There’s no denying what masterpiece Tunde Kelani, Jadesola Osiberu and Kunle Afolayan created with the biopic, ‘Ayinla’. This movie captured the times and life of a famous Nigerian Apala musician, Waidi Ayinla Yususf Gbogbolowo popularly known as Ayinla Omowura.
One of its kind musical, the setting, the characters, the music, the themes, the costumes, and the plot are all beautifully combined to not just give us an insight into Ayinla’s life, but also how the average Yoruba community was and how the Apala genre greatly influenced the living of the people and the society during this era.
Nigerian actor and filmmaker, Lateef Adedimeji was the lead character as he assumed the role of Ayinla Omowura himself who was killed by his manager, Bayewu – played by Mr Macaroni – using a beer mug in a brawl, on May 6th 1980, in Itako, Abeokuta.
According to Lateef, he described this as “the most challenging role of my career”. Some of the challenges include how he wasn’t a fan of Apala music before this film. In fact, he hadn’t listened to any Apala music all his life by intention. He also had to research on Ayinla’s life and learn his songs. All of which, according to him, were “very tasky”.
Was Lateef really a good fit for the Ayinla role? Why wasn’t it Odunlade Adekola, or Ibrahim Chatta, or Femi Adebayo, or even Kunle Afolayan himself? Why did Tunde Kelani pick Lateef Adedimeji? Is it his charisma? Is it his fluency in Yoruba? Or, is it his great acting skills?
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From ‘Kudi Klepto’ up to the highly acclaimed ‘Ayinla’, we’ve seen how Lateef has embodied each character he plays, displaying such raw emotions and moving his audience to great points of conviction. I for one believe this was what Tunde Kelani saw in Lateef that made him stand out for the role and here are some of my reasons:
His lip syncing abilities
Even though it was very obvious that Lateef wasn’t the one actually singing all the songs in ‘Ayinla’, his lip syncing is very commendable. It was very obvious Lateef made huge efforts to learn the songs, as there were times his lips flowed with the voice of Ayinla.
Facial structure and body stature
Looking at pictures of Ayinla Omowura and Lateef Adedimeji, one can see striking features. From the tall lean frame, to the big nose, squared jaw, grins and even huge smile; Lateef only needed very little makeup and the costume to complete the ‘Ayinla’ look.
Some of his roles in previous movies
From acting as Tony Torpedo in ‘A Naija Christmas’, I dare might say there are few similarities with Ayinla. From the flashy dressing, to the entourage and the ‘superior’ presence, one can say Lateef killed it all.
Some of these reasons could be why Tunde Kelani had Lateef Adedimeji casted for the role and Lateef delivered with such skill and precision.
Can we say Lateef was a good fit for ‘Ayinla’? Well, yes he was. It takes more than memorising your lines to be a good actor. It takes patience, skill, dedication, attention to details, ability to be that character, convey each emotion and the ability to convince your audience to make a good actor.
The reason is that film is an expression of art and delivery is as important as the story being told. Lateef Adedimeji, we agree, understood this assignment.
If "Hermother's Daughter" isn't talking about something she is passionate about, then she's writing it. She is always in her head space, majorly thinking about what to cook or bake (to be frank, eat).
Well done for a finely scripted article. Proud of you!
👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 A good read. Well written.