When the tragic news of Tariku (Baba) Birhanu’s unexpected death spread a few months ago, it shocked the entire country. His many loyal supporters have since been grieving his loss and paying tribute to him in their own unique ways.
Tariku, who was 38 years old when he passed away, was a well-known actor, producer, and director in the Ethiopian film industry. He has starred in more than 40 Ethiopian films as the lead actor, earning him the moniker “pioneer” in the country’s film industry.
Despite challenges including the high cost of production, the lack of artistic freedom, and the recent COVID-19 epidemic that triggered a lockdown that hampered filming and production, the Ethiopian film industry continues to develop each year. Ethiopia is able to generate more than 100 movies year despite this, making the film industry one of the country’s highly active industries.
Tariku starred in and contributed to several critically acclaimed Ethiopian films, including “Yefikir ABCD,” “Martreza,” “be97,” “Yimechish Yarada Lij,” and many others. His efforts were recognized with a number of honors and prizes, such as the Leza Awards.
His final film, Wedaj, was completed and published a week ago, serving as a tribute to his immense ability and legacy, even in death. Admirers of the actor were waiting for the film’s release so they could see him in action one last time.
Tariku stars as the protagonist in a romantic comedy film starring Dereje Hailu, Cherenet Fikadu, Nuhamin Meseret, Mihiret Tadesse, and many more. Eliana Film Productions is responsible for its production.
The film’s production and editing were completed on March 6, 2023, and his mother made the opening speech to his loved ones and the public in the national theater that evening.
Celebrities from the film industry and other creative fields gathered with his family to celebrate his legacy. Many of his admirers were relieved to finally see one of his final works. It was something they were looking forward to—that his work as an actor and artist would live on even after his death.
“I have always loved Tariku’s work and acting, and his passing has deeply saddened me,” Feven Mulugeta, a fan getting ready to see the movie, said. “To be able to see the final movie that he worked on makes me both sad and happy at the same time. She says she would just laugh every time she saw his movies. “It is so sad that he passed too early.”
Seeing the film and the actor she admires one last time for Feven was amazing.
Biniam Yilma, another admirer, was overjoyed to learn the movie had been released; he hasn’t watched it yet, but has long loved Tariku’s work.
Sadly, many people gain recognition after they pass, Biniam says. “That was the case with Tariku. I have always been a huge fan, and I genuinely love his work. When the new movie was released, I saw just how many people loved him as well. People were lining up at the cinema to see his movie.”
He looks forward to seeing Tariku’s work spread laughter and joy. “I can’t wait to go see it. I’m just waiting for the initial commotion to die down so I don’t have to wait too long in line.”
Tariku, in the eyes of Biniam and Feven, will endure thanks to his body of work. They believe his movies and the devotion of his fans will ensure that his distinctive personality and the depth to which he brought each of his roles to life will survive.
Wedaj has been well-received by its audience, and those who have yet to watch it can do so at theaters all throughout Addis Ababa.
It will also have premieres in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, and Europe.