(140): Top 10 Kannywood Films of 2021
The article was written by Muhsin Ibrahim & Habibu Ma'aruf for, and published by, the BBC Hausa service. Here is a link to a slightly different Hausa version published on their webpage: Finafinan Kannywood mafiya shahara a 2021.
We are yet again at the end of another year, 2021. Kannywood has seen so many good and bad events in the year. Prominent are; the demise of the veteran actress Zainab Booth and that of seasoned cameraman-cum-actor, Ahmad Aliyu Tage and Sani Garba SK. Also, a famous actress, Maryam Yahaya, suffered from a protracted illness; the conflicts between Adam Zango and his mentee, Ummi Rahab, and between Umma Shehu and the Kano State Hisba and some directors and the Kano censorship board.
On the other hand, the industry has gotten a new cinema to screen its movies, and Netflix Naija contacted its stakeholder for a potential deal. Moreover, the rising stars; Garzali Miko, Zahra Diamond and Maryam Waziri have all tied the knot in the outgoing year.
Despite the T.V and web serials that almost dominate the industry’s filmmaking sphere, it still managed to release many mega movies in cinemas. The following are the best ten among them.
1. Ka Yi Na Yi
This movie became Kannywood’s biggest hit by netting over ₦5 million during its three-week run in a single cinema. Although its makers tagged it as a sequel to their 2017 film Kalan Dangi, the storyline is not an extension of the former, and it has a new cast. Like the previous, however, it’s also a comedy film.
Directed by Ali Gumzak and produced by Abubakar Bashir Maishadda, the movie is timely as per our reality today. It is about scams in the name of online trade, the crooks in currency exchange and real estate businesses, and the fake marketers who are now rampant in all markets. Not only does it educate, but the film also entertains. Its multiple star-casts amuse the audience, especially Sani Danja and Sadik Sani Sadik.
2. Sarki Goma Zamani Goma
The prominent production company, Maishadda Global Resources, whose collaboration with director Ali Nuhu led to many successful movies like Mariya (2018) and Hafeez (2019), is also the producer of this film. It is a gripping tale of lust and avarice about a clique of flirtatious, loose young ladies who earn a lot of money by involvement in classy flings. One of them (Mommy Gombe) has a responsible father (Ali Nuhu) who strongly disapproves of her lifestyle. But, the rest (Maryam Yahaya, Amal Umar, Aisha Najamu) have careless parents who are mindless of their virtue. They, however, learn their lesson and repent in the end. Doubtless, the film is captivating. It was shot in impressive locales and is blessed with lavish costumes. The leading characters also performed splendidly. Other casts include Umar M. Sharif, Minal Ahmad, Rayya Kwana Casa’in, among others.
3. Zainabu Abu
Having been compelled by his mother, Habeeb (Umar M. Shareef) agrees to allow his love, Zainab (Momee Gombe), to marry his ailing elder brother Auwal (Ali Nuhu), who has an estimated life expectancy of 6 months. He finds the courage for this sacrifice as it’s temporary — Zainab will return to him when Auwal dies. Surprisingly, however, Auwal survives the chronic illness after their marriage. Habib then asks her to end the marriage, but she refuses. He consequently starts doing everything possible to get her back. The film is generally enjoyable. It’s about love, sacrifice, mother-children emotions and the length an obsessed lover can go to win his love. The performance of the actors is also impressive. It’s produced by Abubakar Bashir Maishadda and directed by Ali Nuhu.
This Ali Nuhu directed movie addresses the clash between Westernisation and cultural traditions. It’s a story of Fahad (Umar M. Sharif), the son of a business tycoon Alhaji Rabi’u (Nura Hussaini), who is deeply in love with a poor daughter, Nafisa (Maryam Yahaya). He later leaves her for Rumaisa (Maryam Booth), a daughter of his father’s old friend, Professor Tahir (Ali Nuhu), to fulfil his father’s wish. Rumaisa studies abroad. She marries Fahad, but he later divorces her as she is highly westernised and thus, unable to uphold her traditional marital responsibilities. He then reunites with Nafisa, and they get married in the end. Indeed, the film is considerably topical and meaningful. It was also carefully shot and well-edited. Nura Husaini’s rendition as a business tycoon has no match in the cast. Ali Nuhu also plays the role of Prof. Tahir with profound expertise.
Arguably the most hyped film of 2021, Isah Alolo-directed Fanan is a family drama. It tells the story of Kamilu (Yakubu Muhammad), who lives peacefully with his wife Fanan (Sabeera) but begins to maltreat —and eventually divorces— her after starting an affair with a wealthy woman, Madam Jessica (Rahama M.K). Jessica promises to marry him and facilitate his promotion to manager in another big company, but she ditches him afterwards without fulfilling her promise. Kamilu then tries to restore his marriage with Fanan only to find out that she is married to a business mogul, Alhaji Sammani (Sani Danja). The film is remarkably commercially successful. It sets the record of being the first Hausa film to get approximately ₦1.25 million on its opening day, thanks to the popularity of the Fanan song and the distinctive marketing strategy adopted by the executive producer, Mansurah Isah.
6. Bana Bakwai
An FKD’s Bana Bakwai, directed by Ali Nuhu, is a very topical movie that depicts most — if not all — of the problems with mainly Northern Nigeria today. Although it started showing in December 2020, it continued until February 2021. This fact qualifies it to appear on this list. The film shows how corruption, unemployment, poor/irresponsible parenting and wrong marriages play a role in promoting thuggery, insecurity and other social vices Nigeria faces at the moment. The film is skillfully produced and gets luminous photography which perfectly captures its mood and texture. The thrilling stunts, particularly the chases, make it stands out among other movies of similar sorts in Kannywood. It stars Tijjani Asase, Shu'aibu Kumurci, Lawan Ahmad, Maryuda Yusuf, Ramadan Booth, Sadik Sani Sadik, Musbahu Anfara, among others.
Makota is another star-studded comedy directed by Ali Gumzak. Its theme is the often mindless violence between neighbours living next door. In the film, Ali Nuhu and Musa Maisana’a are such neighbours at the market. So are Aina’u Ade, who plays Yoruba lady, and her neighbour Rabi’u Rikadawa. The Rikadawa’s household is also disorderly. While Amal Umar, the daughter of his first wife Ladidi Fagge, is decent, his second wife’s daughter, Maryam Yahaya, is not. He, however, doesn’t rebuke the latter as she offers monetary gifts to him. However, the drama continues before everything is resolved in the end. The film had a successful run in cinema. Its subsequent release on YouTube makes it one of the most popular films this year.
As its title suggests, this Kannywood’s English action film is a story of an avenger who vows revenge against the assassins of his family. It revolves around Jamal (M.M Haruna), whose father was brutally killed alongside his family members when he was young. Years later, he grew into an Avenger, and Sani Mu’azu (his saviour who also trained him to be one) begins to give him the pictures of those who, according to him, are responsible for the assassination. However, after launching serial killings on them, he learns that they are innocent. Sani Mu’azu is the real antagonist but mischievously pulls the strings behind him. This discovery opens up a new page of struggles between the Avenger and the actual perpetrator. Though a rehash of foreign movies, Avenger is still a watchable film. Its ending is, nonetheless, outrageous. It shouldn’t have been inconclusive. It was directed by Bature Zambuk and produced by Nazifi Asnanic and Usman Mu’azu.
9. Gari Guda
The Islamic Film Empire’s Gari Guda is a movie that emerges to change the filmmaking narrative in Kannywood. Set in Northwestern Nigeria, the film explores social vices like banditry and kidnappings that bedevil the region. It was shot in suitable locations, perfectly capturing Northern Nigeria’s ecology. This makes it a realistic portrayal of the region and its current condition. The film is also a socio-political critique of the Northern political elites. It depicts their abuse of power as the primary cause of the terrible mess the region faces. Moreover, it is overtly didactic as there are many instances where the director incorporates moral teaching into the dialogue. Also, the cast, though are all new, performed wonderfully. I salute them with the director, Sufyan Lawal Kabo, and the crew members to make such a topical yet daring movie. We hope others will copy from them.
The eponymous film tells the story of lovebirds; Nura (Garzali Miko) and Juwairiyya (Sharifat Ibrahim). They are deeply in love, but her guardian marries her to his friend Adam Zango, as Nura is unemployed and cannot tie the knot. However, when her newlywed husband realises that she is in love with another man, he decides to divorce and unite her with him. But on reaching Nura, they discover that he has become a drunkard. Juwairiyya rejects him in the end and returns to her husband’s house. The film is meaningful with many lessons to learn. The performance of the debutante, Sharifat Ibrahim, who plays the eponymous character, is mediocre, but the veterans did a great job.