A ‘gentle cool dude’ was his answer to the question for what best describes him. It comes across as rather intriguing that an iconic African movie actor of his caliber has remained evasive to the radar of a buoyant media.
Omar Shariff Captan is a name synonymous to captivation and dynamism. These are the exact qualities that always present him as the ideal figure for lead roles in African classics ranging from romance to action. Over the years, he has become a giant on the screens in African cinematography.
On set he appears as a vocal romantic lover, ready to climb mountains and cross rivers for his lover or the mastermind of a conspiracy theory, earning him the name “lover boy” and subsequently “bad boy”. This is much in contrast to the shy low profile character he is in real life giving meaning to him having eluded the media spotlight for so long. Indeed interviewing him felt like prying into silent waters.
The ever-looking-young actor, who is clearly proud of his large family has 11 siblings and is also of Lebanese ancestry. Although very dashing in looks, he denies the fact that he is a ladies’ man, rather modestly saying ‘’physical appearance is not everything’’
Inspired by the lessons of diligence, discipline and commitment – virtues he still upholds – from his grandfather Omar Captan, a movie marketer, Omar Shariff Captan took a bold step on the path of acting taking on daring roles in elementary school stage drama, soon he will become a celebrated actor.
It was no surprise his first movie ‘Outrage’, touched the heart of many as did the highly rated ‘Dark Sands’ by Gama Films. This was just what he needed to gain an unchallenged mindshare among African movie lovers that will linger on for a long time to come. Becoming popular, he constantly won more audience and certainly made his contribution to the development of the Ghana movie industry, now nicknamed “Ghallywood”.
Asked how he manages to play out to satisfaction the roles in his movies, Omar said he researches and studies how similar roles are played in other movies. “I research and watch how others act. I emulate them and add mine.”
Drawing inspiration from God and not the prospect of fortunes from movie making, as he puts it, Omar gets better with time, finding feet in both Ghanaian and Nigerian movies.
After featuring in hit soaps Tentacles and Broadway, he moved on to Tinsel – currently running on M-Net – rather playing a dubious character in a film production firm (Reel Studios) as Reginald Okoh, with an exotic sexual appetite. His wife Amaka, soon finds out he was having extra-marital relations with his personal assistant. Now a divorce beckons.
Indeed Tinsel did not fall short of bringing more to his life than just a fictional character but also occasioned the formation of a lifelong bond with co-star Alex Okoroji who plays Susan in the series. The pair got married in the middle of this year, with a baby boy, following shortly. Although he failed to confirm this, Ghana News Link strongly suspects the couple met on the set of this soap which has been running for about three years.
Confident of matching competition from within and beyond, Omar looks up to seasoned actors like Al-Pacino and Denzel Washington in setting targets within the industry and in carving a niche for himself to become a force to reckon with. His greatest satisfaction, however, comes from knowing he played his part in a movie, the best way he possibly could.
Besides acting, Omar Shariff Captan is a talented script writer and editor. He has gained experiences also from behind the camera as well in a number of movies. He has directed soaps in both Ghana and Nigeria and the Ghanaian movie, “Delilah”.
As a “very religious person” Omar is saddened by the surge in nude content within Ghanaian movies. He consented that nudity in some cases is necessary to create meaning and to deliver a message to the audience but regrets that, it has become the theme for some movies.
Poised to keep alive the charm on set, Omar will continue to leave his mark in a comparatively nascent industry with many fallow territories. “Twenty years from now”, he says, “I will like to work more in the backstage of the industry and be more involved in technical production rather than frontline acting”.
Omar enjoys “good music”, the good husband he is, he says his wife – yet to produce an album – is his favourite singer. Failing to choose which of his numerous movie roles he enjoys most, the surprisingly shy Omar rather suggests every character presents a challenge.
To relax he listens to music or plays snooker.
To Omar Shariff Captan, the future is now and it will be very prudent for all persons to take up the challenge and change the world around them without compromise.