Many would remember him for his bigger-than-life roles in films. The intrigues, arrogance, desire for the good life and power play all point to a role that Kofi Adjorlolo has become too familiar with. The renowned Ghanaian movie star and lead actor of television series, ‘The Miser’ says his real-life persona is a deep contrast to the God-father-like roles he plays in films.
“Contrary to my roles in films, I’m not a rich man. I’m a very modest man. AIso, about playing the role of a wicked man, I believe I’m the Iast person someone will say this man is wicked. I live in a neighbourhood where, for a very long time, my neighbours have come to know me as a kind man. I say my mind though. I’m not one who holds onto things too long. People come to me; children especially Iove me and I Iove children”. This was the actor’s response when I asked why, in his opinion; producers had always offered him stereotyped roles in films.
Discussing his roles in films, he further explained that after featuring in the film ‘My Mothers Heart’, which became a huge success, his role dramatically changed from a wealthy man to a wicked man. The actor and I had a laugh over this revelation after which, he said “even the scriptwriters teII me that I’m the one they think of whiles writing the story, and I’m compelled to play these roles. I enjoy it though”. Although many unsuspecting viewers may take his roles seriously, Kofi Adjorlolo reveals that after filming a wicked role on set, he and his colleague actors would often have a laugh after the director has called for a ‘cut’. Asked how his family reacted to the wicked roles he played, the actor said “they laugh because if I kill, they kill me too in the film. I have a mother who is 96 years old and she also sees one or two things. There was a time when I did a scene in which I raped a woman. And my mum said: oh Kofi, you raped the woman. Oh, why? I said mummy don’t talk too much woo…that money I brought it to you and you ‘chopped’ it. We laughed about it. So with the family, I don’t have any problems. They know that their daddy or uncle is not like that.”
Although Kofi Adjorlolo’s family don’t tend to have a problem with the roles he plays in films, the actor himself reveals that he feels challenged playing the role of a rich man. “It’s a very big challenge because I go everywhere and everybody thinks I’m very rich. Armed robbers or kidnappers could even attack me. But unfortunately, if anybody comes after me, they will go with nothing. As I said I’m very modest and people think because we’re acting and on tv, we’re extremely rich. It’s not so! People forget that we also have families, and I’m not a young man. My children are not too old so they’re schooling. I have an old mother that must be catered for. So whatever I do, I can’t be termed as a very rich man. So it’s quite challenging. Sometimes I go somewhere and they expect me to be in one of the hummers I used in films or in those big cars that I use in films, but I don’t have it.”
Kofi Adjorlolo may be known today as a movie star, but the actor has paid his dues playing different roles in broadcasting. Few people would know that he was instrumental in establishing what may have become Ghana’s premier religious radio station, Channel R. With the wealth of experience he’d acquired in broadcasting and radio especially, the actor got an offer to establish a radio station for the owner of what is now Channel R. Against all odds, he insisted that the climate at the time would give a religious radio station a competitive edge in the industry.
Talking about this, Kofi Adjorlolo disclosed that “looking at how competitive the scene was going to be and the marketability of the industry, I realised that we needed something different. I realised the religious activities were becoming a bit more commercial so I insisted we make it a radio station where we can have preachers coming to preach. Some people argued against it, but then I insisted and today we have Channel R”. Before this engagement, he’d worked at GBC for several years on both radio and television after completing the Radio Training School. During his stint at GBC, he worked with the likes of Tommy Annan Forson, Kofi Chakponu and many others. His decision to work outside government establishment saw him joining Peace FM as one of the very first professional broadcasters at the radio station.
On his career as a film actor, he said it all started when his cousin Richard Prempeh, who is also the CEO of Village Communications, called him to help out with script writing for the series ‘Taxi Driver’. Before completing the tenth episode he was writing for the series, he’d joined in as cast. “I never knew I could act so I reluctantly joined the cast. I really hesitated.” After this, he said actress Grace Nortey, who was impressed with his performance on ‘Taxi Driver’, took him to Mr Hammond, the founder of HM Films who gave him a lead role in the film ‘Friday at 4:30’. After this first film, Abdul Sallam Mumuni the founder of Venus films gave him his subsequent break in the film industry.
The personality of this renowned actor certainly has many shades to it. Letting me into his music career he says, “I’ve played music. I’m a professional trumpeter. I play the organ. I’m a multi-instrumentalist. I learned music at Keta AMA Zion School and I know notes. At the age of 10, I could blow all the Marshall Songs that the soldiers are blowing”. He said his love for music continued when he was at Elmina Secondary School, and that it was from this point he went professional. In his twenties, young Kofi Adjorlolo travelled to Nigeria and was a band member of Victor Uwaifo, who is fondly remembered for his Joromi music. “Victor loved me so much and that’s why as young as I was, he made me the head of his band in my early twenties. I came back home and formed ‘Osagyefo Band’ with some other guys…I played ‘Dasebre Band’. I have featured on stage with people like Sidiku Buari, Ambolley and most of the musicians who play on stage for Amakye Dede. So musicians know me as a musician”, he said. When I asked whether he would ever consider going back to the music he responded: “I will definitely record because the songs I have them”.