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WITHOUT FATHIA, I NOW PUT MY FAITH IN GOD – SAHEED BALOGUN

By YEMI OMIDIJI
Saheed Balogun
Saheed Balogun

Although he has faced many challenges in life, some of which include his failed marriage and an automobile accident which almost claimed his life, popular actor and singer, Saheed Balogun, says he won't give up. Rather, he has resolved to move closer to God and work harder, to survive his misfortunes.

The Kwara State-born actor, who is fondly called James Bond by his fans, said he cannot be weighed down by his travails, as long as he has what it takes to succeed as an actor, producer and musician. He, nevertheless, acknowledged the role of women in his life, noting that on many occasions, he has been rescued and assisted by women of substance.

One of these women, according to him, is Oluremi Adikwu Bakare, a frontline politician and governorship candidate of the Progressive People's Alliance (PPA) who offered to sponsor his trip overseas for advanced studies in Theatre Arts. Other women in his life are his mother and daughter, who God used to save his life.

But when asked about his estranged wife, Fathia, the actor simply said: “ Leave her (Fathia) out of the issue now. I don't like probing into people's affairs let alone intrude into their marital life. Likewise, I don't want people to probe into my marriage”.

On why he suddenly realized the need to serve God, the popular actor said: “ In recent times, I have been close to almighty Allah, the creator and governor of the universe. My faith in Him is so strong now because He has shown me how merciful and benevolent He can be. He has rescued me from my ordeals and taught me at the same time some lessons about life. As a Moslem, I believe whatever a man goes through in life is predestined and not accidental. Now I am drawing closer to Him and willing to serve Him the more…I now observe the five mandatory daily prayers by Moslems and I pay my tithes regularly”

Asked why as a Yoruba actor, he hardly produces or features in English movies, Balogun recalled that he is basically a trained actor who can act both in English and Yoruba. He confessed he must have turned down some offers by Nollywood operators to act in English-based movies, but “ I resolved to act in English movies to prove that many of us in the profession are also literate.

“As a professional actor, I speak good English and I believe other actors like me are equally educated. In fact, I have featured in so many soaps, including Waste of Destiny, After the Sun and as English comedy which my fans love so much,” he said.

Despite all the challenges and distractions, Saheed's commitment to his profession is unwavering. To this end, he saw the need to repackage.“ Now, I have a lot of fans. As a result, I want to repackage myself, so that at least, I'll be grounded in this profession.”

He also dropped the hint, that he will soon proceed to the U.S to study Theatre Arts, courtesy, Mrs Remi Adikwu-Bakare.

But then, the actor is not glossing over the bounteous gratitude he owes his numerous fans for their supports so far. By that, he intends to serve them further with good films, one of which is Gbogbo Ere, which he shot at the time he was involved in an auto crash.

“ The film, I reckon as symbolic, a sense of ingenuity,” he said it was a three-character drama. He spoke further; “ shortly, something similar is about to unfold. Entitled Modupe temi (I thank God for my life), the work will be an eye-opener to the mysteries that embodies life. It will be a manifestation of God's might.”

Saheed, who is famous for stunning his fans with unique creations, is also planning to shoot a movie entitled Zero level. It is a movie you will watch from the beginning to the end and will neither hear a sound or dialogue, yet hundreds of characters would feature.

Secrets of success

My success is the result of being positive. With God, I believe everything is possible. For example, last year, when I told the media that I was going to produce a three-cast movie, it was taken as an expensive joke by movie buffs. Some of them even said that I was going mad.”

According to the versatile actor, there exists a thin line between music and acting. He believes that, an artiste must be talented in other areas of performing arts.

His words: “to be a complete entertainer, you must be capable of other art forms. I started music as a raga singer, When Shaba ranks visited Nigeria, I was among the few raga musicians who performed for him.

Why I dropped raga

Saheed revealed how the popular raga artiste, Shaba Ranks, during his first visit to the country advised Nigerian artistes to promote their indigenous genres, rather than play raga. He recalled Shaba, saying: 'Ye man, no matter what, all of ya cannot beat me to my father's brand of music. You can try, but your efforts would amount to nothing.' The words hit me like a cyclone, and since then, I' ve embraced fuji. However, the decision has paid-off with collaborations with Wasiu Alabi Pasuma, Alao Malaika, and father U-Turn and they have been rewarded with albums.