-do-well. But I stood my ground. So, I began to pray to God that if He could make Baba Suwe, Aluwe and Baba Sala to be successful actors, why not me? And since then, I have not looked back. Initially, I faced some financial difficulties. But I thank God for what He has done for me.
My first master in this profession is no more a theatre practitioner. He is called Ariyo Azeez. He was the leader of Ariyo Travelling Theatre in Abeokuta. After about three television productions with him, I proceeded to Sammar Art Compound at Oke-Yeke in Abeokuta. I spent about 10 years at Sammar before I established Mr. Latin Productions.
Between real life and stage
You can see for yourself that the person you are speaking to is Bolaji Amusan. But the funny fellow is Mr. Latin. You can see the difference in the way I relate with people. For example, Jay Jay Okocha or Kanu Nwakwo are very good footballers. But would they say that because they are footballers, they should start kicking football all over the streets? It's not possible.
If I switch on my phone now, I can call Baba Suwe. He's my Oga and we are best of brothers. He was in Abeokuta some days ago and spent about three days with me. I featured him in many of my films. If you come here, you'll know the level of interaction among the comedians. Baba Suwe is my senior colleague. He has achieved greater things than me. I follow his footsteps. You know, shoe get size, Okrika self get quality. That's just it.
Comedy and lessons/messages
I am an educated comedian, a classical one for that matter. My main aim of coming into the comedy business is not only to make people laugh, but to make them learn as well. If you watch Talongbemu, it is about a politician who uses Obafemi Awolowo's name to rise to power, but later derail from the ideals the late sage stood for. If you watch Obajobalo, it's about two stupid old men that are supposed to pray for their young ones. But they engage in rivalry at the expense of the younger ones. Otipoju is about taxi drivers who do not take care of their children, but buy bokoto, Ogufe and chickens for girlfriends at motor parks. Then, if you watch Mr. President, it is about President Obasanjo. Even if you watch Baba Oloye Repete , you will find that it is about a man who is desperate for an elective position. I used that film to X-ray his achievements and what people expect of him.
Had I known, I would have come into this profession much earlier. Secondly, if I had known, I wouldn't have stopped my education.
I am not a graduate, but I can read and write. I can speak whatever I read. I am a role interpreter. So, if you give me a script, I will digest it and interpret it.
My most favourite artiste is Dele Odule. Then, my other favourite artistes are Nkem Owoh, Baba Suwe and Pete Edochie. All other artistes are also very good and talented.
I hail from Gbongan in Osun State. I've been in Abeokuta since 1974. So, I am a bona fide indigene of Abeokuta going by the Nigerian Constitution provides that when you have spent 10 years in a state, you are automatically a citizen of that state. So, I can say that I'm from Gbongan or I'm an Egba man. I'm 44 years old. I was unable to go beyond secondary school due to lack of finance. Nevertheless, I completed my secondary education in 1984.