(107): Top 10 Kannywood Films of 2018

By Muhsin Ibrahim
The article was written for, and published by, the BBC Hausa service. Here is a link to a slightly different Hausa version published on their webpage:  Fina-finan Kannywood 10 da suka shahara a 2018
Kannywood film industry survives yet another year. Not only that, it prospers and produces films of various genres, chiefly comedy, romance and, scarcely, epic. They include Adam Zango’s offensively funny flick, Dan Kuka a Birni; Ali Nuhu’s remake of his 2000 hit musical, Mujadala, among others. Kabiru Jammaje, the force behind the reincarnation of English language branch of Kannywood also sponsored another posh royal tale titled In Search of the King. Nafisa Abdullahi’s much-publicised movie, Yaki a Soyayya also seems promising. Thus, the year is well spent.
The following movies were adjudged to be the best of the eventful year, which is, more or less, overshadowed by the build-up to Nigeria’s general election early next year. The politics forays into Kannywood and, alleged…

(106): Kannywood Movie Review: TAQADDAMA

Production:    JS Inuwa International Ltd. Producer:       Alhaji Sheshe Director:         Ali Gumzak Year:              2018 Cast:               Ali Nuhu, Aminu Shareef, Abba El-Mustapha, Baballe Hayatu, Isa A. Isa and others.

The biggest obstacle Kannywood filmmakers have to live with forever, probably, is all sort of judgement coming from a section of their audience. Naturally, people forget good behaviour and always recall the bad one. Anything wrong, unusual, sensational sells way more than the good, usual and ordinary does. It is, therefore, very rare to see a clip of a good Hausa film going viral on social media. Often, the video clip portrays something wrong about either the struggling film industry or the religion and ethnicity of its members. In most cases, these are taken out of context while others are not.
The movie Taqaddama is such a unique one in the history of Kannywood, particularly this year, for, among other peculiarities, it does not have a single song and dance seque…

(105): Gandujegate Scandal Exposes Kano Government’s Abuse of Children and Education

Muhsin Ibrahim
Kano is the commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria, a region now known for its illiteracy and poverty with millions of children roaming its streets in search of food. The rate of ethno-religious conflict rises side-by-side with kidnappings along highways. Boko Haram also still attacks rural areas of Borno and Yobe states. The ills bedevilling this one-time prosperous part of the country are too many to discuss in a quick, brief and, perhaps, poorly organised article like this one.
Nigerian political leaders do not make things any better for the populace. Corruption remains their frailty. Generally, though, bribery and corruption have been firmly instituted in the country. They have eaten deep into our everyday life. An Al-Jazeera English journalist interviewing the then-presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari in 2014 said that Nigeria and corruption were synonymous. Disturbing as this sounds, it is a truth. Mr Buhari unseated a sitting president …

(104): Kannywood Movie Review: MARIYA

Production:    Maishadda Investment Ltd. Producer:       Abubakar Bashir Maishadda Director:         Ali Nuhu Year:              2018 Cast:               Maryam Yahaya, Umar M. Shareef, Baba Karkuzu, Musa Maisana’s, Alhassan Kwalle, Jamila Nagudu and others.
I keep repeating to the level of monotony, perhaps, that 2018 is a different and challenging year for Kannywood filmmakers. The market is suffocated; some describe it as crashed, others say it is dead. Howsoever it really is, a few brave people still invest in it, producing quite costly films. The movie, Mariya (dir. Ali Nuhu) is a typical example. Moreover, the publicity it received, coupled with the popularity of its songs, heightened expectation in the minds of the audience. I am one of them. I waited, with abetted breath, for the film and, finally, I watched it yesterday.
Mariya does not disappoint, even though it fails to meet my high expectation. Perhaps this happened because I am keenly interested in its thematic preoccupation: …

(103): Kannywood and the Question of Reflecting the Society in Film

Muhsin Ibrahim @Muhsin234
I posted a slightly different version of this article in two separate Facebook status updates lately. 
I critique and criticise Kannywood. I, however, incidentally promote them that way. Many people, especially those who knew me years ago, find it hard to believe that I ‘defend’ immorality that is the synonym for Hausa film and its makers in the ordinary discussion circle. I laugh at this ‘reasoning’ and move on. No doubt the filmmakers are in the wrong in many ways. But they are not what most of us think. Moreover, we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say.
I understand the burden on Kannywood as an entertainment industry in an Islamicate society. However, their filmmakers should wake up to the reality that film cannot always be didactic and moralistic. While I don’t subscribe to the school of using art for art’s sake, film, as a reminder, is intrinsically an art, a source of amusement. A filmmaker can, though, gloss it with any message he…

(102): Kannywood Movie Review: RISALA

Director:          Abubakar S. Shehu Producer:        Auwalu Sani Story:               Yakubu M. Kumo Language:       Hausa Year:                2018 Company:       3SP International Limited Cast:                Sadiq S. Sadiq, Al-Amin Buhari, Abubakar S. Shehu, Hafsat Idris, etc.
Once again, a major Kannywood production attempts to avoid the clichés of forced marriage, a love triangle, intrusive music and dance routine, etc. in its storytelling. It, equally, tries to go back to the root to, of course, glorify the “good old days”. Above all, it proselytises Islam. Would the critics and the nativists alike ask for more?
Titled Risala, an Arabic word meaning “message”, the Abubakar S. Shehu’s film is completely set in the past when there was nothing we today look and call “modern”. No electricity, no handset, no car and so on. At the risk of jumping the gun, the movie is a remarkable work in a year full of punctuations in the struggling film industry.
(Warning: this section contains spoilers) It…

(101): Kannywood, Struggle and Resuscitation of Cinema in Kano

Muhsin Ibrahim
Kannywood film industry faces an existential threat from many fronts. A leading Hausa film scholar, Prof. Abdullah Uba Adamu declared last year that “by 2016, the Hausa film industry had literally crashed” and, therefore, major actors in the production, marketing and distributing its films had pulled out and ventured into other more propitious businesses. His declaration was true. We are already in the middle of the year 2018. As an independent, casual promoter and reviewer of their films, however, I have yet to watch any serious movie worth reviewing. Most of the few, released films so far are poor in many respects, while the good ones are still held for fear of the market. I don’t blame them for this.
Love or hate them, the resilience of Kannywood filmmakers is what makes them survive this far, though, as mentioned above, many have already capitulated and closed shop. The reasons for this turn of the event are somewhat apparent. They include the scour…