Director: Geoffrey Galadima
Producer: Rabiu Haruna
Story: Yakubu M. Kumo
Company: Al-Rahuz Film Production, Kano
Hausa film spectators are introduced to a new genre of Science-Fiction by the filmmakers of Aduniya. The same is said in its earliest preview on The Premium Times online newspaper in its September, 4th, 2013 edition. The same had also been mentioned like a litany in the film’s often-repeated adverts on the radio stations and in numerous other films. The boisterous voiceover boasts that viewers will, for the first time, see cars getting exploded like never before, the actors in unique and more captivating roles and, above all, the director of the film was “brought” from abroad. This reviewer sees the production and the formation of the film as avant-garde, for, although no denying the fact that sci-fi is a novel thing in Kannywood, the filmmakers are just experimenting the idea, which, if succeeds, will pave the way for more of its kind. However, that may or may not be so.
The film begins from a television interview with Prof. A.A. Hussain (Tijjani Faraga), who is described as one of best scientists in the country whom even the Western superpowers have enticed, but he turned them down. Later in the night some assassins visited his residence and asked for his computer password. He resolutely refuses. Thus they kill his wife and threaten to kill their son. He eventually capitulates and tells them, but they murder him, too. Upon delivering the password to their hirer, he detonates a bomb implanted in their car to kill them all. The bereaved kid, Kamal (Ibrahim Maishinku), is taken by General Hadi (Tahir Fagge), a science-savvy close friend of the deceased Professor. He vows to avenge his death and to look after the child as if he were his.
Kamal is, since childhood, trained to shoot and kill by the General. Years after he’s grown up, he gives him an album carrying pictures of those, according to him, responsible for his father’s death. He unhesitatingly hunts them down, killing them one after another. Some henchmen capture him. While their leader is confining to him that his foster father is the actual murderer of his parents, a bomb blast disrupts and kills him. The General appears out of the blue, injects Kamal with a fatiguing dose. He finishes the story that he indeed eliminates Prof. Hussain for his ‘betrayal’. Kamal promises to take revenge. After that, the General transforms him into evil, powerful and mysterious Electro-Human creature sets on destroying whoever he commands. He begins with the ‘techno-scientists’ personnel that construct him and other tough assignments.
The title of the film, like many other Kannywood productions, is, at best, confusing, and at worst, meaningless especially when attached to its storyline. Before I began this review, I thought it was written like: A Duniya, which could mean “In the World”, but I learned that the preposition “A” and the noun “Duniya” are joined together. I am a native Hausa, but I sincerely don’t know which word is this: Aduniya (I stand to be corrected). Anyway, the film is, one could say, peripherally exciting and intriguing. No critic would, or should, deny the filmmakers the credit of starting a movie of its kind in Kannywood, and doing it better than all the similar presentations audiences have seen before. The special effects deployed are, also, uncommon. These disclosures besides, the film is too unreal, the story unconvincing, the narration fragmented and the narrative unconnected. It is just actions-studded a film with blasts and shootings.
For instance, Kamal’s parents died in a strangest possible way. Remember, the father was highly prominent, wealthy and with an unmatched intelligence. But the government does nothing to find out his killers; his family abandons his sole heir, Kamal, all alone, to be brought up and bred by some person who is, without any dramatic irony, behind his father’s death. Prof’s other colleagues—Kamal’s first victims—also know the General paid for his father’s death. How is this possible? Again, whatever crime Kamal does remains unchecked by the security institutions as if the set was a lawless society without anyone in control.
Another crassly improbable presentation is the ‘computer laboratory’ scene, where the unnamed cast of Yakubu Muhammad dramatically kills his trio colleagues after completing a project. Although one of them handed him something that looks like a hard disk, no one can tell what the cause and effect of that particular incident in the film is. This is beside the scene’s being apparently cartoonish. Other—the copter, Kamal’s flying, etc.—scenes also look so artificial. I wonder why the ‘foreign’ director did not use the foreign technology and gadgetry in making these shots less false than they are.
The sound of the film is yet another big flop. In many instances, the dialogue of the characters is inaudible as it is overshadowed by noises, loud playback music or other unwanted, unintelligible sound. The picture quality, where natural backgrounds are used, is nonetheless good. However, the gunshots are very incredible: while sometimes blood is spilt in bulk, not a drop is spilt in other instances.
From the foregoing, it might be apparent that Aduniya has barely met its spectators’ expectation. Thousands of Kannywood audience, I firmly believe, had waited to see the work of Mr. Galadima, being an acclaimed director, and who was new to the Industry. Again, the much-ado in the advertorials of the film cannot be dissociated from the much attention it had garnered. Thus, its being that unconvincing, unnatural and fantasy a la childlike is a painful slap onto their faces. In spite of everything else, the innovation the film comes up with is a step forward in Kannywood. The characters, particularly the antagonist, Tahir Fagge, have done wonderfully good. The film cannot be forgotten for that and other reasons. As a final note, I believe that, come another filmmaker with a similar idea, the film will (or should) be far better than this one, for it has set the pace.
Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim,
Bayero University, Kano