Jide Kosoko; Thespian With Panache | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Jide Kosoko; Thespian With Panache

Posted: Jul 23, 2015 at 4:11 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Anthonia Duru –   Lagos


Having started acting when he was barely 10 years old in 1964, it will not be out of place to say that Veteran actor, Jide Kosoko is perhaps one of the oldest acts in the Nigerian Film industry. Despite his length of years in the industry, he is not just relevant, he is well-respected. Having groomed three of his children into acting, the father of nine and grandfather of many, has as much presence in the Yoruba films as in the English movies. He is so talented he is considered by colleagues to be a chameleon when it comes to assuming characters to translate his roles. 

jide kosoko

jide kosoko

You cannot expect less from a man who has his first appearance on television in a production titled, ‘Makanjuola,’ produced by Ifelodun Travelling Theatre, which had him as a member. “It happened that one of our tenants, Dele Toyibo, and a member of Ifelodun Travelling Theatre wanted to have a production on television- LTV Bar Beach. They needed a boy of my age then to play (the lead role of) a character called Alabi. So they invited children of my age, we were auditioned and I won the role. Since then, I’ve always been into acting. I formed my own group, Jide Kosoko Theatre in 1972,” he once said in an interview.

Born into the Kosoko royal family of Lagos in 1954, he has contributed immensely to the growth of the movie industry in Nigeria, having risen to the pinnacle of his career as a successful producer, writer, director and actor. A former president of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP), Kosoko, before his controversial exit as the president of the body, ensured members of the body were united and to a large extent, imbibed the ethics of acting. He interprets roles to the best of his ability with his directorial view.

“When I produced my first film, ‘Asiri Nla,’ I used the best equipment available then, Eumatic High Band, to shoot it, after that, Tunde Kelani and Tade Ogidan called me and said that this is more like what they wanted. We also did ‘Asewo to re Mecca,’ at that period and all these were before ‘Living In Bondage,’ which people are now using as a reference point for Nollywood. I appreciate the good work done in ‘Living In Bondage,’ it came and made a very good impact, but we cannot say that, that is the beginning of Nollywood, when there had been productions before then. Even the Executive Producer of ‘Living In Bondage,’ Kenneth Nnebue, has produced a lot of films in Yoruba language such as ‘Aje Ni Iya Mi,’ before ‘Living In Bondage,’ so how can that now be the yardstick for the industry?” Jide Baba as some call him explained recently in an interview while speaking on some of his strides in acting.

His parents initially kicked against his becoming an actor because as a prince, he should be entertained rather than entertaining people. The estranged husband of plump actress, Henrietta Kosoko started out as a member of the Ojo Ladipo Theatre group but got his break when he produced his first feature film, ‘Ojiji.’ Since then he has made appreciable impact as an actor, director, producer and administrator.

This A-list actor is also a cross over artiste because of his unique skill to act in both English and Yourba speaking movies, he has placed himself on a platform that is indeed enviable. A pioneer motion picture practitioner in every sense of the word, this actor of vast credit is a role model to many practitioners who rely on him.