Young Movie Acts Lack Vision
Babatunde Abioye a.k.a. Moremi, is a veteran actor and producer of the popular Yoruba film “Moremi Ajasoro.” He spoke about the film, his experience and other issues
Q: After Moremi Ajasoro, little or nothing was heard about you, what happened?
A: The film got burnt when the then LTV 8 went up in flames. It was a four-hour-20-minute film. After the fire incident, I decided to take my time before coming out with another film. Although I was called by the management of LTV, I was a bit busy then.
Q: What then have you been doing?
A: I have been working on other productions. Right now, I am back and better.
Q: Despite your busy schedule, you have not featured in some films, what happened?
A: Well, the younger film producers do not want to have anything to do with older ones, unlike when we pray that the younger ones should benefit from us. They want us dead, but whoever is wise among us will wait for God's time, although I did some stories then on Papa Oshoffa, Igbaorigi and one other film.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I have just been called by the management of LTV to discuss the modalities about shooting 13 more episodes of Moremi Ajasoro, but right now, we are putting some modern touches to it.
Q: Is it a true life story?
A: Yes, it is a true life story, it is from my mother side and the title of the person is Eeri, the keeper of a sacred procession.
Q: What happened to the star actress that featured in the film?
A: The star actress by name Subuola, is alive and ready to play the part again.
Q: When are you going on location for the film?
A: We are looking at early next month (August).
Q: With your experience spanning over 30 years in the film industry, what happened to the 13-episode film?
A: Thank you. The home video eroded it. Also, the younger producers decided to sideline some of us, but we thank God that they have exempted themselves.
Q: Since you want the younger ones to grow, don't they want you to benefit from them also?
A: That is a very nice question, but if I have to answer it the way I want, the younger ones may think one is envious of their success. But I can assure you that our own time was quite different from theirs because there are some films without title or without meaning, yet they believe they are doing the right thing. During our time, we usually conducted research into films produced then. But if you can stomach insult, then you can dine with the new generation of artistes, if not, the better for you.
Q: Do you think the artistes are doing enough research on the home videos they release?
A: They are doing their best possible, but that is where their strength ends. Do you know that there is research and there is real research? Like the new Moremi Ajasoro, I have to go back to the roots and do more research, unlike the producers of nowadays, who are looking for cheap money.
Q: Don't you think that is the cause of untimely deaths among youths?
A: No, the cause is known to those who seek power and fame at all costs.
Q: Then, what is the cause of the downward slide in the quality of home videos?
A: It is the work of the devil and lack of unity among the artistes. If we are united, there will be little or no problem. Disunity is causing problem in ANTP.
Q: You have worked with the likes of the late Ojo Ladipo (Baba Mero) Duro Ladipo (Sango) and others, are you not concerned that they have not been immortalised?
A: Thank you for the question. I am highly disappointed in those at the helm of affairs because those were idols to be immortalised and emulated, but we thank God for their lives well spent.
Q: There is an allegation that old artistes are fetish. Is that true?
A: Haba! We are not so fetish, but because of the way we do our research, we go all out to get what we want.
Q: Why did you produce do some emotional films?
A: I want to prove a point and put the record straight about the character Moremi Ajasoro, who promised to give her only child to the river goddess if the Ife warriors won the war.
Q: We learnt that you were not given the consent to do the film by the Ife people?
A: Do you know that I am an Ife prince? So, I have right over some things. I am an indigene.
Q: Is it true that it was the cause of your problem?
A: Not really, although I was scolded for one or two mistakes, that has since been resolved.
Q: But we learnt that film caused your downfall?
A: No, that film. Rather, Moremi Ajasoro gave me fame. In fact, wherever I went then, people kept shouting “Moremi Ajasoro.” My wife who played the role was almost mobbed in Lagos during that period. People wanted to touch her, thinking she was a spirit.
Q: What happened to the dancing theatre and stage shows?
A: Well, the world is changing because nowadays, what people are after is money and not professionalism. During our time, we thrived more on professionalism.
Q: Can you recall a memorable experience during the course of your profession?
A: The only sad experience I had was when we went for an exhibition and there was rainfall which drove away our clients and in the morning, there was nothing to go home with. In fact, there was no fuel in our car. I had to prevail on my wife to talk to the manager of a petrol station opposite the venue.
Q: What then transpired between your wife and the man?
A: I don't know, but they went into the man's office for some time and when she came out, she beckoned on me by saying, “driver come,” and I responded. That was in Apomu in Osun State. It was a black day in my life.
Q: Did she sleep with the man?
A: I doubt it because what I saw from afar was the man was caressing my wife, but at the end, she got the fuel.
Q: Are you still married to her?
A: Yes, she is still in my house and she is my only wife to date.
Q: What do your fans expect from you?
A: A new film entitled Subuola, which I am doing in conjunction with LTV8. Hopefully, I will hit location by August