The article was written for, and published by, the BBC Hausa service. This is a link to a slightly different version, translated in Hausa, on their website: Fina-finan Kannywood 12 da suka shahara a 2017..
In spite of several, mounting challenges Kannywood film industry faces, chief of which is piracy, many films were produced in the outgoing year of 2017. These include, as one can guess, the very good, the good, the bad and the ugly. The year is not over yet, we, for that reason, expect the release of more films such as Juyin Sarauta, Sabon Dan Tijara, Dan Sarkin Agadaz, Mu Zuba Mu Gani, Dan Kuka a Birni, among others. Therefore, the following list is, by no means, exhaustive. There can be one, two or more deserving to be included in this category before the end of the year. Again, the list is not in any chronological order.
- There’s a Way
It’s arguably the first Kannywood film in ‘Standard’ English. Produced by a renowned English teacher, Kabiru Jammaje and directed by Falalu Dorayi, the film tells a story of the unending struggle between the lower and the upper classes. The predatory nature of some university dons is equally bared. As a token, the women issue is not left untouched. Thus it is used to set the story afloat. Isham (Nuhu Abdullahi), a brilliant student from a poor family and Fadila (Hajara Jalingo), a rather pampered daughter of a wealthy family fall for each other. Her father, Alhaji Mahdi (Sani Mu’azu) hates the poor, thus does everything to separate them. Although its sequel, This is the Way is due for release by the end of the year, the film’s shortcoming is its hanging ending. Another setback is its use of a too flowery language. But in general, it’s a great work that debunks the fallacy which says the Hausa filmmakers are a bunch of illiterates who cannot speak any good English.
- Umar Sanda
Directed by Kamal S. Alkali, the story focuses on a principled man Umar Sanda (Ali Nuhu) and his family of three. Although he is proletariat, he makes sure his family lacks nothing. Everything is fine until when his innocent daughter meets a pampered schoolmate, a son of the town’s police chief, whom she eventually inadvertently murders in self-defense. Umar Sanda buries the corpse as police investigate by using threat and torture. The film, though appropriated from a Bollywood cinema, is reasonably good enough to be classified as one of the best this year. It highlights the triumph of uprightness, ethical manner and unity.
- Ankon Biki
An Ali Gumzak directed film, Ankon Biki deals with a very contemporary, serious issue. Mubarak (Adam Zango) and Fa’iza (Sadiya Bulala) are set to wed when the latter brings up insurmountable needs to the former such as costly “anko” and a grandeur party at an expensive hall. He and his friends try, but they fail to meet the demands of the bride and her friends. On the wedding day, she succumbs to the hall owner in exchange for the venue for their party. As the story of her illicit action comes out, he refuses to marry her at the wedding place and chooses her friend and a very close neighbour in her places. The film exposes the distance some covetous ladies go to get what they want. While some scenes are too dull and tall, the language of the film is rich, colourful and figurative. Other stars in the movie include the rising Hafsat Idris, Umma Shehu, Al-Amin Buhari, among others.
A Yaseen Auwal directed Rariya was Rahama Sadau’s debut as a producer. This story underlines the double-edged functions of the smartphone. The gadget abets some female university students to lure men. Finally, all the cookies crumble via various embarrassing and tragic manners. The hyped film is quite well-made. Its biggest blooper is its hyperbolical suggestion that only one of the girls is guiltless and serious-minded enough to complete her studies. This may not sit well with some people, especially parents, who advocate for girl-child education. Besides this, the thematic focus is very current and relevant. It stars mega casts such as Ali Nuhu, Rabi’u Rikadawa, Rahama Sadau, Fati Washa, Hafsat Idris, among others.
5. Mijin Yarinya
Directed by Ali Gumzak, Mijin Yarinya takes the audience to a house of an aged, rich man, Bashir Nayaya (Alhaji). He one-day overhears his two barren wives praying for his death to inherit his wealth and to get married to younger men. He, therefore, preempts them and marries an impertinent teenage girl, Maryam Yahaya after raining her parents and a boyfriend with money and gifts. This angers his grown-up children, Aminu Sharif and Sadiya Bulala. After a series of wacky drama and machinations, Alhaji divorces all the wives, including the sugar baby. As an avant-garde production of a sort in Kannywood, the film contains some lessons in highly implausible, amusing sequences. The debutante, Maryam Yahaya, acts wonderfully side-by-side with veterans. Without any exaggeration, the film is rib-tickling, original and didactic.
- Kalan Dangi
This is another wacky comedy directed by Ali Gumzak. It tells how the poor crave for wealth and wealthy individuals, while the rich look down upon the poor. Ali Nuhu, Aminu Sharif, Sadiq Sani Sadiq, Jamila Nagudu, Fati Washa, Aisha Tsamiya, among others live a life full of show-off, pretence, lies, deceits and condescension. If one needs to be entertained, Kalan Dangi offers that in a very enthralling manner. However, the film is somewhat unnecessarily divided into two parts. Therefore, the story is cut short at its climax while a sequel, to be released perhaps next year, entitled Karshen Kalan Dangi shall resolve all the conflicts.
Ali Gumzak champions as the director of some of the most hilarious films of 2017. Makaryaci is yet another one. Again, Sadiq Sani Sadiq, using his God-given flair of acting roles, makes the film one of the best of the year. The story revolves around his cupidity while he does nothing to legitimately earn a kobo. He always hires trendy clothes, asks Rabi’u Daushe, a chauffeur of an affluent household, to drive him to places including a university. He pompously lies to the students that his father is a minister or ambassador. He finally falls for one of them, Hafsat Idris. Against the wish of his grandparents, he sells off his only inherited goats only to spend the entire money on his girlfriend who eventually discovers his real identity. The film stars Sulaiman Bosho, Mama Tambaya, Mustapha Naburaska, Musa Maisana’a, among others.
8. Husna ko Huzna
Husna (Jamila Nagudu) and Abdul (Adam Zango) are set to wed, while a lady genie, Huzna (Fati Washa), tries everything possible to stop that from happening as she profoundly loves Abdul. Enraged by the tussles, one-day Husna pours a deadly chemical on Huzna’s face, not knowing that she is not human. However, Huzna turns up at their house the next day and possesses Husna. This opens a new page of more struggles between Huzna, who comes to stay in Husna’s house in her body. The special effect used is quite captivating. But for a few mistakes here and there, the film would have been one of the best ever, yet. Besides, it’s not a bad piece of work. For most women, the story is an edge-of-the-seat semi-horror; its marital tug-of-war over a charming prince motif is another plus. The performance of Washa is outstanding. Falalu Dorayi directed it.
- Burin Fatima
Some people may be surprised to see this film here, it, however, deserves. The topic of a housewife getting succumbed to a friend’s untested, twisted advice is infamous in Hausa community. Aisha Tsamiya-starred and produced movie tells a story of a wife (Tsamiya) and her husband, Adam Zango. While at school, her friend advises her to abort her pregnancy lest it would distract her from studying. She obliges and lies to the husband that she had a miscarriage, only for her to eventually lose her fertility. Her mother-in-law taunts her for not giving birth and persuades Zango to marry a second wife. Directed by Ali Gumzak, the film was, apparently, made on a low budget; hence it lacks much publicity. Else, it would have been one of the much-talked-about films of the year. Doubtless, Tsamiya’s debut as a producer looks auspicious.
FKD’s Mansoor is another hyped Kannywood films of the year. Directed by Ali Nuhu, the film begins with a special friendship of two teenage schoolmates, Maryam Yahaya and Umar M. Sharif. The father of the latter ends the relationship, alleging that Sharif is a bastard child. This compels him to look for his real father who eventually happens to be the governor of the state. A large part of the film is shown through flashback and narration. No doubt, the story seems original and the subject matter quite novel, a critical look, however, tells that it is yet another repackaged story of young lovers versus their parent. Be it as it may, the film was realistically acted, carefully shot and well edited. It stars Ali Nuhu, Abba El-Mustapha, Baballe Hayatu, Teema Yola, among others.
- Dawo Dawo
A Kabuwagawa Film Production and directed by Ali Gumzak, Dawo Dawo is a daring, unconventional story of a family that fosters a child (Adam Zango) from childhood up to adulthood and gets him married to one of their daughters (Maryam Gidado). On their first night, however, she fakes being possessed by a jinni, forcing him to divorce her. The parents immediately get him married to her younger sister (Aisha Tsamiya). Gidado goes back to her boyfriend (Zahraddeen Sani) with whom she arranges this dupery. He outrightly rejects her. She becomes wild, isolated and depressed when it comes out that she’s carrying Zahraddeen’s pregnancy. Although the cast is very few, the plot is full of intrigue and drama. The trio of Zango, Tsamiya and Gidado performed remarkably. This places the film ahead of its peers this year.
- Ta Faru ta Kare
Directed by Aminu Saira, Ta Faru ta Kare is an intriguing and highly dramatic film. The story revolves around Hafsat Idris, a lame, blind daughter of a wealthy man, and a gold digger, Aminu Sharif (Momo). He gets married to her, but he brings his girlfriends into their matrimonial home until one-day when his escapade is exposed. Adam Zango, her cousin and whose sister Momo once impregnates, bursts his deceit and sends him out of the house for good. The film is a sure dosage of entertainment and amusement. The performance of Hafsat Idris as an innocent, physically challenged character and Momo’s as a brash, amorous man is noteworthy. Other casts include Hadiza Gabon, Hauwa Waraka, among others.