Antar Laniyan is a veteran Nollywood actor, producer and film director. He is best known for directing the popular Super Story series.
In this post, we take a look at the life of this iconic Nollywood celebrity.
Antar was born in Lagos on the 26th of May to the Laniyans, who are both late. He was born Antar Babatunde Laniyan and he hails from Osogbo, Osun.
The origin of his first name, Antar can be traced to the iguana also known as Aworiwon or Antar in Yoruba.
According to the actor, he overstayed in his mother’s womb, and his parents feared that they were going to lose him. As a result, the family sought help from a herbalist, who requested for an iguana as one of the sacrificial items to be used to prepare a concoction that his mother would take to be able to get into labour. It was after his mother took this concoction that he was born and this led to his mother naming him after the animal.
When asked about his parents in an interview, Antar revealed that his father, I. A. Laniyan, was full of discipline and he had so many policies but he was also full of love for his children.
Antar also disclosed that when he began acting in high school, his father nicknamed him ‘Antar D Sango’ after he showed his father a picture of him playing the thunder god in a stage play.
During his early years, he lived in the barrack because his mother was the chief at the mammy market and his time at the barrack almost influenced him to join the military.
Antar attended Baptist secondary school in Lagos State before proceeding to the University of Ibadan where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts.
Prior to his university education, Antar was already fully involved in acting but he was advised by his mentor, Ben Tomoloju also known as Pappy Ben to earn a university education as well. It would be recalled that Pappy Ben was a culture journalist, activist, essayist, poet, singer and former deputy editor of The Guardian. The young Antar was able to gain admission easily as he had been well-prepared by Pappy Ben.
During his time at the university, Antar was able to hone his acting skills with the help of mentors like the late Prof Dapo Adelugba, Dr. Femi Fatoba and Uncle Bayo Oduneye.
Also, Antar revealed that he took part in a number of memorable productions during his time at the University. These include the likes of Moremi, The Man Who Never Died and Murder in the Cathedral.
His journey into acting was inspired by a performance he watched during the 1977 Festival of Black Arts and Civilisation (FESTAC 77). However, his journey as a performer and actor began in 1976 when he was in secondary school.
Antar began his acting career in 1981. At that time, he was under the mentorship of Pappy Ben.
The actor revealed that he met Pappy Ben during one of the school’s drama competition that was held amongst schools in Lagos. He was part of the judges and was also in charge of the drama group from Saka Tinubu Memorial High School.
Pappy Ben was able to persuade him to join the drama group, Kaakaki Arts. He was trained with the likes of Jahman Anikulapo and Tunji Sotimirin and it was not long after that he started performing and becoming popular.
His first major role as an actor was the role of a major general in a film titled, ‘Everybody wants to know.’ This was during his days at the Kakaki Art Squad.
Also, he featured in several Nigerian films including Sango, a film scripted by Wale Ogunyemi and produced by Obafemi Lasode.
He was the director of the first episode of Super Story, the award-winning Nigerian soap opera produced by Wale Adenuga in the year 2000. He also directed Oh Father Oh Daughter and This Life also produced by Wale Adenuga.
Antar revealed in an interview that his desire as an actor and director is to train and groom people to become difference makers in the movie industry.
The actor further stated that he currently trains and has been training people on speech, acting and directing and his long-term objective is to formalise the process however lack of funding has been delaying the launch of the project.
Antar is known as a strict person, especially at the movie location. The actor also revealed that during his time as director of Superstory, he had amorous advances from females but he never allowed room for such. In fact, no woman entered his room at the camp during this period.
On the other hand, the actor revealed that he is very soft at home as he is friendly, fatherly and loving. According to him, he is another ‘boy’ in the house.
The actor revealed that his models in the industry are Oga Bello and Jide Kosoko. He revealed that he is inspired by their longevity in the industry. The duo started their acting career in the 1960s and they are still relevant today.
Antar Laniyan is married with two boys. The actor also revealed that his children are entertainment-inclined. His wife is one of his harshest critics especially when it comes to playing romantic roles. In fact, she is usually one of the first people to point out his flaws when he doesn’t play the romantic scene well.
The actor disclosed in an interview that he enjoys listening to reggae, juju, Fuji and slow love songs. These include the likes of Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Dolly Parton, Dele Abiodun, KI, King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey.
Antar is said to be worth an estimated $3 million