Excerpts from Saidi Balogun 50th birthday interview with City People.
How do you feel at 50?
I feel good and elated , I will say I am a happy soul, I thank almighty Allah. Life is about first half and second half, I am happy to have survived the first half , the second half has just begun.
Looking back at the last half, tell us your experience?
Seriously, I do not want to look back because in life if you keep looking back, your race will be slow. That first half is gone and I am now looking at the way forward.
What should we expect in your next half?
I have to set new target for myself, entertainment is evolving, it is going up now and one has to meet up with the race. New people are coming in , one has to blend.
You have really taken the industry by storm, you introduced many innovations, one cast movie and all that, what should we expect from you?
I have always prayed to Allah to always allow me make history. In my first half. I moved like an helicopter then, now I will move like a plane because whenever a plane crashes the whole country shivers, I want to sell the image of this country in my second half. We should be able to sell our culture and improve on our technical knowhow. Now I am going to try to rebrand, restructure and reposition. I was in India and I saw slums yet we don’t get to see these slums in their movies, why ? they have been projecting their country in good light.
Why did you decide to float Golden Generations rather than joining TAMPAN or ANTP?
Truth is we are many, so we should also try to accommodate everybody. Something brings us together we should endeavour to be binded by it. Everyone should aim at something and join whatever association that fits him.
Don’t you think TAMPAN might want to exclude your members from their movies?
I am now fifty, it seems you are still operating the old number, please let us move on.
What are the things you engaged in before now that you can no longer do because of your age?
I have really experimented and introduced new innovations before, my records speak for me. However, I want to promote the culture of this country now, moreso I want to focus on improving the production aspect of it.
Tell us your biggest loss in the last 50 years?
f I had died at 49 years it could have passed for it, I don’t dwell on losses. I thank God I am alive today. I see my disappointments as byegone.
At some points you were into music too, why did you leave the musical scene?
I had done my best there and I think I should touch other areas that are still in the dark.
Tell us how you started?
I was born in Enugu, grew up in the north and I am a Yoruba boy. I lived with a man who did a lot of French. I can speak the 3 languages and it has been helping me. From the word go my mum knew I would become a good actor.My father was a soldier and a comedian although he didn’t commercialize his own but I am doing it now.I also have guardians in the industry , Madam Saje, Yinka Quadri, Lola Idije etc they helped me grow.I finished my secondary school in 1978 Madam Saje drove me back 8 years after.Lola Idije was always providing money for me any time I had issues at School.They have been calling me Jide Kosoko’s boy and I remain his boy.
What is your connection with Ibadan?
My father is from Ibadan, I am an original Ibadan boy. Some people ask me why I didn’t venture into politics and I always answer that two of my brothers have died in politics Lai Balogun died in politics, infact he drew the map of Osun ,that explains why Osun state governor Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola don’t joke with me. I decided not to take up any post because of what happened to my family members in the past.
Have we not been seeing more of you in Movies?
I am very choosy and population is getting bigger. We have many good actors who can take up jobs in the industry so I shouldn’t be everywhere.
You no longer feature in English movies anymore?
I have started featuring back, after my accident in 2006 I started choosing films. I can’t feature in every movie because we have other people who are equally good. I did a two cast movie but it didn’t win any local award yet it won 3 international awards. They don’t really appreciate us locally.
You have a unique way of conveying your messages via uncommon proverbs, please do you formulate your proverbs?
Not at all, what I do is try to express myself using these proverbs. I throw proverbs in our movies so that our children can learn the language the way it should be learnt.
What is your connection with Kwara ?
Well my mum is from Kwara while my dad is from Oyo, so you can say I am mixed like that.
When you started were you a member of ANTP?
Yes I was and I am still a member of everyone of them. Anyone who has job should beckon on me.
When are you going to retire from acting?
Acting is not like football where one can retire, check out great actors they retire at very old age, some acted till they clocked 90 years.
What is the relationship like between you and OONI of Ife?
Ooni is a big father to everybody, I have known him for long, I was standing by him the day Toyin Kolade faced him and said I saw a crown on you. Ooni and KWAM 1 made me go to MECCA. Ooni has been a fantastic father figure to me I try to emulate his humility and simplicity. He has been a wonderful father and I can’t help but remain loyal to him.