Idiat Shobande has been in the movie industry since 1995 and she has five movies to her credit and has featured in many others. Recently, she was nominated for the Best Actress in a Leading Role at Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), one of the most prestigious film industry awards in Africa and beyond. Shobande, in this interview with Abimbola Adebayo, talks about her life and the Nigerian movie industry.
HOW did you come about the role of Aramotu?
It was at a location for Kati aye yan ju e, with Ireti Osayemi Bakare. When I got there, she told me that there was an audition somewhere, that her husband was aware of it. Later, I got a text from her husband that I should come for audition. I met different calibre of people when I got there. I was so scared and never thought I could get the role.
You seem to be very close to Ireti?
Yes, we are very close.
How did you meet her?
I got to know her through the movie 'Iyawo sara, which I played the lead role and since then she has been my friend and we always communicate with each other.
Did you think of getting the role?
I prayed to get the role before I went for the audition. But when I saw a large number of people there, I had a second thought, but the people handling it were very professional about the whole thing. I thank God that I got it.
How do you feel after the announcement that you are one of the nominees for the 'Best Actress in a Leading Role' for AMAA, which include other actresses across Africa?
It has been wonderful. My friends have been calling to congratulate me, though I am yet to win the award. But I hope to win it.
What were the challenges you faced during the production?
We encountered a lot of challenges before we got to the location. Our car broke down several times so we got to Erinjiyan around 11.pm. Meanwhile, we left Lagos around 9.am. We were unable to eat when we got there that night. I had a shower and went to sleep. The next day, during introduction, when it got to my turn, Bakare, Ireti's husband said, "this is the lady everybody is here for" and I was shocked. Gabriel Afolayan, Ade Afolayan's son came to me and introduced himself. He played a sub-lead role in the movie. Everything became easy from that point. I didn't follow them to the location the first day and when everybody came back, I asked them whether the director was the wicked type. The next day on location the director, seeing that I was scared encouraged me and he actually brought out the 'Aramotu' in me.
What part of the movie did you find hard interpreting?
It was the wood carving part. The carving of the statue called 'Gelende'. I have never done anything like that before so I found it very difficult to do because I didn't have the knowledge, but they gave me the tools and taught me how to do it.
Did ever think Aramotu would bring you to limelight?
Part of me had the belief because the movie was a multi-million naira project. The producer really spent a lot on the project. But I thank God that everything lies in him.
You are not new in the movie industry. How many movies have you produced so far?
I have produced five movies like, 'Agbale Oja"Baba Oba' 'Igbeyin Ewuro"Omo Iya Ijo' and 'Okan'.
You have produced as many as five movies, how come much is not known about you?
I believe God's time is the best time. I don't just go to locations. I don't want to beg anybody for a role. If you feel the role suits me, then you call me. I don't want anybody to take advantage of me because of a role. I don't lobby, though I do it where I feel it is necessary. Another thing I also do is to read scripts before I venture into any production.
Apart from your production, which other movie have you featured in?
I have played lead roles in other people's production such as 'Auntie Aramide' 'Bolanle' 'Mo se se Bere' 'Iyawo Sara' 'Oro Okere'. They are many. I can't remember all of them right now.
Which caucus in the industry do you belong to?
I belong to the Lagos Island group, that is the 'Ka ri ohun wi' caucus. But now I am on my own. I am now an independent producer.
What kind of challenges do you face as an actress?
The problems with the industry are many. Some- times, you would go to loca- tions and have to feed yourself; get accommodation by yourself, and sometimes when they want you to do cer- tain things and you tell them you are above that, or you tell them that you want a room, they would say, "she is feeling too big." They might decide not to call you again. For instance, I have been in the industry for a while and some- body who came in today, because she is popular and own a car may look down on you. Respect is really lacking in the industry, even to the elders.
How can the problems in the industry be resolved?
There is need for reorientation. We should be re-orientated to move the industry forward.
Apart from Aramotu, did you have any other challenge in interpreting roles?
I have never found it difficult interpreting roles.
Since many know you and others will still get to know you through 'Aramotu' how do you hope to keep the pace?
It is not an easy thing, but I will continue to do my best. The industry is all about caucuses. Sometime ago, I decided to belong to a group like that, but I regretted it. The person involved tried to enslave me. She said, "Since you came to me I must enslave you." So I decided to keep to myself. I just try to do my best, even though I never thought it was going to end up like that.
You said there are caucuses and you decided to keep to yourself, how do you intend to get roles?
Well, roles will come through my friends in the industry. For instance, if Ireti Osayemi and her husband have something for me, they will definitely let me know. The same goes for me, if I'm writing a script I will have them in mind. That is how it goes.
Don't you think you need to spread your tentacles?
Yes, you're right, I will do that in good time.
Give us insight to your background
I hail from Ogun State. I had my secondary education at Aladura Comprehensive High School, Anthony Village, Lagos in 1984 and went for my Diploma in Cosmetology at Royal my mother who used to encourage me died in 2002 and did not witness my progress in acting, especially during this AMAA nomination.