“I Thought It Was A Dream. I Did Not Believe It Until I Heard ‘Action’ On The First Day On Set.” – Lateef Adedimeji On Playing Ayinla Omowura


Ayinla first premiered in cinemas in June 2021, but with its ascension to Netflix, the biopic about Ayinla Omowura, one of Yoruba’s finest musicians, has met a new audience more eager to embrace it.

Ayinla is a film that tells the story of Nigerian musician, Ayinla Omowura, who used Apala music to address issues of contemporary society – commending and criticizing various governmental and individual acts. Ayinla Omowura died a tragic death on May 6, 1980. Everyone versed in Nigerian music history (particularly in southwestern Nigeria) knows this, and director Tunde Kelani doesn’t try to sugarcoat this tragic end or paint Ayinla as some saint.

With Ayinla’s release on Netflix, star Lateef Adedimeji took to his Twitter handle to, once again, express his gratitude to Tunde Kelani for the opportunity to star as the legendary musician.

“It was a very tough and challenging experience. It was the least of what I was expecting at this stage of my career. I had always prayed to work with Tunde Kelani; even if it was to play a cameo role in any of his movies. So, when the lead role came, I thought it was a dream. I did not believe it until I heard ‘action’ on the first day on set.

“It was challenging because I had not been a fan of apala music and I never listened to it. But, when I got the script, I started listening to apala songs. I had to do a lot of research because there wasn’t much documentation or video recording of any kind on Ayinla Omowura. All the characterisation I did was built based on my own research and everything I had heard and read about him. It was quite a stretch for me. The musical part was also taxing because I had to learn his songs. It was tough but at the end, I am glad it came out well.

“Tunde Kelani is one director that takes his time. I never saw him get angry. If an actor was not getting it right, he would tell the person to calm down and relax. While acting, if he was not satisfied with my performance, he would tell me to improve. And immediately, I gave him what he wanted, he would commend me.

“God bless him for us.”

Ayinla is now streaming on Netflix.

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