Ifeoluwa is a son to veteran Nollywood actor, Antar Laniyan. In this interesting chat with Gbenga Adeniji, he talks about his father’s ideals and career.
Who is Ifeoluwa Laniyan?
I am Ifeoluwa Laniyan, a son to actor Antar Laniyan. I am 19 years old and a student of Ajayi Crowther University studying Mass Communication. I am the first of two boys.
Was it your father who influenced you to choose the discipline?
Not at all. It is just a course that I like to study. I like talking and running commentary so mass communication especially the aspect of radio broadcasting seems the best option for me. I also like the arts.
My father is the kind of person that encourages one to do what is best for one. He allows one to choose the career path one decides to follow although the choice must be reasonable.
Does he always take you out with him?
Yes, he does that whenever he has the time. Sometimes, we attend press conferences or meetings together.
Where are the places he takes his family to?
He is always busy. But once in a while, he takes us out as a family. During such outings, we can go to choice restaurants, the mall to have a pizza or see a movie at the cinemas.
How do you feel that your father is a popular actor?
I feel proud but at the same time, I make sure it does not get into my head. I know that I still have to pursue my goals and be a better person than my father.
Do you want to be an actor like him?
Honestly, no one knows what the future holds or where the opening to success would come from. That is all I can say.
Did he tell you why he was named Antar and what it means?
Yes, there is a funny story about it. The story is everywhere though.
Tell us about it.
When his mother was carrying him in her womb, there was a rival who wanted to marry her husband at all cost. The rival went fetish to make sure that my father’s mother did not give birth to him. After being in his mother’s womb for 18 months, my father’s mother’s family made some findings. It was revealed that she had to beg the rival before she could deliver my father. When my father’s mother went to beg the rival, she was told to look for an animal known as goanna to make some concoction before she could have a safe delivery. Goanna is an animal called aworinwo in Yoruba but some Yorubas call goanna ‘antar.’ So, they used the goanna to make concoction for his mother. After some hours, she was delivered of my father. After the delivery, his mother decided to name him ‘antar’ after the animal that was used for the concoction.
How often does he take his family to Osun State where he is from?
My father desires to take us to his hometown as frequent as he can but his work schedule really does not allow him to do that.
What do people tell you when they realise Antar is your father?
Some people always exclaim, “oh, your father is a great actor, my mother has a huge crush on him” among other funny compliments. Some people express their perception of him each time we meet even though what they say may not be true of my father’s personality. For instance, he may have acted as a proud person in a movie and such people will think he is like that in real life. Or if in a movie he maltreats a woman, they will form an opinion of him and say to me whenever they meet me and know that I am his son: ‘That your father is wicked.’
Do you tell your mother that some of his female fans have a crush on him?
(Laughs). My mother knows herself that some of my father’s female fans have a crush on him.
What does she say to that?
She always says my father is not doing his job if there are no admirers.
Did he tell you how he copes with female admirers?
Yes, he distances himself from the seductive ones. But in his true nature, he appreciates all his fans.
Who are your father’s friends?
My father’s friends are his colleagues. They are people that are like him; intelligent people.
Who are those people?
Some of them are Funsho Adeolu, Dele Odule, Jide Kosoko and many others who are working hard to see the growth of the movie industry.
What is his typical day like?
When he wakes up, he takes his bath, eat and if there’s a location to go, he goes there. If he has no location to go, he stays at home with his family. He watches football with his ‘boys’ (us) and tries to be a better person/actor by reading.
How does he relax?
He relaxes by watching movies or football.
Have you featured in a movie with your father?
Yes, I featured with him when I was two years old in a movie titled, ‘Pelumi.’ I have not watched the movie but was told about it.
Which of his films is your favourite and why?
It is the film, ‘Amiwo.’ I like it. He interprets the role in a good way. He is objective character wise in that movie. The objectivity I am talking about is in the sense that he plays out the role so well that people who believe in God may have doubts. The movie has a deep theme of paganism. You may have doubts about God if you see the movie.
Does he have any favourite songs he listens to?
Yes, he listens to Fela and Bob Marley. They are his favourites. Above all, he listens to good music. He likes contemporary music that is appealing to the ear.
Your father appears as a disciplinarian in movies, is he strict at home?
My father is friendlier at home because home is leisure but that does not take away the fact that he is still a disciplinarian. If you ask him, he will tell you that there are three Antars.
Who are the three Antars?
There is Antar the actor, Antar the father and Antar the husband.
How does he correct his children when they offend?
He corrects us when we do what he does not like in a disciplined and fatherly way.
What do you mean by disciplined and fatherly way?
He will sit the offending child down and talk some sense into his head. But if the offence has passed that stage, he will not hesitate to employ the classic ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ principle. But he’s changed now.
Can you recall when he used the cane on you when you misbehaved?
I recall a day I was turning a somersault in the living room and my mother raised the alarm that I wanted to kill myself. My father was at home that day and when he heard my mother’s voice, he swung into action. The rest, as they say, is history. It was a long time though.
What goes on in your mind whenever you watch him in films?
Nothing much comes to my mind whenever I watch my father act in films. I always look out for the flaws in the movies and point them out to him. I am used to him on the screen than in real life.
Why do you know him more on the screen than in real life?
As funny as it may sound, I know too many characters of my father that when he is at home, I do not know what to expect. He is a legend I must say.
Does he have any particular way of dressing?
My father wears anything simple and that is comfortable on him.
What are the privileges that his name gets for you?
I get a VIP treatment in tough situations but I prefer to lead a normal life notwithstanding who my father is.
Do you wish he should have pursued other career but acting?
I do not have any regrets that he has chosen acting as his career. It is the career he loves and it is paying his bills. But on the other hand, if he were a footballer in Barcelona or Chelsea, winning the Ballon d’or would be greater I think.
Did he share with you the career he would have chosen if he were not an actor?
If he were not an actor, he would have been a soldier, maybe by now he could have become a general.
Why would he have loved to be in the military?
He has a passion for the military. He likes the swag, style and ways of soldiers.
Is there any pressure on you because of who your father is?
Yes I would not lie about that. There is a personal pressure to be better than my father and from the outside, there is pressure from friends, family members, advisers and people that mean a lot to me. I would not want to disappoint them and myself.
What is his favourite food?
It is porridge no doubt.
What is his favourite drink?
He doesn’t drink anything that contains alcohol.
In school, what are the preferential treatments you get because of who your father is?
In school, the treatment I get is not because of who my father is. I also try to be a good, respectful and obedient person so that I do not get into trouble. In that way, I am accorded respect too.
Your father consciously speaks good English in movies even in Yoruba films. Does he mandate his children to speak English at home?
He does not even need to mandate us to speak English. What kind of image are we going to portray if we cannot speak good English in public? Moreso, English speaking is an important part of our everyday activities.
Does that mean his children do not speak Yoruba?
We speak Yoruba but we do not speak the language fluently.
What do you think are his future career goals?
My father has a lot of goals to achieve and I am sure he is going to achieve them in no time. He is planning on a great theatre school so that the next generation of Nollywood stars can go through the educative process of theatre.
Your father has been able to considerably maintain a scandal-free status in the industry. What do you think works for him in that regard?
I think being scandal-free boils down to his personality. He is straightforward and calm. He is not the controversial type so he has been able to manage scandals and rumours very well.
How does he handle marital disagreements with his wife?
My parents are mature adults and they know that disagreements are natural so they settle their differences in the best possible way in the interest of their children and for their happiness.
Which film did he experience the most challenging role and why?
I really do not know about his most challenging role in a movie. But I know that he is a consummate professional and can conveniently fit into and play any role perfectly.
Does he exercise?
My father does not do rigorous exercises. Once in a while, he jogs and drives around.
Why does he keep a particular hairstyle with a part-in?
Every artiste has a means of identification and I think my father’s hairstyle is his identity. I have noticed the hairstyle on him for 18 years.
What is his view about the Nollywood industry?
I cannot honestly say what his view is about Nollywood. But I know that he wants the best for the industry. He wants the industry to progress and for piracy to be curbed.
What are the other things you can say about your father?
My father can keep an item for as long as seven years and when the item is no longer useful, he throws it away. He is very gentle, meek and shy.