(116): Kannywood Movie Review: Hauwa Kulu
Production Company: Maishadda Global Resources Nig. Ltd
Producer: Abubakar Bashir Maishadda
Director: Ali Nuhu
Cast: Ali Nuhu, Abba El-Mustapha, Baballe Hayatu, Hassana Muhammad, Hadiza Gabon, Hajara Usman, etc.
The eponymous movie Hauwa Kulu is a masterpiece, one of the best films to come out of the Hausa film industry, aka Kannywood. It is a tragic, melodramatic social drama that addresses the issue of rape, which is a boiling issue in our society today. It is also a film that has attracted critical attention, especially from ‘feminists’, NGOs, other critics for its dramatic exposé of the complex politics involved in rape cases and its possible impact on the Nigerian cinema.
The extraordinary plot, which is the driving force of this movie, narrates the story of a beautiful village girl, Hauwa Kulu (Hassana Muhammad), whose blind father (Abba El-Mustapha) wanted her to be well educated. He later decided to marry her off to avoid the plan of the lecherous Village Head, Maigari (Bashir Nayaya) who has a lustful feeling for her. Before the marriage, the unrelenting Maigari raped her, an event that brought tragedy into her life. After the rape, she got Vesicovaginal fistula (involuntary urination), and her marriage plan puzzled out, leading to the death of her father. Unfortunately, her uncle Kallamu (Baballe Hayatu) is not bothered, for he is immoral. He even witnessed the rape but refused to give evidence after being bribed by Maigari. Her poor mother took her to a nearby town for treatment.
The mother, abandoned by all, resorts to begging. One day, while begging on the roadside, a car hit her, and she died. Hauwa Kulu is now left alone in the hospital. Mercifully, the doctor, Hajiya (Hajara Usman) adopted her and enrolled her in a school after her recovery. Hajiya has only one son, Mujahid (Ali Nuhu) who just returned from overseas. He proposed to Hauwa Kulu and she approved. Hajiya was glad about the marriage. After about 25 years, Hauwa Kulu became a judge (now Hadiza Gabon), and there is a rape case before her. The culprit is her son and the only grandson to Hajiya (her saviour). Everything turned upside down for Hauwa Kulu, now a well-known, highly incorruptible judge, because Hajiya and Mujahid expect her to favour him. In the end, Hauwa Kulu passed a fair judgement and sent him to jail. The director of this film (Ali Nuhu) is a true “whiz-kid”, because, despite all the odds, he made the end of the film a happy one.
Indeed, Hauwa Kulu is an emotional film that serves as animadversion to immoral, rich men and their blind love for their children. It is also an encouragement for judges to be cautious in handling rape cases and punish the rapists without fear or favour. Nevertheless, it is a socio-cultural criticism of our people and their discouraging behaviour towards rape victims.
Though the film is outstanding, its screenplay is not sufficient as it didn't align with the conventional “Three acts” found in all “rape and revenge films”. After Hauwa Kulu was raped and survived, the audience should have been shown the revenge she took against the rapist. Indeed, the film is a bit shorter but meaningful with the right dose of entertainment.
In terms of performances, almost every character shine, especially the leading ones who gave earnest performances. The splendid emotional outburst of the young Hauwa Kulu deserves a special mention. On the other hand, there are some feeble actions, especially from the lawyers in the court scenes, but all can be forgiven. However, the extras are not out of the game.
In conclusion, if Kannywood continues to produce movies like Hauwa Kulu, then, even their detractors will start to appreciate them.
Habibu Maaruf Abdu