(111): Kannywood and its Unending Scandals (I)

Muhsin Ibrahim
My book, Kannywood: Unveiling the Overlooked Hausa Film Industry, released early this week, was purposely titled so. For some socio-cultural and religious related reasons, many people that would ideally care about the embattled film industry snub it. Thus, Kannywood survives mainly in obscurity. Conversely, the recent scandals involving the famous actress, Hadiza Gabon and her colleague, Amina Amal over lesbianism allegation proved me slightly wrong. Moreover, as this rages on, the age-old feud between the ace actors, Ali Nuhu and Adam Zango was taken to the next level. The former sued the latter for defamation and assassination of character. These topics dominate the northern Nigerian cyberspace all the more.

Is Kannywood really “overlooked”? It’s indisputably true that the film industry and its members are ignored but, I believe, whenever they do ‘good’ or shun controversies and scandals. Once their scandals surface, everyone’s attention turns toward…

(110): INTERVIEW: Kannywood: Revamped industry will provide millions of jobs

Following the publication of my book, Kannywood: Unveiling the Overlooked Hausa Film Industry, a reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Anita Eboigbe interviewed me. Excerpt of the interview was then carried out by several news outlets in Nigeria. Here is the full version:
1. Do you think the relegation of Kannywood has anything to do with the social, political and tribal sentiments in Nigeria? And why? 
I think the sentiments you mentioned play a role, but they are not to blame squarely. First, there is a widespread belief that Hausa people are less educated compared to other (southern) ethnic groups in Nigeria. Therefore, many people think, wrongly though, that nothing good – such as their films - may come out from them. The fact that Kannywood’s movies are 95 or more per cent in Hausa makes this belief all the more plausible. I have read and heard several people, especially on social media and conferences, arguing that the Hausa folks cannot make films in English, hence thei…

(109): Kannywood Movie Review: Wata Malama

Director:      Falalu A. Dorayi Producer:     Tijjani Asase Language:    Hausa Year:            2019 Company:    Dorayi Film & Distributions Nig. Ltd. Cast:            Halima Atete,Adam A. Zango, Umar Malumfashi, Hadiza Muhammad, etc.
The widely advertised film, Wata Malama is finally out, more than a couple of years since the release of its trailer. It was earlier rumoured that the film was banned by the Kano State Censorship Board allegedly due to its explicit content. However, the film director, Falalu A. Dorayi debunked it and told me that it was only undergoing careful postproduction work. Although he didn’t say further, I think it’s for the same reason: the content. All that is over now.
The film opens with tensed sequences of a hot-tempered police officer (Tijjani Asase) whose wife, a nurse, abandons their baby and goes to work for the night shift. She asks his ailing niece to tell him to prepare food for the baby in the morning. As he and the baby sit down for breakfast the follo…

(108): Kannywood Movie Review: LAILA ADAM

Production:    Famli Investment LTD. Producer:       Sani Mai Iyali Director:         Ali Gumzak Year:               2018 Length:           120 minutes (roughly) Cast:               Aisha Tsamiya, Ali Nuhu, Sadiq Sani Sadiq and others.
Although Ali Gumzak-directed Laila Adam’s release year reads 2018, it is released in early this month (January 2019). From some indications, one may argue that the new year looks auspicious for Kannywood. As per my assessment, there were fewer good films last year. Therefore, I had to struggle to find movies worthy enough for the BBC Hausa’s top 10. Admittedly, some that I included on the coveted list should not be there, but I couldn’t help it.
Played by the talented Aisha Aliyu Tsamiya, the eponymous Laila Adamis happily married to Aliyu (coincidentally acted by Ali Nuhu) and blessed with a curious daughter. Their married life is hunky-dory as she means the world to her loving, caring husband and he repeatedly proves that. The peace is, however, soon interru…

(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 …