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Nigerian actor complains of racial discrimination in Malayalam films


IANS Thiruvananthapuram
Samuel Abiola, the young Nigerian actor who plays the lead role in the Malayalam film 'Sudani from Nigeria', says he had experienced racial discrimination and was not paid what he was promised.
The 20-year-old made the disclosure on his Facebook page as he flew out of here to his home country.
"Actually the truth is that I did experience racial discrimination from producers in Kerala... I didn't want to say anything before because I was trying to be patient, but now I am ready to speak up.
"I'm saying this now because I cannot sit back and allow it happen to another helpless young black actor. I believe that I was a victim of racial discrimination while in Kerala. It was nothing violent or directly in my face but for my role in 'Sudani from Nigeria', the producers offered me far less money than Indian actors who are not half as popular, experienced or accomplished as I would normally earn," writes Abiola.
Abiola in his film career has acted in more than a dozen films in several major productions in Africa such as Walt Disney's "Desperate Housewives Africa", M-Net's "Tinsel", MTV Base' Shugaand Raconteur Production's "8 Bars And A Clef".
"Sudani from Nigeria" is directed by Zakariya Mohammed and produced by Sameer Thahir. Abiola stars alongside Soubin Shahir and tells the tale of a Nigerian football player who joins a football club in Malappuram.
The film was released last week and is on its way to be a hit .
"I only became better enlightened after meeting with several young actors and discussing payment with them. I am of the opinion that this happened purely because of my skin colour and the assumption that all Africans are poor and don't know the value of money.
"The director and writer Zakariya did his best to help but as he was not financing the movie himself, there was very little change he could foster. Zakariya is a good guy with a good heart and a brilliant director. Promises were made to me by the producers while shooting to pay me more if the movie eventually becomes successful but no promise has been honoured and now I am back in Nigeria," he said.
"I believe the promises were simply tools of manipulation to get me to eagerly commit the five Amonths of availability for work being October, November, December 2017, January and March 2018 for the shoot and promotion of the movie. The movie is a huge commercial success now and I am grateful for all the love that the fans have shown me and I have been privileged to experience the warm culture of Kerala but I can no longer suffer in silence about this.
"As I am black, it is my responsibility to speak up because it could ease the suffering of the next generation of black actors. Say no to racial or caste discrimination," added Abiola.
The movie was screened for Kerala legislators last week and was also seen by a few state ministers, who it.
The film's crew is yet to react to Abiola's statements and is expected to meet the media soon.

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First Published: Mar 31 2018 | 2:46 PM IST

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