Entertainment News

Nigerian actor Samuel Abiola Robinson alleges racial discrimination by his Kerala producers

Samuel Abiola Robinson stars in the Malayalam film ‘Sudani from Nigeria’ that was released on March 23.

Nigerian actor Samuel Abiola Robinson, the lead in the March 23 release Sudani from Nigeria, took to Facebook on Saturday to allege that he has been racially discriminated against by the producers of his film.

Directed by Zakariya Mohammed, the Malayalam drama stars Robinson as Samuel, a football player who becomes part of a club in Kerala ahead of a seven-a-side football match. Soubin Shahir plays the role of Majeed, Samuel’s manager. Made on a low budget, the film has received glowing praise and has been faring well at the ticket counters, according to reports.

In his first Facebook post, Robinson claimed that he was underpaid for his role, which he attributed to racial discrimination.

“The producers offered me far less money than Indian actors who are not half as popular, experienced or accomplished as i am would normally earn,” Robinson wrote. “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.”

Sudani from Nigeria.

Later, in a video uploaded on his Instagram profile, Robinson revealed that while his investigation showed that newcomers in Malayalam films are paid between Rs 10 and 20 lakhs, he had been paid “much, much less” than Rs five lakhs. Robinson did not reveal the exact amount of his salary.

Robinson also claimed that he had been promised more than his salary if Sudani from Nigeria was a success, but that he now believed that he had been lied to. He wrote that he was manipulated into committing five months to the project, including for promotional activities. However, he praised his director, Mohammed, adding that he could only do so much since he was not financing the movie himself.

Robinson’s Facebook post drew criticism from Indian Facebook users, who rejected the allegation of racial discrimination and pointed out that he had been adequately paid according to the scope of his role and the film’s budget.

In a second Facebook post, Robinson clarified his comments while reiterating that “even the least experienced Indian newcomer” in a Malayalam film would be paid more than him.

“I was paid far less than the Malayalam newcomers are normally paid, this is factual. I accepted this amount less than my usual quote in Nigeria because I was under the impression that it was a very small budget independent movie. Several citations off the internet confirm that this movie was, in fact, moderately budgeted. I have wholeheartedly supported the promotion of the movie in expectation of a positive financial compensation before returning to Nigeria as was promised. The movie has already nearly doubled its budget at the box office in just seven days due to the successful promotions. I do not think that Kerala people are racist as I experienced no such racist treatment from the general Kerala public. I very much enjoyed my stay in Kerala, the culture, the biryani and all.”

— Samuel Abiola Robinson.

Robinson has acted in three films so far, including Sudani from Nigeria. He has been a part of African television productions such as Desperate Housewives Africa and MTV Shuga. In 2016, Robinson made news for alleging that the producers of his debut film, 8 Bars & A Clef, did not pay him for an extra day of work and then sidelined him from the promotions.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.