By Al-Amin Ciroma
published in LEADERSHIP on April 18, 2009
The topic last week was smoldering and fiery. I received a lot of calls, mainly in affirmative to the theme. While others feel I am out to defy and deteriorate the film maker of which, I also have a stake. The first question: For how long do we have to continue waiting for the futuristic time of taking the industry to the next height?
In the actual sense, film business in the north has done wonderfully well in job creation and manpower development. A lot of teeming youths get themselves employed in the industry.
However, a lot has been said on the entertainment smidgen of the movies. A part from the horrendous manner in which the music is presented or depicted, a lot of audience sees it also as a borrowed culture. No doubt a typical Hausa culture does not imbibe singing and dancing between a boy friend and his lovely girl or group of youths, the Indian way, but it is quite right that entertainment has its root in the north. Is it not in the same geographical entity that famous and illustrious musicians and choirs like Alhaji (Dr.) Mamman Shata, Alhaji Musa Dankwairo, Barmani Choge, etc were bred? We all witnessed how these legendary artistes showcased their talents and aptitudes with much emphasis on cultural norms of the Hausa communities. Now, in the contemporary world, and with the advent of our local home videos, the players launched innovations and new pattern of entertainment.
A distinctive feature of the Hausa home video is its musical component. It is very difficult to watch a Hausa home video without one or two musical interlude. While it has served a purpose or achieved an objective, to some people, this music breaks was moral aberrations.
Movie production in northern Nigeria is solely governed by an act of moral eccentricity. A lot of people and groups feel that the movies are out to counter the moral values of the northern communities. This issue has generated a lot of controversy and debate, with people expressing divergent opinions. A director at the Centre for Hausa Cultural Studies in Kano, Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu, in an interview with the media, said: “It got to a stage where unless a Hausa film has girls in tight dresses, singing and dancing suggestively, it will not sell, and filmmakers have been defending this by insisting that they are in the business to make money, not art. One of them bluntly told us, ‘to hell with Hausa culture; I am a filmmaker and I want to make money, if you people want a cultural film, do it with your own money’. This marketing mantra led to more songs and dances with girls dressed in tight clothes, shaking their body suggestively, even when the story does not warrant a dance.”
This clearly indicates that culture and its attendant belief systems have contributed in no small measure in shaping our moral paradigm. However, what needs to be seen is whether this scenario of moral anomalies influencing cultural roles has been wholly transmitted into the movies.
This piece intends to look at possible ways of addressing the issue of amusement and hilarity that will conform to moral and intellectual sense. It is hope that in the tale end, the business will be appreciated by all.
Without making any reference to the manner and ways the musical aspect of Hausa films are produced, one may easily say that a lot of the producers and principal proprietors are either ignorant of the thematic expression of the word ‘Music,’ or do not have the knowledge segment and interlude in movie production.
Earlier on, I spelt it clear that many stakeholders in the motion picture industry in the north, most especially the Hausa genre are fond of plagiarism and bootlegging their storyline; including the format and concept the musical slices were shot and produced. I once introduced a friend to the Hausa collections. Before succumbing to my appeal, he warned me that he is not very much acquainted to that particular cinema due to the fact he can’t speak Hausa language, again, the thought of Hausa movies being the ‘Soyayya,’ (love) sort mystify him. He often says, “Why is it that the movie guys in the Hausa section concentrates mainly on the love and love and love? Above all with Indian prototype of stories?” Mr. Mathias is right considering the fact that he is from the south, but he has the knowledge that the northern part of Nigeria is diverse and rich with divergent cultural backgrounds. To say the fact, we have better stories to tell here in our global part. Our economy is burly and brawny with multiple challenges. The customary traditions are excellent. All these, including others are perfect example of story lines that our films should depict.
Narrowing the argument to the Hausa communities, who are predominantly Muslims, why is it that one hardly find moral demeanors reflected in their movies? Is it not rightful to keep in mind that we are all ambassadors and that we shall account for our respective ambassadorial roles in the hereafter? Above all the holy Prophet (S.A.W) unambiguously said, “I was beckoned by my Creature to fulfill all good conducts to mankind.” This is just a perfect Hadith that is supposed to govern all affairs of mankind, including the practitioners in the movie industry.
We can simplify the matter by appealing to the all stakeholders in all endevours to the right thing at the right time. And to our main subject matter, the movie makers, they should in the interest of the teeming audience to impart the right message to the right viewers.