If I Reincarnate, I Will Return An Actress -Sola Sobowale
There is one thing that is incontrovertibly splendid about Sola Sobowale, and that is the fact that she knows her act. On the set of Wale Adenuga Productions' Superstory's Oh Father, Oh Daughter, many of her fans loved her while others held her in awe for her wiles and fret. She is Toyin Tomato, the lustful, reckless seductress who scares pants off men and makes their knees weak with her beauty. She adequately portrays the woman mothers-in law pray their sons never encounter. But she became an instant success and the toast of many married women who practically dragged their husbands to the television sets to learn the lessons of life according to Toyin Tomato. Her role was not only a study in life it was` well interpreted.
Since that singular role, Sola has become a hot property in the movie industry. She's best qualified as a crossover actress as producers in the Yoruba and English movies equally engage her. When she is not demonstrating her feline agility, she is a mass of contradictions- red in tooth and claw. Her exterior is graceful and placid but inside fire rages. Take her signature role in Tade Ogidan's Madam Dearest, in which she's a big sister to Ope Ayeola. She beautifully plays out a supporting role that could not be easily ignored. Ditto Tade's Dangerous Twins.
Even critics and cynics agreed unpredictability makes Sola exciting to watch and gives meeting her with a certain frisson. You really don't know what she's going to say, and believe me, with a Nollywood star, that's not just refreshing, it's all too rare.
"So, what do you want to know about me again, Biodun, she'd asked when I called her on phone last Monday. Your new work, I said in response to her. "Oh, I'm hitting the location next month. It is a story that will blow your mind she'd boasted. "But right now, I'm busy on location in Ogijo, after Ikorodu on location?"
Busy as a bee. Even when the movie season breaks, taking a break seems a luxury for Sola who after her teenage twin daughters have returned to school, still get herself busy with Mide, her last born who snuggles up to her. Her aged parents, Pa Joseph Ewatoyi Olagookun, and her mother, Esther, before she passed on, were regular callers at her home. Her challenge in life she'd said in an interview was to ensure they had the best of everything before they pass on. However, the sudden exit of her mother, a retired teacher last year, left a big vacuum in her life and her father's, a retired principal. "But life goes on," she said.
No, doubt a split- image of her father. If Sola had hearkened to the voice of her father, Pa Olagookun, 77, who hails from Ifon, Ondo State, she would have been in the classroom as a tutor. Though her foray into acting has fetched her fame and money, Pa Olagookun had said in an interview with this writer that it was never his career choice for his daughter. "I didn't like her going into acting much. I wanted her to be an academician. She was a very brilliant child. She was very robust, active and intelligent. One of the attributes she had was sticking to whatever she wanted to do. She was very pertinacious."
Though he would have stuck to bringing his dream to reality for his beautiful daughter, the influence of his brother-in-law changed his position. There were some overriding influences. "Tunji Oyelana, my son-in-law and then a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, was a great influence. I think she was really influenced by him and I think she had encouragement from him and with that I couldn't object."
With over two decades in the thespian art, Pa Olagookun assessed her daughter. "I'm very happy to see where acting has taken her and I thank God for the progress she's making."
With credits in several movies including not less than half a unit that she has produced- Jokotade, Ipinnu, Ewa Abuku and Eyi Gaa her last movie on the shelf was Ayo Mi Da directed by Tade Ogidan two years ago. In Ayo Mi Da's casting, she did the unusual by not playing the lead role in her movie. She opted for Foluke Daramola. Her choice of Foluke, she said was not fortuitous. "She deserved it in all practical sense of it. She worked hard at it. Tade really drilled her for the role and I gave kudos to her." Ayo Mi Da also scored another first with heartthrob actor, Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) playing a role in a Yoruba movie. Several years ago both of them had acted together in Jagua Nana's Daughter, a stage production.
For Sola, the journey to showbiz started when she opted out of College of Education to follow her dream by going to Ibadan then the hub of entertainment in Nigeria. Initially enrolled as a Secretary in training at Sight & Sound, Ibadan, Tunji Oyelana, (Sura Di Tailor) who married her elder sister, Kikelomo got her enrolled in the University of Ibadan's Department of Music. When she didn't get her fulfilment rocking the microphone, she eventually opted for the thespian art. From rested Village Headmaster, to Lola Fani Kayode's Mirror In The Sun and a couple of stage productions including Femi Osofisan's Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again, it was a steady rise for her. She also scored more credits in a long list of Yoruba movies- Asewo To Re Mecca and Eri Okan.
But like she admitted, never has her acting career enjoyed rave reviews, acclaim and boost, as it has received in Super story's Oh Father, Oh Daughter. It meant different thing to different people. "There are instances women have walked up to me and told me that my role in Super story has helped them to restore their marriages, especially relationships that have been disturbed or threatened by the second woman. I am happy the role has touched lives and changed many homes for better."
Married to former corporate executive director of EKO Hospital, Dotun Sobowale, who has since relocated abroad. Sadly, reports in the media suggest Sola is not having the best of the world in her matrimonial home. She has been hounded severally by the media and linked romantically with one or two people, especially veteran actor, Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello). Her response to the media would have been a calculated mum but "I'd rather say that nobody can destroy what God has built. It is stupid for anybody to think I'm dating Oga Bello. It's hard for anybody to see really who I am all the time and I'm comfortable with all sides of myself."
Her relationship with Oga Bello, she said was mutual and professional and dated back to the production of the film, Eri Okan by Awada KerI keri Group, which he was a leading member.
In spite of the negative press acting has brought to her life, Sola said the profession remains her first choice. " Even if I reincarnate I will love to return as an actress."