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MY HIGHEST PAY IN MOVIE IS N3 — SAHEED BALOGUN

By Funmi Johnson
SAHEED BALOGUN
SAHEED BALOGUN

Though he has been faced with many terrible challenges in life, some of which include his failed marriage and an automobile accident that almost claimed his life, popular actor and singer, Saheed Balogun, says he won't give up on movies.
He has therefore resolved to move closer to God and work in his steadfastness to overcome his misfortunes.

Saheed Balogun

This Kwara State-born actor, fondly called James Bond by his fans, also 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 women have played in his life.

When asked about his estranged wife, Fathia, and their failed marriage, the actor fires back “aren't you journalists tired about writing about it after two years? Read on:

You said you just produced a two-cast movie, what is special about it?
These days, I write my movies not because I want to be known, I write my movies not because I want to do business, but because I write from the experiences I have acquired in my marital life and in the course of my accident.

I don't write to criticise the other party or to criticize myself. I write to nurture, teach and educate people on how to live peacefully in their marriage, in their place of work and as it applies to their day to day activities. We producers, adapt three approaches to it. We tell the past, deal with the present and periscope the future. I did a two-cast movie.

If you watch it very well, especially the promo on the television, you will notice that the film is about one man, one wife.

What is the title of the movie?

'Modupe Temi' is the title. It is about one man, one wife. For instance, my wife and I are having very little problems presently. So, how would you handle it? How would you prevent it from happening to you?

You read about a lot of it on the papers. How do we teach and nurture the young ones who are looking up to me like a role model? How do I educate them on ways to prevent such happenings in their lives?

That is why I said we producers are like modern day pastors.

How do you think the movie will impact on the entertainment industry?

It will. I have produced more than eighteen films, I told the world that we are the first in Africa, the giant of Africa.

We should not breed a crop of good radiance to bad rubbish. We should not celebrate bad things like State Governor embezzling public money. I said to myself, Samuel Peters fought for Nigeria, to become the first African to win a boxing title at a time. So why can't I be the first ever producer from the same Nigeria, the giant of Africa to produce a two - cast movie.

I love thinking very well. Like the Chinese will always say 'mishani - minshangai,'- good thinking, good product' We should be able to think for the audience. You work to earn salary you use in buying our movies, the audience is working hard, so why can't I think hard to produce good films.

So how do you cope with the hustling and bustling of the job?

I did not jump into the profession, I have seen my brothers and elderly ones doing it. I knew it was going to be tedious and I am ready to deal with it. So, whatever comes my way now, I deal with it as it comes and I am happy.

By the way, how did you get into the movie industry?

Right from the day I was born. My father used to do comedy and the same blood flows in my veins. I decided to make mine commercial by showing it to the world. I did not want to do it the way my father did his by sitting down and making the whole community laugh, I decided to make mine international as well.

What did you read in school?

I read Statistics.

There seems to be no corroboration between that and what you now do?
That is why I said anybody can act but only the born actors, that are appointed and anointed by God, go into it and make their marks.

Who is Saheed Balogun?

They call me the bad boy with the bad attitude. The most horrible looking guy that enjoys dancing before the beautiful things like you ladies. I'm a guy and I enjoy myself. I'm also a straight foward person. If I don't like you, I'll show it to your face.

You can see it in the countenance of the way I have been handling the present situation that had been happening to me. If I don't like you, you will know because I will not laugh when I greet you. If I like you, you will see it in my countenance

Are you now a politician?

I'm not a politician, I'm a business man with great ambition. I have a vision and I follow the vision. If you have a good idea, I follow it up with you. I don't give up.

Is that why you decided to work for Chief Adiukwu Bakare?
Yes, she may have contested as the Governor of Lagos because she is a politician but when I read her manifesto, I realized that she has a strong vision and passion for Nigeria than any other.

She once told me that if anyone gives you money, don't take it because you want to take it, but ask for the source of the money.

I'm not campaigning for anybody but I'm begging Nigerians, let us celebrate the good ones and let us deal with the bad ones. When we celebrate the good ones that have good intentions for us, we know what will happen but when we celebrate the bad ones that will embezzle our money, we are compounding the problem.

I repeat, I'm not a politician, I follow a visioneer who believes there is a better tomorrow.

So you can't see yourself becoming a politician someday?

I don't think so. But I don't decide for God.

What was your growing up years like?

Hectic, tedious. I finished my primary school in 1978 and did not get back to the secondary school until 1984, six years after.

What happened?

I grew up in the Army Barrack and I could speak little pidgin and some English, so I felt I could make some money by going into acting ventures and then my mother was a trader.

But I now discovered that in the future, education will matter a lot in my acting career because the Yorubas started the acting and stage drama then and education was minimal. That was why I went back to school and today, it is paying off for me.

Today I speak the three languages fluently, Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba and I can still speak English. That is education.

How do you unwind?

I will not lie to you, for now I don't unwind because I have a very tedious task and challenges before me. So I don't have time to unwind.

Are your kids living with you?

No, they are with their grand mother for now. But during weekends or whenever I want to see them, I just go and sit down with them. My kids are used to me.

They are equally funny. The two boys among them, Jamal and Karim are my replica. For instance, I was sleeping on Saturday, Karim walked up to me and said 'why are you sleeping by 1pm, you should be working?'

I said “why?” He replied saying “because you are a man”. When I asked why he said that, he said because I said something like that to him last year that, as a man, I should work'. I was like, my God, my son does not forget anything I tell him.

So how do they cope with the absence of their mum?

Their mum is around. If she is not there physically, she is with them spiritually. Let me tell you one gospel truth, if you go to any pastor or any Afa to pray, the first thing they will ask you for is your mother.

Another example is when you have a bad child in the house, and the boy wakes up one morning and say, 'mummy, daddy, I am now born again, I am now a changed person' you will see the mum dancing round the town, but the father will say 'let's wait till two years and see' . That word mother, is great.

They are the ones who can lavish your future, they are the doors through which you came into the world. So they are physically and spiritually with the kids.

Don't you miss her?

I don't want to talk much about it and I am not supposed to. Sometimes I ask journalists 'aren't you bored about this issue yet?

You have not answered the question

That is why they call me James Bond

How did you come about the name James Bond?

I am a spiritual man . Balogun means the Chief Warrior. James Bond 007 says. Never say Die. My names come spiritually. My name Saheed in the Quaran is a Moslem warrior, so everything that has to do with me is war.

I love James Bond in the sense that he is a big proverb. If many artists from different part of the world, America, United Kingdom, etc, come together, that word 007 still stays at the top. For the last three years now, I have not appeared in more than six movies, but I am still there, that mean I'm still at the top. You see what I am saying, Never say die.

Would you say your acting career has paid off?

Yes, not monetary wise and No because I'm spreading the message. Just like the modern day pastor, I have been able to spread my gospel to the world and I have been able to tell some people the way I feel life should be and I have been able to picture the past for the people to see.

What is the highest amount you have ever been paid for playing a role?

The highest amount I have ever been paid is three naira.

Why?

Because that was the fee paid to me in 1981 for my first role. I have the highest value for the money because I was too young to have recieved such an amount. I love and I cherished it more than the one million I may be given today.

If the first amount you were paid is bad, that means all the subsequent ones will be bad but if the pay is good, then other ones will also be good.

What is your favorite food

Water. Every food you can think of is made of water.

What about solid food?

Prayer and the third one is Eba.

Who is your role model?

Almighty God because he is a patient God and the controller of heaven and earth.

What advice do you have for up coming ones?

They should learn how to be subjective and obedient and should not be in a hurry for money because if you are in a hurry for money, you will come in like a modern day fire in the wind and will get carried away.