Kofi Ajorlolo in less than 10 years of becoming a professional actor having dumped TV and radio broadcasting has become a house hold name both in Nigeria and Ghana.
The most sought after Ghanaian movie stars who is from the Ewe tribe and hails from Keta in Volta Region, the same place where Ghana's former President, Jerry Rawlings hails from.
I am from the Ewe tribe. and he opened up to www.nigeriafilms.com on how he got into the movie industry and how in the last 8 years he has continued to rise as an actor, his private life the woman in his life and why he broke up with his former wife.Enjoy reading:
Did you plan to go into movies or it was something you stumbled on?
Going into movies was not something I stumbled onto. I realized I had something that would propel me in terms of arts and this manifested in me since I was 8 years old. As a young boy I went into music and became a good trumpeter, since then I knew I was a born entertainer.
When did acting in movies start for you?
I started professional acting about 8 years ago. And since then I have really dedicated to acting. I told myself I need to get somewhere in this profession. And I found it very interesting to work with a lot of big artistes around me.
But you strike one as a veteran movie actor?
You are right. The perception is that I am a veteran movie actor because of the age at which I got into the industry. Though I have been a veteran broadcaster with specialization in TV and radio programmes presentation for several years. By the time I stumbled into acting I was presumed to be a veteran actor because I have been a media practitioner for quite a long time.
Was there any reason why you dumped broadcasting for acting?
It wasn't because I was tired but at a time I travelled to England to study, when I came back I decided to diversify into television because of the challenges of my time. Going into TV was more lucrative for me. I eventually pulled out of the Civil Service with the intention of doing things on my own but at a point things did not go as I had planned. So a cousin of mine who was an Executive Producer of Village Communications which produced a popular TV soap titled Taxi Driver. He asked me to write the script for the soap which was running on the TV then because the guys who were writing the scripts were acting funny. It was like a joke and I took it up. That was the beginning of how I got into acting.
After writing scripts for about 10 episodes, my cousin forced me to act a certain role in another soap titled Kortokoraba. My act was seen as intelligent and as someone who already had a household name in Ghana everyone commended my efforts. So by the time there was problem with the lead character of Taxi Driver, my cousin asked me to take it up and that was how I became a professional actor.
Thereafter a veteran actress, Grace Norton took me to a producer called HM Productions. At HM productions I was immediately given a lead role in a movie titled ''Friday At 4.30'', the movie was produced in year 2002.
How would you say you have fared between 2002 and 2010?
The manner in which I came into the industry made me face some challenges but for my experience in the media industry and because while I was a young man I was into music. Aside that, I don't allow situations to overwhelm me so this has helped my growth and rise in the industry.
When exactly did you gain an in-road into Nigerian movie industry?
My credit to Ghana based movie outfit called Venus Productions Limited owned by Abdulsam Mumuni. He got me scripts and I featured regularly in movies. After the production of a movie titled My Mother's Heart which got African Movie Academy Awards Nominations in 2006 and I was nominated for the Best Supporting Role. I was nominated alongside Justus Esiri, Enebeli Enebuwa, Jide Kosoko. Funny enough I did not know I have been nominated until few months after while I was going through a Nigerian newspaper. Afterwards I was invited for an All Stars Nite held at Nite Shift Coliseum owned by De Guvnor, Caleb Olumese. I think he saw my role in a popular soap titled ''Tentacles''. I played a lead role in the movie and I think a lot of people appreciated my role in the soap that was how I started becoming popular among Nigeria movie lovers. At Nite Shift Coliseum I made a speech and that turned out to be my formal introduction to Nigerian movie industry. Thereafter, the man behind Venus Productions one day called me that his colleagues in Nigeria (producers) want me to feature in their movies. So he arranged for me to come and act in some movies. So I came to Nigeria for the first job with Ghana movie stars like Jackie Appiah and others in 2007.
Between then and now, how many Nigerian movies have you starred in?
I can't remember the number of productions I have done in Nigeria but I know I have starred in several Nigerian movies.
Which of the movies will you say has endeared to the hearts of Nigerian movie lovers?
I would say most of the movies I have done with Genevieve Nnaji and Ini Edo are outstanding. Though I am yet to do a classic movie.
What is your definition of a classic movie?
These days the movie is fast growing and it is moving away from the regular home video and camera recording routine. And the story lines are becoming different now, I wish I could work with the likes of Kunle Afolayan who directed Figurine for a big African classic.
What would you attribute to your success in the movie industry?
I would say it is not by my strength to become successful in my endeavours. But through the help of God. I want to say apart from that I got very committed to the profession. I also try to be focused and be modest in all I do.
How many years did you spend as a TV and radio broadcaster?
I lived in Nigeria for almost 6 years and after my sojourn in Nigeria I went into broadcasting and practiced for about 15 years.
What were you doing in Nigeria?
I had an interesting life in Nigeria. I came to Nigeria initially in 1977 for Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC). And went back to Ghana and came back to Nigeria in 1978. I played with Aigbe Liberty's band in Lagos as a trumpet vocalist. We performed at a popular hotel at Lawanson Road , Surulere. Afterwards I joined his brother, Felix Liberty and later I joined Ofo The Black Company band, a group formed by some white men from Europe through the efforts of late Brigadier Austin Peters. Later I worked with Tony Grey Ozimba in Warri, now in delta State. It was while I was in Warri that I met Sir Victor Uwaifo. So I played with Sir Victor Uwaifo also a trumpeter and vocalist and after a year in in 1983 I decided to go back home. After I went back home, I realized that music was not as lucrative as it was in Nigeria. While in Nigeria I was signed on by Tabansi Record Company with the late Dick Solo who was supposed to be my arranger and producer but he died along the line. This made me go to school to study radio journalism. So by 1985 I was got employment with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. I left Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in 1997. I was a consultant to the establishment of Peace FM radio in Accra. I also set up the first religious radio station called Channel R station.
You were actively involved in music in the 70s through the 80s and now you are coming back to Nigeria as a big player in the movie industry. Do you have any attachment with Nigeria?
I think I have a natural attachment with Nigeria. I come from Keta in the Volta region which is near the Ghana-Togo border. So am closer to Lagos in Nigeria than a lot of Nigerians!. For instance am closer to Lagos than someone from the North cities like Abuja and Kaduna. Except for the delay the borders I am closer to Lagos than several people who reside in Nigeria. I also remember when I was about 6 years old my parents came to Nigeria to visit my aunties. And I would say Lagos was the first big city I travelled to as a child and not Accra. I think I would say while I was in Lagos about 20 years ago I worked hard and now is the time to reap what I have sown.
How do you react to stories that Kofi Ajorlolo is not married?
I have been separated from my wife from some years now. I am dating someone. And we would soon make our relationship known soon.
How many years have you been separated?
I have been separated for about 7 years now.
Was the marriage blessed with kids?
How many kids are you blessed with?
.What led to the crash of the marriage?
There was a time that things were not too good for me at time and you know women, she did not understand so she left the children with me and went to the United States of America. Right now she shuttles between United States and Ghana.
Do you still communicate with her?
Very well we spoke last night.
Is there any reason why both of you cannot reconcile?
If there is anything of such that means I would disappoint the woman who stood by me all for more than 5 years now. She has been taking care of me, you know am a grown up. Am just ok we can be good friends but I have someone I cannot disappoint.
Won't the woman you were once married to feel bad after she must have regretted her actions?
I don't know if she has regretted her actions and I don't know if she would ever regret her actions. That is the way God wants it I cant do anything about it
.What attracted you to the new woman in your life?
She is very hard working and faithful woman.
What does she do for a living?
She is a business woman.
Is she a Ghanaian?
Yes she is a Ghanaian.
Wont you tell us about her?
There is nothing to tell about her.She is a popular person.
What is her name?
(Pauses for a while)
Since she is not a popular person it wont be a bad thing to tell us her name..
Her name is Tina and she is also called Charity Nyarko.
Have you formalised your relationship?
Yes, we have done some knockings and her parents know me.
How would you describe the woman in your life?
We are both grown up. We have a serious understanding. She tolerates me. And I love her so much. She is a quiet woman.
How do you cope with female admirers?
I am a reclusive person. I hardly go out and my colleagues know. If am the partying type of person then I might have female admirers but I have no such experience. People say I am handsome but I don't know. Is it not if the ladies see me that they would worry me? So I have learnt how to package myself to be scarce. And for those who are stubborn I have a way of handling them.
What has been your guiding principle in life?
In my entire life I had an opportunity to meet the Afro beat legend, Fela only once while he was alive. He told me, Ghana boy, wetin you come do for Lagos? I said I said I come play music for Lagos sir. He said, You want to play music? You want to become famous like me? I said, Yes, I also want to become famous. He said, Ghana boy, fine boy, you must be a legend. He said further, Do you know how to become a legend? Don't let people see you too much, don't go to public places, just make sure whatever you do, you do it well.
I will never forget my conversation with the great Fela. This has really helped me. And that is why I don't even get invitations to events. I am simply not in circulation.
All together how many movies have you featured in?
I have featured in several movies I cant give an exact figure but movies like ˜Mother's Heart, ˜Love and Politics, ˜The Chosen One and most movies I did with Genevieve and Ini Edo brought me to limelight.
What is your philosophy about life?
My philosophy is get focused, be prayerful, know that God exists and do whatever you do with passion.
When are you going to formally get married to the woman in your life?
I can't say exactly when but we are working towards it.
How old are you?
I am 55 years old.
Who are the Nigerian movie stars you love to work with?
I love a lot of Nigerian movie stars especially the popular ones like Olu Jacobs, Patience Ozorkwo, Enebeli Enebuwa, Justus Esiri, Jide Kosoko and several Yoruba movie stars that I don't their names but I would love to meet them.
Can you feature in Yoruba movies?
So gbo Yoruba? (Do you speak Yoruba). Mo gbo se o ri nkan ti mo ri? (Do you see what am seeing?) Se o gbo nkan ti mo n so? (Do you understand what I am saying?) so I wish I could feature in a Yoruba movie.
Nice talking to you
Thank you Nigeriafilms.com