By Al-Amin Ciroma
(Published in Leadership Newspapers, August 1, 2009)
They are perfect actors in Kannywood. Whenever the names of A- List actors are listed the two Aminus are sure to be mentioned... Both bear three names, viz: Aminu Ahlan Shariff and Aminu Shariff Ahlan. This piece intends to unveil the two pillars of the Hausa film industry. Are they brothers, friends, associates or brand allies? What is more amazing is that both Aminus were born in the same local government council - Gwale - in Kano State.
What differentiates one from the other? Aminu Ahlan Shariff was born on 22nd April, 1973 at Gwale Quarters, Gwale local government area. He had his primary school education at Matasa Primary School, Sani Mainagge, between 1978-1983, after which he proceeded to Government Senior Secondary School, Gwammaja One, for his secondary education, between 1983-1989. The screen Romeo obtained his NCE at FCE Kano between 1994-1996, after his quest for additional knowledge took him to Obafemi Awolowo University in 1997 where he earned a diploma and an advanced diploma in Computer Science. The film star, as busy as he was still able to bag a degree at Bayero University, Kano (BUK), in the year 2005. Despite these Ahlan still nurtures the dream of going back for a second degree.
On the other hand, Aminu Shariff Ahlan was born at Galadanchi in Gwale local government area on 10th October, 1977. He was also raised there. He is a diploma holder from the prestigious Bayero University Kano, where he studied Sociology.
Both actors ventured into the show business, almost at the same time. Aminu Shariff Ahlan came into Kannywood when Sir Hafizu Bello featured him in his blockbuster, Ukuba. In the movie, Aminu displayed his natural talent when he played a villainous role and became well known for it. He is cool-headed, with versatile acting abilities. The name of the character he portrayed in the movie, Momoh, distinguished him from the other actors who appeared alongside with him. One could probably point out that the major distinction between the two ace actors is that Aminu Shariff Ahlan is nicknamed 'Momoh'.
On the other hand, Aminu Ahlan Shariff, a natural actor, started acting long before the birth of the Hausa Film industry. He acted in two English drama series between 1991 and 1992. He starred as a friend to the lead actor and as a family boy in Weeping hearts and Echo in the dark, respectively. In 1999, Bala Ahmad, a director, called him up and offered his flick, Mayaudara. The actor accepted. By virtue of that, Mayaudara became the actor's debut Hausa film. After a year, Ishaq Sidi Ishaq gave him a second opportunity in Laila, which was his breakthrough. One of the most sought after actors in Kanywood, Ahlan produced the blockbuster movie Jinsee, through his mega production company - Video Villa. Jinsee, directed by Ishaq Sidi Ishaq, became a hit. The movie graced the screens of Hausa homes for a long time. The actor who is also a producer and director, has produced some super hit movies, among which are: Jinsee, Amira, 419, Mafia and Matsolo. He then turned his fortunes to the directing line, and he presently has over eight movies to his directing credits such as Dan Gwal, Mafia, Mahadi, Sirrin Daso, Adaka, and Rufa-Rufa. Ahlan's best is yet to come.
‘Momoh’ is the quiet type and very subtle. His fans describe him as the man with the midas-touch, pointing out that whatever he touches, turns gold. It is well known that his face sells movies. Quite a number of producers in the industry are always on the hunt for Momoh, most especially to depict an innocent dribbler in their movies.
The charming Aminu Ahlan Sharriff, a.k.a ‘Ahlan’ on the other hand, is quite idiosyncratic. He came into the Hausa movie genre with a difference. He blazed the trail and set a pace for others to follow. He became the Video Villa boss simply to showcase his multi-talented skills. Ahlan is also known to be a 'system builder' of sort, perhaps in part, because he possesses unusual traits, a combination of imagination and reliability. Standing over six feet tall, intelligent, dedicated, analytical, professional, very humble and very artistic. A very rare combination in the modern Hausa film industry. Blessed with a sonorous voice, the handsome dude is known for his Hausa and English dialectical expressions, a habit he finds hard to do away with, according to him. In his spare time, Ahlan watches films, reads novels, and listens to music. For the actor, football is the game and he was formerly a Real Madrid fan, till recently when he migrated to Chelsea. According to one of his directors, Ahlan tends to be scrupulous about recognising his colleagues' needs and contributions, and he also has the ability of taking full advantage of every opportunity that comes his way.
Momoh fought with his last blood to win the heart of his dear wife, Maryam Ahmad Diallo, who is one of Kannywood's top lyricists. Their union has been blessed with children. Ahlan also married his beautiful and understanding wife, Aisha Mansur Kankarofi, and their union is blessed with a pretty and angelic girl, Hassana, named after the actor's mother.
Momoh was winner of the esteemed Motion Pictures Practitioners’ Association (MOPPAN) Award for Best Actor in 2004, while Ahlan's movie, Jinsee, won the Best Film award at the same ceremony.
Similarities between these stars are by no means exhaustible, certainly, our esteemed readers may as well identify several others not captured in this piece.