(114): Kannywood Movie Review: HAFEEZ

Production:    Maishadda Investment Ltd.
Producer:       Abubakar Bashir Maishadda
Director:         Ali Nuhu
Year:              2019
Cast:         Umar M. Shareef, Hassana Muhammad, Maryam Yahaya, Ali Nuhu, Yakubu Muhammad, Jamila Nagudu and others.

Like most, nay all, films titled after a central character, HAFEEZ revolves around the life of a spoilt adult (acted by Umar M. Shareef). Also, the film has the mark of its “Wizkid” director, Ali Nuhu, all over, for it is apparently modelled after a boy-meets-girl, rich-boy vs poor-girl Bollywood paradigms. Moreover, it bears many more Indian filmic signatures such as five or six spectacular song and dance routines, among others. Perhaps the recent warning by the MOPPAN President, Kabiru Maikaba, on banning romance film in Kannywood came out after this production – though I doubt if any such sanction is possible.

Since his return from study overseas, Hafeez, the only son to a wealthy family, snubs many beautiful, posh girls who dream of tying the knot with him. His lovability is infectious to the extent that two sisters fight over him, his secretary loses her job for her persistence to attract his attention, a (female) cousin rejects her (male) cousin’s proposal, among others unusual cases. Interestingly and expectedly, he chooses another, Safna (Hassana Muhammad) from an impoverished family with a hot-tempered father (acted by Ali Nuhu). While the girl loves him in return, he has a serious issue to settle with the father or else the marriage cannot see the light of the day.

Although the story is doubtlessly hackneyed, for one can correctly guess its twist, climax and resolution, the film has some things to write home about. I will begin with the casting. It is excellent because we see new faces as parents. Yakubu Muhammad and Jamila Nagudu act as Hafeez’s parents; Ali Nuhu as Safna’s, and Abba El-Mustapha as Hafsat’s (Maryam Yahaya). It’s a development in Kannywood as a film industry that suffers from a monopoly of megastars. Now, the Shareefs, Maryams, others will be better groomed and, thus, grow.

Again, if one fancies cinema of entertainment, Hafeez will not disappoint him/her. Additionally, the film’s sub-plot contains a robust and moralising message, and that is the vanity of the material world. Hafeez does what he likes when he likes it. Nevertheless, his father’s affluence fails to buy him a wife, or, at least, the particular one he selects. Thus, he has to eventually surrender all the haughtiness, wealth and more in an unlikely situation to actualise his dream. So, the thematic concerns touch on not only love but also respect for elders and humanity in general.

The film is, technically, not bad either. Though the lighting is not in tune with the ambience, other cinematographic works are quite okay. The melodious song and dance sequences were shot at scenic locations with beautiful landscapes. Likewise, the houses are semiotically befitting of the socio-economic conditions of the characters. However, the principal character, Umar M. Shareef, needs to work harder to improve his acting skills and style. Or, is it the director’s responsibility? Either way, his performance is not very impressive and, I believe, he can do better. I generously rate the film 2.5/5 and advisedly recommend it, especially to children born with a silver spoon.

Reviewed by
Muhsin Ibrahim
University of Cologne


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