I Was In My Mother's Womb For 18Months - Antar Laniyan
What does the name Antar connote?
That has to do with the story of my birth. İt is the name of an animal 'Egoana'. My parents didn't see anything wrong in giving me that name.
Does your character correlates with that of the animal?
There is a story around it. İ overstayed in my mother's womb. İ stayed 18months and my poor mother feared she would die with the pregnancy and she was going all over the place then making consultations, ( you know how it was at that time). So after the consultation, she was told to go and bring that animal, so people had to go haywire searching for the animal. They found it, and l think they made concoction out of it and she was forced to eat it; probably the animal was not edible, l wouldn't know. She took it and l came out easily.
Tell us your experience as a movie director
İts been okay. İ feel good and everyone in my position should be grateful to God as it is but you don't get to this level if you laze around; you have to work hard. There are somethings some people do and you don't that takes you to a level as this. Even if you don't hav money, you get to a certain level and you see yourself as “okay”. İf l am not a king atleast l am a kingmaker.
How true is it that you abandoned acting for movie directing?
That is not ture. İ still act. Just last week a film was released and l featured in it and there are some that are yet to be released. İ spend two weeks directing Super story and two weeks outside. At the moment, l'm outside and will be back there in a forthnight. So l have time for directing. People think super story comes out every week so Antar must be very busy to be able to meet the Thursday recording. They don't know that l record super story in bulk; l may have 13 episodes on ground, so l have enough time to do other things especially acting.
İ'm very much into acting its just that when you get to certain level in your career and you don't just accept any script. The script that comes your way should be something that when you partake in it, you won't disappoint your fans. (Those who have been following you since 16 or 20; l started acting when l was 16). People follow your career and as you grow they grow and the love they have for you increases. Taking part in things that has no value leaves them disappointed. There is this film by Muka ray and Affizco just released. Those were nice scripts l took part in. İ recieved text messages, people say “it is good”. That is the kind of thing l want. In the English movie genre people think if they bring scripts to me for acting or directing, they believe l will turn it upside down. But of course l will when it is necessary.
İ am not taking over your job as a writer but if there is a fault, let's point it out so that we don't turn out something bad in the industry. That is all l am for and that is why you see Super story going high up like that. There is the freedom to correct, good cameramen, then you debate, and bring people to criticize it, so you can do better next time. There is nothing bad in that.
How do you relax with these tight schedule?
When l'm not working, l come to the office or l sleep on my bed, watch television, then go back to bed. They knock to bring my food, l eat and sleep again. They will say “Daddy, your food is ready”, and l will say “Bring it now”. That's probably because the next week, scripts will be coming for Super story and l will be busy for another two weeks, l won't have that pleasure.
How has working with Wale Adenuga Productions been?
Superb! There is nothing like it. İt is just good because you have room to express yourself as a director and actor.
Do you hasve a permanent contract with the production outfit?
İ won't put it that way. What l know is that l work with him as a contractor. There is a new script on hand, l am shooting at a certain time, l get there, collect the script, work on it, and before you know it, we are on the field. So its contract. İ am not a permanent staff neither l'm l a temporary staff because l've been working with him for eight years.
Coming to the “home front” tell about your wife and how you met her?
Hmmm! Despite my ability to act and be a disciplined director, people don't know l'm a very shy person. My wife and l met somehow. She is a no non-sense woman. She really gave me tough time. Even though l was already a star then, my stardom didn't work. İt was the person in me; not Antar the star or actor that worked. İntially, the guy in-between us came to me and said she said “what if he is a star”, if he cannot come by himself, then let him go to hell”
She is a gentle woman, a mother, because as l said, one day when l lost my mother, she was there. She was the one running around to get things done. So l said “Now you are my new mother, and she accepted and she has been doing fine”. There is no way one will not feel the absence of his mother, but there is a mother in my wife.
What is view about your career?
İf people say l am successful, then she is the pillar behind my success because with God choosing her for me, and no problems from her, because if she had been giving me problems, maybe l would not concentrate and l won't have a grip on what l am doing.
What do you think can make a successful actor or director?
Hard work! You have to work hard and learn everyday. You don't think you know everything just because people are praising you. İ study everyday. İf there is any book on directing, l pick it up study it and pick something out of it.
Do you have regrets or coslty mistakes you've made in life?
Mistake? No. İ see myself as a very deep person. Apart from the fact that when l was a boy, l wanted to be a soldier and since my focus turned to theatre, l have not had any cause to regret. Even when there was no money, l was in it, when every other person left, l went to school to study the same thing and came back there. So l have not done any other thing outside theatre. There is no regret. L think if l come again, l will still opt for theatre. İ see it as the only path God has chosen for me to express mysel. To bring out some messages God wants to pass to people.