Mosun Filani, a Yoruba actress, whose last movie, Iku Ewa, fetched her four awards and 11 nominations, tells AISHAT JIMOH why everything she does is dogged by controversies
What do you do apart from acting?
I’m into modelling as well; I have done that for quite a number of companies and that explains my present stature.
What other things are you doing at the moment?
I’m still a student at the Tai Solarin University of Education, where I’m studying Business Administration. You know I had an NCE already, so I’m pursuing a degree now.
What was your growing up like?
I grew up in Ibadan. I was born into a family of seven and now six of us are left. I had my primary and secondary education there and I later moved to Abeokuta.
I read about your late brother that he was a cult member. Well, that was just a selling point for newspapers. They see everything that happens to artistes as a selling point, which is not supposed to be. I lost a brother who was not a small boy; he was 25. A family grieving over the death of a loved one shouldn’t be a selling point to the media. If I were to be in the media, I wouldn’t even write such a thing because it’s not something people will be happy about. They did not even write the correct thing that actually happened.
He was shot, wasn’t he?
Yes, he was.
So, how did that happen?
Nobody knew; it happened on a Friday and we didn’t know until Sunday. I think it was a robbery scene and my brother was hit by a stray bullet because I saw the corpse.
What’s up with your acting career?
Nothing much; it’s progressing gradually and I thank God I’m getting there.
Was it that you planned to be an actress while you were in school or it just happened?
Not really, but as at then, I had started with stage drama in school.
How many movies have you produced so far?
By the grace of God, I’ve produced four movies that did very well in the market and also, I’ll be launching my new movie on 6 March. It’s titled Oko Obirin: it’s about love, care between men and women.
Who do you regard as a role model in the industry?
Joke Silva is my role model and my mentor.
You have been tagged a controversial actress. What do you think is responsible for this?
I don’t know.
Did you cause any rift between Adebayo Tijani and Muyiwa Ademola?
I wouldn’t know. But I’ve come to realise that whatever people say or write about me, they do it as a selling point. Most things they write about me don’t show any form of investigative journalism. They just pick a story concerning Mosun Filani and write. And also, I notice that if XYZ people should pick a particular topic and write about it, other magazines will follow suit without even trying to find out whether it is true or not.
If these things are not true, why do you avoid journalists when they try to get your side of the story?
Why would I have a phobia for the media? It’s a lie! I’ve realised that even if at all they call you, what they want to write is still what they are going to write. At the end of the story, they would write, ‘Although when we tried to get across to Mosun Filani, she claimed…’ Do you know the meaning of that statement? It shows that they don’t even believe me. So, I know what they are trying to do; I still understand English very well to an extent.
So, did you really cause any misunderstanding between the two actors?
I don’t know what they are talking about and I don’t have any comment on it.
Were you a student of Muyiwa Ademola drama school? It is believed that you trained along with Adebayo Tijani in his drama school in Oyo State.
No, I didn’t train under him; I trained here in Ogun State, in Abeokuta, under the tutelage of Waheed Ijaduade. I wonder where people are getting these false news from.
Did you later join their clique because you appear in most of their movies?
What do you mean by clique? There is nothing like that in the industry; we work together. They can decide to call me and at the same time bring Odunlade Adekola too; it largely depends on the choice of the producer.
It was reported that you were the one calling the shots while you were with Muyiwa Ademola and Adebayo Tijani crew, which actually got the latter angry.
As I said, I don’t know how and where these people get these stories. I still chatted with Adebayo Tijani on my BlackBerry yesterday and if we were not talking, I won’t even have his contact here.
Did Muyiwa’s wife send emissaries, threatening to pour acid on you if you didn’t leave her husband?
Where do they get these stories from? Who are the emissaries? I don’t even want to talk about this; maybe she sent the media people to me.
Were you dating her husband?
Why would I do such? For God’s sake, he is a married man and I’m single; am I not going to get married someday? What do I want to do with him?
Did you date Adekola Odunlade?
I’m tired of all these stories and I don’t even want to talk about them.
But if you don’t talk, how do you want people to know the real picture?
Whether I talk or not, what they want to write is what they’ll still write. Let me ask you a question: must they always write negative things about me?
Is that why you don’t like journalists?
When you do things that are good and excellent, they don’t write such. When I got three awards for Iku Ewa and 11 nominations, nobody published that. And if at all it is published, you will only see it in a corner where people will hardly notice it. But if Mosun has an accident, it will make headlines. Why? It’s as if they don’t appreciate me and I don’t want to have anything to do with people that don’t appreciate what I do. We are supposed to be appreciated and not condemned.
But are you saying that all the stories about you are false?
Why would anyone conclude that I have a phobia for the media? When they call you once or twice and you tell them you are on location or that you are busy, they see it as if you don’t want to talk to them. What if I’m busy? Am I supposed to leave what I’m doing for my own livelihood and attend to them? They are also on the pursuit of their own means of livelihood. So, I think it’s supposed to be balanced.
What is your relationship with Dimeji Bankole?
I don’t even know him. Who is Dimeji Bankole?
Are you saying you didn’t date any of these people?
I didn’t. I heard people talking about it somewhere and they didn’t even know I was there. I don’t even bother reading newspapers or magazines anymore. They just write a whole lot of nonsense about people. I can’t waste my precious time pursuing one lawsuit or the other. You can’t compare how things are done in Nigeria with what happens abroad. In Nigeria, the guys get away with libel. If you sue abroad, they won’t even bother writing about what or why you sued because they know that will jeopardise their career. But here in Nigeria, it’s a sorry case. I’ve grown a very thick skin to all this and as long as I please myself and my God, I don’t need to please anybody.
What is your relationship with your female counterparts in the industry?
We relate well; we’re all colleagues. I see them as colleagues and we exchange greetings and that’s all. I’m not close to anyone, but I try to create a good working relationship with everyone in the industry.
Talking about seniority issue, you said you don’t want to associate with anyone that will ask you to call them aunty or senior sister. Is it true?
Yes, because that is the order of the day in the industry. It is very rampant these days. Age is just a number; achievement is what we are supposed to look at here. We’re not supposed to look for someone that will call us aunty or uncle because I see it as rubbish. When you go to the bank, do you ever hear them calling brother or aunty? Even if you are as old as their mother, they still call one another names.
Don’t you think you should accord respect to your elders in the industry?
Well, aunty is not the main thing. I can decide to call you aunty and still not respect you. I can call you your name and respect you so well. I know people that are older than me that I call by their names and at the same time, I still show them the kind of respect that I will not even show those that I call aunty.
What about your reported rift with Fathia Balogun? We learnt that you told people that she borrowed shoes from Ronke Ojo and that really got her annoyed.
She is my senior colleague and for heaven’s sake, do I even have the time for silly talk about people? Who am I going to discuss her with? Nothing of such happened.
But she chastised you the last time she saw you with Muyiwa Ademola.
This is one of the reasons I decided to stop reading newspapers. Where and when did it happen? Where do people get their stories from?
Are you saying Fathia did not warn you to stay off Muyiwa Ademola at all?
What for? All these things they say about me are just to bring me down. I guess that is the price I have to pay for being a celebrity. I’ve come to realise that this is the price I have to pay and I’m still paying it. But I don’t let it get to me.