I am only given Somali roles, says actor Bellel
Somali-Kenyan actor Bellel Mohammed is one of the standout talents in the industry. The 25-year-old actor, who started acting at a tender age, has featured in various productions, such as The Real Househelps of Kawangware, Auntie Boss, Ndovu The Ivory Syndicate, among others.
The creative actor was among the crew of Watu Wote, a Kenyan film inspired by a terror attack on a Mandera-bound bus in December 2015), which won the Student Oscars award.
Bellel credits his success to veteran actor Joseph Wairimu, the star of Kenya's finest movie, Nairobi Half Life.
"He is my mentor. He's guided me up to where I am now. "
Bellel said he faces quite a number of challenges, the major one being typecast.
"I'm only given Somali roles. I'm an actor and can act the role of James, Mary, Peter, etc," he said.
The actor said that the local acting industry doesn't pay as well as many people think. He calls upon Kenyans to support their own like they do in Tanzania and Nigeria.
"Bongo actors and musicians are on the same level. Back home, you have to go out there, create a name for yourself so that they can be proud of you. Nollywood is all about professionalism, which we lack here, yet we have many quality movies," Bellel said.
The budding superstar said sexual harassment, which has rocked Hollywood, also exists in the local acting industry, though it happens mostly to women. He called upon sex pests in the acting industry to "nurture and support talents". For him, he has been forced to pay bribes to agencies to feature in movies.
"Agencies always ask for Sh2,000 for registration and demand 20 per cent of every job they give you."
Bellel advised the youth to follow their dreams and avoid shortcuts like the young thugs terrorising city residents.
"There's no shortcut in life, you need to work hard. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Crime doesn't pay."