Samuel Abiola Robinson: I connected very strongly with Dilli Dark 

Samuel Abiola Robinson: I connected very strongly with Dilli Dark 

Sudani from Nigeria-fame Samuel Abiola Robinson on his Hindi debut, Dilli Dark, slated for premiere at the upcoming Jio MAMI Mumbai film festival

Anyone who had seen Sudani from Nigeria (2018) wouldn't forget the face of Samuel Abiola Robinson, the Nigerian actor who instantly found a place in film buffs' hearts. Following his second Malayalam film, Oru Caribbean Udayippu, the unpleasant experience of which took a while for him to overcome, an elated Samuel informs us that he is back to acting in India, this time in a Hindi feature, Dilli Dark, written and directed by Dibakar Das Roy. 

As the title suggests, the film, set in Delhi, is "special" to Samuel, who was offered the project at the end of 2020 during the COVID pandemic and filmed in 2021. "I remember connecting very strongly with the story and being very excited to work on it as a young African actor because I had never seen a film like this from India," he says.

Dilli Dark, he adds, is about being considered an outsider in India and encountering racial discrimination in Delhi and India. "The story centres on Mike, a young Nigerian with big hopes and dreams, as he moves to Delhi to make his dreams come true. The film shows us the challenges and obstacles on his path to success. Though not based entirely on personal experiences, it is still a very personal film because even the director and I have encountered our share of racism in Delhi."

To ensure he delivers an authentic performance, Samuel recalls indulging in "a lot of" research on African students in Delhi and "trying to channel" some of their experiences into his performance. 

A comedy-drama with hip-hop elements, Dilli Dark, which marks Samuel's maiden leading role, is set to have its world premiere at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival and internationally at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia. The team is in the midst of planning a wide release in Hindi (original language), Malayalam, and Tamil next year.

Opening up on his brief absence from the film industry, Samuel shares that the pandemic caused many projects he was supposed to work on to get postponed or cancelled entirely. "It took some time before more good quality offers started coming in. Right now, there is Dilli Dark and an upcoming Tamil movie starring RJ Balaji, Selvaragavan and Sharaf u Dheen, set to release early next year." 

Also featuring Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Shantanu Anam, Dilli Dark was shot by Kartik Parmar and edited by Manendra Singh Lodhi, with music by Utkarsh Dhotekar.

Cinema Express