A veteran Yoruba actor, Ebun Oloyede, popularly known as Olaiya Igwe, has narrated how pirates almost made him run into debt following the release of a movie he produced in 2014.
Mr Oloyede, who has been in the Yoruba movie industry since the 1970s after joining Musbau Shodimu Theatre Organisation based in Abeokuta, disclosed that the movie cost him about N52 million to shoot.
The tribal-marked actor, popular for his comical roles, is regarded as one of the richest in his industry.
He opened up about his ordeal during an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos at the media announcement of ‘Ile Ayo’, a new Yoruba comedy-drama series.
The talented actor said he produced his last movie in 2008 but released it in 2014. The film, which was titled, ‘Mystery of Unity’, was shot in English and Yoruba language.
Both films were shot simultaneously and released on the same day.
He said, “I spent N52 million on the last movie I produced in 2008. When I released it in 2014, they pirated the movie. I nearly broke down. I almost lost my mind that Sunday when my marketer called to break the sad news to me. I almost had a heart attack that Sunday night. I mean I lost about N52 million on that job and I was in debt for months.”
He said after the misfortune he went to the U.S. to spend some time with his son, Ridwan. The latter was building his career as a music artiste in New York.
“The English title is Mystery of Unity, the Yoruba title is Aditu Isokan… Same plot, same character, everything was the same. I released the two at the same time.
“I had to speak with my son, Ridwan when I travelled out of the country to the U.S. to rest. He saw what happened to me. Since that time, I’ve never produced any movies.”
Mr Igwe, who has also played roles in the TV series ‘Awon Aladun De’ and ‘Ile Alayo’, said that piracy is not gaining ground anymore in Nigeria. He believed that “social media has curbed it to some extent.”
The thespian, who is the producer of popular movies such as ‘Iru Esin’, ‘Alase Aye’, ‘Abela Pupa’, among others urged Nigerian producers “who do good movies” to rely more on cinemas and streaming platforms like Netflix to avoid being vulnerable to piracy.
He said, “If you produce a very good movie now, you should take it to the cinemas or NetFlix, then you’ll have nothing to do with piracy.”
“But if you produce a very good movie now and you take it anywhere else, expect more piracy. The pirates will greet you and make a partnership with you.”
The legendary actor was recently featured in a skit produced by the Popular Nigerian Instagram comedian, Debo Adebayo (Mr Macaroni) titled ‘My In-law from Ghana’.
He has also partnered with another social media sensation, Cute Abiola on ‘Okada Accident’ and ‘The Revenge’.
He praised the duo and described them as “fantastic, responsible and they’re working a lot.”
“Being tutored in their skills added more to their career. Whatever you’re doing, if the younger ones are watching you and they like you, your contemporaries as well definitely, you’re not bad.”
“That’s what I feel and I appreciate it so much. I want them to keep inviting me and I have promised them that whenever they call me, I’ll be ready to answer their call.”
He disclosed that he is currently working on a movie. He believed that the movie would be acceptable to his followers.
“Now, I’m working on a movie with a very fantastic script. It might not be fantastic to the audience, but I know I will never disappoint my audience.”
Mr Oloyede, who hails from Ogun State, has featured in more than 100 movies.
Among them are Ololade (Mr Money), ‘Iru Esin’, ‘Kosi Tabi Sugbon’, ‘Abela Pupa’, ‘Baale Oko Ilu and son’.