Antar Laniyan: How A Witch Tied Me To My Mother’ Womb For 18 Months Because She Wanted To Marry Dad

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witch tied antar laniyan to mother's womb 18 months

September 27, 2017 – Antar Laniyan: How A “Witch” Tied Me To My Mother’s Womb For 18 Months Because She Wanted To Marry My Father

  • Why I Was Named Antar Laniyan After My Mother Carried My Pregnancy For 18 Months
  • How Veteran Actor Araosan “Toasted” My Wife For Me

See excerpts of Nollywood actor Antar Laniyan’s recent chat with Gbolahan Adetayo of City People.

What is the secret behind your relevance in the industry as a veteran actor?

The secret isn’t farfetched, the only thing I know about myself that I think has been keeping me going is self-discipline and self-control. In life, you get to a certain stage and ask yourself what do you want, immediately you get the answer, then you can now talk about how to go about it. Some people have done it before, and this is where they are, so how do you now take your step so that you do not fall. Then, I put 2 and 2 together and I said to myself that it is not every 2 and 2 you put together that will give you 4, it could be 22.

So, what is going to be my weapon? Discipline. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, neither do I womanize. I had gotten to a certain stage that my Doctor warned me to go and have sex. What I hold on as weapon is discipline. I don’t say because you are a beautiful woman and I know what it takes to have you lie down on my bed and I take advantage of you. I don’t do that. I say to myself that If I sleep with her, she gets what she wants and she becomes a star, how do I look at her after stardom? What if I need her help thereafter? Of course, she wouldn’t want to help me because I didn’t just make her popular, we have done a trade by barter. I wouldn’t want such to happen. My son met somebody in Texas and he was like this is an artiste, he walked up to the person and said my dad is Antar Laniyan. The person was like what? Tell your dad you are with me, that is the kind of thing I want.

How many years have you spent in this vocation?

Professionally, okay let me say I met Ben Tomoloju in 1980, we started Kakaki Art Court. I remember we opened Channel 7 in 1981, as an amateur I started a age 15, following artistes all around, when I met Ben Tomoloju. He asked me because he was a teacher at Saka Tinubu Memorial High School we go to all these schools’ competitions and he asked me, boy, what you are going to do after your secondary school. I said to him that I wanted to further my education and I wanted to be a soldier. His response was that I don’t think you will do well in that profession.

Even my school Principal said the same thing. He told me that he believes that I will do well in theater if I go into it. This is because of the awards we have won for the school when we go out for drama competitions. He was so sure that he will hear more of me in future but it is rather unfortunate that the man died before the future came. He was Dele Alake’s father. M.O Alake was my Principal. I wish he is alive today to just witness his prediction come true.

What was the attraction before you decided that you wanted to be a soldier?

I was living in a Barack. My mum was chief mammy market. In Army Barack, they have mammy market and she was the chief then at Ilaro, Ogun State. Seeing them in the morning when they go on parade, I happened to be the small boy that will take their food to them. So, I got attracted to that, but each time I mentioned it, my mother will cry. I just knew that that was all I wanted.

What really influenced your movie character because you always look so tough?

That depends on the role the director says I should play. If you want me to play the role of a gate man who is so poor, of course I will but when you bring your script to me, the first thing is to know what the story is all about, then you first ask yourself a question “IF”, I am this character what do I do? If you can ask yourself this question then you will achieve it. If Antar is this man what would he do? You read the action of other characters towards that role and you blow it up.

What really differentiates the Antar we see on TV to the one who is talking with us now?

I know 3 Antars. At times I ask myself which of them is better. There is Antar the father, Antar the ordinary man on the street who doesn’t ignore people because he is a star. I know Antar that will pack and give people hand shake because probably they appreciate what we are doing and I will not ignore them. The other Antar is the father at home who does throw pillows with his children. We are like 3 boys in the house, we play together and ignore mummy. That alone causes problems at times. We are 3 boys and she is the only woman at home.

The 3rd Antar is the actor that sees himself going to locations not to wine and dine but to fight a war that he must win. You go to the war, you fight, you win and when you are watching the film, you ask yourself that will this style still be working in 20 years to come? If you can’t say yes, then you have not achieved anything.

So, you also review your acting skills?

You have to because if your new film isn’t better than the last one, then you have not achieved anything . Because the same tongue that says you are the best will say he is falling down. Anytime you say that was fine, you have given me a challenge. If you say fine actor, you are doing well, I love the film you did last especially the way you interpreted your roles, you have given me something to worry about because that means the next one I am going to do must be better, otherwise, that same you that says perfect will later come to say imperfect.

Having spent more than 3 decades in the industry, would you say you are fulfilled?

If you ask me have I achieved happiness, I will say yes but monetarily no. Then, Yoruba adage says “Owa Owolo, Opade Iyi Lona”, meaning even if you have the money is it not to earn yourself a respect? That doesn’t mean that someone appreciates what you are doing and I won’t I appreciate him in return.

Where were you born?

I was born here in Lagos and I remember mum said I stayed in the womb for 18 months, because she got pregnant for my father when he was in Oduduwa College. There was another lady who was interested in my father but according to my dad, he was also not aware that the lady was in love with him. My mother was probably faster than her and she didn’t take it easy with her. According to my mother, she almost lost her life in the process. In those days, you won’t sit and be watching a pregnant woman carry a pregnancy for 18th months, they have to go out for solution. It was during this finding that my dad was told there is somebody they have to apologize to. Along the line, they got the person and after many apologies, she explained my mum’s offence. Then, she recommended that they should look for an animal called Antar {Goanna}to prepare concoction. Immediately my mum ate it, I was delivered.

As at then, does that make you a special child?

When I look at the 4 boys she had, she treats me specially. She said she will not call me any other name but that Antar. According to her, I know what I saw, I know what I went through before I had you.

Which schools did you attend?

I went to Ansarudeen Primary School, late I moved because my dad was working with the Ministry of education, and they were transferring him from one place to another, and I had to be following him all around. I schooled in Lagos, Ilaro, Ikere Ekiti and the rest. When it got to secondary school, I came back to Lagos and I told him, daddy, I am not following you anywhere again. Following him all around really affected my education. Meanwhile, being a supervisor in Ministry of Education, he was popular. He had the chance to say put him in primary whatever, but my daddy will say no take him back, I got tired of that and said daddy I will stay in Lagos and that was all. I went to the University of Ibadan to study theater arts.

Did you work anywhere before?

Not at all. I got married so late because I got married to acting. I didn’t even remember until when it was getting late for my mum that she had to untie her headgear and say look at my head, what is the problem with you? I didn’t remember that I had to get married.

Lately, there are lots of errors in most Yoruba movies, what is responsible for this?

Funds! You and I know that there is no how you can make a good film in 4 days. It is not done anywhere. If you must achieve anything, you have to work 18 hours in a day and work 4 days to get it done. But because there is no sufficient funds, you have to work with the ones you have at hand. If you want to shoot today and the weather isn’t good enough, you can ignore that day. We can spend 3 months making a movie but by the time you calculate how much you hired the equipment for a day and you calculate it for 30 days, and the movie will be sold at Arena N400,000, that is not a business. We need to go beyond premiering or going to cinemas before you can realise our money. We need to take our movies across to the state or country where they don’t understand Yoruba, get a distributor and sell master copy to them and make more money. But principally, you premiere, call your friends to come and donate that is how you get your money back. You can’t make profit if you shoot a movie and sell directly to the Arena people.

You don’t produce movies like others, why?

It is because you know that when you spend heavily on a movie and you take it to Arena, no matter the amount you must have spent on it, they are going to buy it less than half a million. To me, that doesn’t make sense. So, I will just sit and pick up scripts from those who need my service. I have hope that someday things will change. Stage play will resurface. For example, our mothers who come on a visit from the village, you buy several films for them to watch but now, that mama will tell you don’t buy films because Africa Magic is there. That means that they are not going to buy films again. And Africa Magic has a certain amount that they will buy your film. And they will not even take rubbish from you. The hope now is that, if cable TV like Africa Magic are everywhere and they say bring soaps, bring 52 episodes. If they think you are doing well they ask for more. If they are paying you N30,000 per episodes, by the time you multiply it to that 2, you will know what you have at hand. If they are showing it every day, that calls for more and all that. That is the only hope I believe we still have.

How does your wife cope with the pressure of seeing you going to locations at all times?

The thing is that she knew I was into acting before she married me. She wanted me to achieve because I remember that time when she complained about a movie I did that I played the role of a husband and a woman played the role of my wife, it got to a point where we had to hug ourselves. We did, but when the film came out, my wife was saying you didn’t hug and kiss her very well, I said really? Don’t worry. That is why I will say I have her support. She said I didn’t do it right because I was trying to guard myself. She said it is my job and I have to do it right..


What was the attraction when you met her?

That is another aspect of Antar, I am a very shy person. In those days, I couldn’t ask women out. I and Araosan were sitting together at the National Theater Lagos and I saw a lady going in to watch a film and I told Araosan that this babe is beautiful, he said you that you don’t know how to toast, go and sit down. I never knew, he just stood up and approached her on my behalf and when he came back, he said the babe you said you want is very tough.

She said even though you are Antar Laniyan the star, can’t you come by yourself. I saw that as a challenge and I walked up to her when she finished watching the film. I told her that you said can’t I come myself? She said ,yes because if you are man enough, you should walk up to a woman and ask her out, not that you will send a messenger. That was all. She later found out that I am a shy person.