Adeoye Bakare is one of the production managers and movie directors in the Yoruba and English speaking movies. With over three decades on the job, Adeoye, who is referred to as Bakky Adeoye has made his mark in the industry. In this interview with TAYO GESINDE and SEGUN ADEBAYO, the husband of actress, Ireti Osayemi, speaks on his career and how he copes with being married to an actress.
Why do people call you Bakky Osha?
My name is Adeoye Bakare but many people know me as Bakky in the movie industry. In fact, a lot of people call me Bakky Adeoye while some call me Bakky Osha. Bakky is an alias coined out of Bakare and Osha was added to it.
Do you feel comfortable when people call you Osha?
Even if I wasn’t comfortable with it at the beginning, I don’t think I can change that now. I never felt bad about the name because from the beginning, I know what Osha stands for in Yoruba land. Osha might sound like a deity but it is not a bad thing. I am a Nigerian and an African deity is part of us; it is part of our culture.
Do you believe in deities?
I am an African man, so I know what deity means and I believe it exists. It is part of us even if we do not believe in it. Whether you are a Christian or a Muslim, it does not change the African belief. You can’t separate an African man from his deities. They are part of the African experience, they are part of the African man, but that has nothing to do with why they call me Osha. The Osha that people call me is not about deity, it is basically about work.
You have been on this job for decades and you don’t seem to get tired or give up. How has the journey been so far?
I studied Dramatic Arts in the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University. As a student, you had various special areas that you could go into. There were acting; directing, management, costume and makeup, lighting, set and design, dance and chorography but some of us felt that we should go for directing. We knew that the person’s voice you are going to hear on a film set or on a theatre set is the voice of the director. He is the one that says action! So, basically, I wanted directing and I read directing but I have flair for management and as such, I attended a lot of management classes even up to part four. Though I did not do my project on management but a lot of people thought I combined management and directing. When we left school, which was before Nollywood or before the serious emergence of Nigerian film and movies, Niji Akanni and I started looking for jobs that were related to what we studied in school.
So you and Niji Akanni have come a long way?
Yes we have been friends since 1984. Those days, when we were looking for jobs, it was quite difficult for the two of us to work on a job as directors. So, in order to save ourselves the stress, we decided that I should take the management job because of my flair for it while he focused on directing. If the owners of the job wanted me to direct or there were more jobs to handle, that is when I would direct. That was how my journey into stage management started. Niji has always been known with directing from day one.
For somebody who hardly appears on TV like some of your colleagues, how do you make money from being a production person?
If it is about the money, I would not be in production again because there is no money in the job.
How come you have remained on a job that does not give you money?
It is not that it does not bring money to your pocket but how much is the money we are talking about? You don’t get the kind of money you would have wished to have but my passion and love for what I do has kept me on this job till today. I remember in 2007, a friend of mine who was my junior in the university earned almost a million naira. By that time, I don’t think I make up to N100, 000 in a month. If I had quit my job then to go into banking job, by now, I am sure my salary can’t be less than N5million. I love what I am doing and I thank God for the level I have attained on the job. In fact, these days, a lot of people find it difficult to employ me as a production manager, they now employ me as a line producer where I oversee the artistic budget. I now do what the director does and even more because I do the casting of the actors, directors and other important roles in any movie. They know that the value I can add to their job is more than what they will get if I was hired as a production manager alone. Some people say a production manager has nothing much to do on set, but I tell them that what we do on set is bigger than what any other member of the crew does. You don’t want to be on set when there is crisis, you will know that we don’t joke on set.
What kind of crisis are you referring to?
Crisis comes almost every day on location. Take for example, you have been using a site where you want to shoot 50 scenes and you have paid. You have agreed with the owner of that facility that you are going to stay for five days. On the third day, the owner of the building comes around to tell you that you should vacate his premises. You can’t just leave like that because there is what we call continuity. That is one of the problems we face as production managers. Another problem is keeping the actors on set for the number of days you have agreed to spend. You can imagine a situation when your lead actor walks up to you and says he or she wants to go home to attend to some family issues. You can’t stop the person from going, especially when they tell you that he or she has just lost his or her father or mother. In most cases, these people may not be telling you the truth. Then you begin to wonder why they want to leave the set in the middle of the shooting.
Have you had such experiences before?
I have experienced this several times. It happens at every location, especially when you have more than one location. Sometimes, we spend about seven, 10 days when you are shooting a big project or a cinema job. We spend about six months or more when you are shooting television series. I have been on a set before when a lady came to me and said she could not sleep in the camp that night. When I asked her why, she said she wanted to be with her boyfriend that night. She told me in plain language that she must have sex that night. This is somebody you could not afford to lose because you needed her to take her role that night. She said she must leave the location by six or seven o’ clock because she would not be able to get there if she was late. She promised to be back the next day to complete her role. I pleaded with her to wait and even promised to drive her to her boyfriend’s place. Two days before she came to, I noticed she was acting strange. She was giving everybody serious problem on set. I never knew that what she needed was to have sex. These things happen on the job every day.
Don’t you think you could have been more famous and richer if you had concentrated on acting rather than being behind the scene?
No, I don’t feel bad. In fact, sometimes I feel embarrassed that I am too popular. That is why I don’t even want to appear in movies again. I have appeared in a couple of movies but I don’t want to appear in movies again because I don’t want to be known.
Are you tired of the job?
I don’t want to act in movies. I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to be in the face of people. I have a wife who is known in the movie industry. When people meet me on the road and ask If I was Bakky Adeoye, I feel bad. In fact, sometimes I feel that it was my wife that made people to know me more. I don’t want our viewers to know me. I want them to know my job and say that was Bakky Adeoye’s work.
How do you handle being married to a popular actress and how does it feel when you have to be on the same set with her?
We have been on set many times, so there can’t be any problem being on the same set with her. Even before we got married, we knew that when we get on set, it is a different Bakky Adeoye. What we have on set is an actor – director relationship or an actor –manager relationship. I had been on the panel to audition my wife. I told her that the moment she stepped into that venue, she ceased to be my wife. I told her that if she does not impress the panel at the auditioning, I would be the first person to say no.
So your emotions don’t let you calm down with her?
I get a bit harsh on her than normal artiste when we are on set.
How did the journey start with you and your wife and what was the attraction?
I saw a young lady on the set of a movie. Though, I wasn’t part of the set but I had a small hotel in Ikorodu. Suddenly, problem started in the hotel and people were fighting. People started saying go and call Bakky, when he comes, he would settle it. When I got there, people were expecting me to condemn the person who caused the problem, but they were shocked to see that instead of apportioning blames, I deiced to hug the person. While I was doing that, I noticed a young lady standing by the side fuming. She expected me to join them to condemn the person in the middle of the crisis but I acted otherwise. After the dust had settled, I approached her and we started talking. We later became friends and the rest is history today.
Was it difficult to ask her out?
I don’t ask girls out.
What do you do?
I make friends with you and you will be able to read between the lines. We played a lot and I always gave her pieces of advice. Along the line, the coast was getting clearer for me and I seized the opportunity. Today, I am proud to be her husband. I am very proud of her.
She was that young lady then but she has become a big actress today, how are you coping with that?
She is still a young girl to me. There was a time people were saying she was getting fatter. She would ask me if it was true and I would throw the question back at her because I have not noticed any changes on her body. She still looks young.
What is the secret of your marriage in an industry where marriages crumble almost every day?
The marriage is still young and the first major secret is God. If God does not build a house, the labourers are working in vain. No matter how intelligent or rich you are, I think the first thing one should acknowledge is the God factor. We put God first in everything we want to do. The second that I think has kept us together is maturity. I am more matured than her, I try to counsel her regularly on the things she needs to do. I appreciate the gap between us and she also shows equal respect. This is my second marriage and I wouldn’t want this one to crash, so I try to take things easy and treat her with respect and dignity.