Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Amazing World Of Ali Nuhu

*His Acclaimed And Dazzling Role In Wetin Dey

Published (August 21, 2010) Leadership Newspapers

By Al-Amin Ciroma
This is the amazing world of Ali Nuhu,whose foray into Nollywood started from Kannywood. Whenever you ask the high sprited actor why he chose acting as career, after studying geography at the university, he would simply say: “I have always wanted to act, since I was a boy. I knew I would act someday, but how it would start was unknown to me.”
His career got started when he read an advertisement. “It was about an audition and they needed cast for a film. That was after my graduation. However, the film that shot me to limelight was a Hausa movie called Dijangala, which bagged the award for Best Hausa Film at the Zuma Film Festival in Abuja, in 2008. Though it was a re-make of the old Dijangala, it was what I needed to be hot in the Hausa film market. Since then, I have been in the Hausa genre of Nollywood before Wetin Dey?”
The TV-soap opera, Wetin Dey? also propelled the acting career of Ali, who is simply known as Sarki or Master of the Game by his colleagues. Getting the role of Ibrahim in the drama series, according to him was by a stroke of luck. “I came in late,” he revealed. Late? Didn’t he want the role from the on set? “Already, they had taken the pilot copy to London for selection but they needed to make changes. I was invited for an audition in Kano and was told that it was a BBC-sponsored stuff. There were four directors on set and, after my audition, I was chosen to play the role of Ibrahim and we were on set for a year and three months.” Ali Nuhu played the role so well you would think he suffered from the deadly virus.
Ironically, he confessed: “I didn’t know about HIV/AIDS or even the stigmatisation of victims until I got on the set. I got to meet HIV positive people and we learnt from them in interpreting our roles. The role of Ibrahim was a true life story of a man who knew he had AIDS and, to cover up, he quickly married his cousin. He was afraid of stigmatisation and discrimination. So he continued covering up his illness until he met his waterloo. I believe the society made Ibrahim who he was and not because he was callous or wicked.”
Based in Kano, Ali’s handsome face has graced many Hausa films and he is one of the most celebrated stars of the Hausa movie world, who have crossed borders. Attesting to the fact that the Kannywood is getting more vibrant daily, Nuhu says their audience is not only northern based. “From Abuja to the East and neighbouring African countries, we are watched and our stars celebrated. In a year, we produce over 200 home videos. The market is really doing well, save for the activities of pirates.”
How has the TV drama influenced his life? “We were fighting a cause, but I was told that people could mistake me for HIV positive person, but I didn’t mind, because we wanted to make viewers know that HIV/AIDS victims are people like us and should not be discriminated against. That was why I put in every skill I have, but some viewers believe I am HIV positive in real life. I am not. I know my status; after all, there is no skeleton in my cupboard. That I play a role on television does not mean that I am that person; roles in movies are meant to be translated accordingly. I am Ali now, but while on set, I could be anybody, based on the script. A true and professional actor should be able to translate the role giving to him very well.”
So, who is this galvanising actor that holds the four aces? To his numerous female fans, who think Ali Nuhu is not married, this is indeed sad news: “I am happily married and I have two kids. My wife is quite beautiful and I would do anything to please her. I even give my scripts to her and anything she would not like, I would not do on set,” he said. Is he saying he would not kiss or touch a woman on set just because his wife would not approve? “Though my wife is a Muslim, she is liberal and believes my profession is important. Often times, my roles on screen could have to do with women and she would not object to kisses or hugs. Romantic scenes are allowed but there is a limit.”
Doesn’t his religion, Islam, forbid it? “I am a professional actor and as long as what I am doing on set is not sinful, my religion would not frown on it. A lot of Nigerians mistake your roles on television or films for the real you. They have forgotten that the real you is different from the actor in you. I could dress scantily on set but would not do that in real life.”
Ask Ali Nuhu if his wife gets jealous over his female fans and he would say: “Naturally, women are jealous and could get possessive over their husbands. I feel for wives of actors when female fans flock around them for photographs, autographs or make calls even late in the night. Naturally, my wife is not a jealous person but there was a time some rumour-mongers were all over town saying I was dating a popular Hausa actress. After an event, I gave the lady a lift and my wife saw us together. She was not angry, but she cautioned me to avoid being seen with that girl, because people could mistake our intentions.”
“There are numerous female fans who would call endlessly. Some would even ask you if you were married, or still single. I would proudly say that I am happily married but there are some stubborn women who would continue beeping and making nonsense calls. When I could not control it, I got a software that helps blacklist some numbers from my hand-set. What the device does is that any number I don’t want to answer would come in as unknown and would not ring. The phone would just beep.”
You would not really blame him because if you happen to be with him a few minutes, Ali Nuhu would have answered numerous calls, say 80 and above, and would also record more than 100 calls, which his hand-set records as ‘unknown.’
An exasperated Nuhu says, “That is how the calls keep coming daily. So, imagine what I would have gone through if I didn’t get that device. Before now, I would receive so many calls that answering calls became a stress.”
What if he is termed as being proud? ”Anyone who is close to me and knows me very well would say that I am not snobbish. There are some calls which come in when I am on set or when I am busy. That I do not pick such calls does not mean that I am pompous or something. That I don’t give attention to some stubborn female fans does not mean Ali Nuhu is a proud actor.”
What about his fans on facebook, Twitter and so on? “It is really amazing, in fact it is beyond comment. I can say, I am really impressed with the way my fans make comments about me on Facebook and Twitter.
I asked him to post a photo on his wall on Facebook. Seconds later, we recorded the following messages and comments, most of them in Hausa language:
•Ghalee Lameedo Ali: Wallahi ba ka da na biyu. Kai ka danne, ka zarce su. U are d best. D best! D best!! kai musu fintinkau.
•Ibrahim Sulaiman: More xpirince on ‘Sai Wata Rana,’ the base actor in the world, Yaya Ali.
•Ibrahim Sulaiman: Help us to gate Adam A. Zango up the ladder for us pls.
•Abdullahi Musa Hadejia: Thank u 4 reviving FKD with dis great film.
•Usman Aliyu: Broda kowa ya bi. Allah Ya kara budi na alheri, amin.
•Rabiu Muazu: This is really interesting, I wish u the best.
•Babs Mohammed: dats nice mutumina
•Hussy Haske: ‘Sai Wata Rana’ rabuwa ba mutuwa ba, kwarai.
•Kabir Isyaku: I was amazed about your wonderful talent before, but i realised that peaople like U are very few in the movie industry. U are special among the specialists. Ur extraordinary talent proved U 2 be the best. Ali Zaki, keep up!!!
•Hadiza Ibrahim: Again! why 3? well, i cant afford to miss it, i luv that movie especially the song.
•Ibraheem El Escape: Sarki, I will try and get my copy with my frnd young zee.
•Auwalu Capito Hamisu: Wao, film that make fall in love more to to my girl friend.
•Yakubu Laminu: MR. ALI NUHU Akwai wata budurwata da ta nemi kaset na SAI WATA RANA 1 da na 2, ta ba ni in gani, amma abin da na gani yadda ya kasance tsakanina da ita.
•Liyatu Simon Tawasu: U are doing well Ali, but dont forget to continue promoting our culture, be at the but side, Nollywood and Hausa films;
•Habila Funtua: Ali may Allah helps u about what ever u do in ur long life.

That is just a brief peak into the amazing world of the great actor, and master of the game, Ali Nuhu. It appears only one or two percent of his fans are acquainted with internet, what if 50% of them could log on to the net to comment on his wall? By then, I won’t hesitate to copy out all my archives in my blog and messages on facebook before the crash on the information super highway.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Rebirth Of New Nollywood


The heads of guilds and association of the Nigerian motion picture industry, on Thursday August 5, 2010, held a historic event of forming a redoubtable organisation that will foster and promote its mandates in order to in their bid to re-brand Nollywood. The congregation, which was tagged Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Association (CONGA), was spearheaded by the heads of all the guilds and associations.
The event kicked- off at exactly 11:57 am with a comedian Emeka Smith trilling the audience with rib cracking jokes. Nollywood actors, Keppy Bassey-Ekpeyong and Stella Damasus were the hosts of the event. Before the event started, a minute silence was observed for a number of Nollywood actors and actresses that have passed away in recent times.
The MoU signing ceremony and the event Chairman, Mr. Bond Emeruwa, said, it is time to begin to protect the Nigerian film industry with a view to enable it grow bigger and better as well as increase its capacity to assist other emerging film industries all over the world. Having given a voice to the black race and empowering the struggling film makers of Africa how to express themselves using the tube.
Also speaking, Paul Obazele, the Association of Movie Producers' president, said the coalition is working in conjunction with the Interpol and security agencies in the country to ensure that the new guidelines are enforced without hindrance. It will be recalled that the history of filmmaking in Nigeria goes back to 1958 with the production of 'Freedom' by PA John Ifoghale Amata, followed by 'Shaihu Umar' by late Adamu Halilu. But it did not achieve recognition until 1992, this, the coalition committee argued that the time has come for the need to come under one umbrella to promote their common and collective interestr and represent in all matters on their collective behalf thereafter.
Guilds that took part in the MOU signing ceremony include: the Directors' Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), the Actors' Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Nigerian Society of Cinematographers (NSC), Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN), Creative Designers' Guild of Nigeria (CDGN), and the Nigeria Society of Editors (NSE). Others are the Film & Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN), the Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), and the Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners (ANTP).
Adding colour to the event, a fifteen minute special introductory documentary about Nollywood was shown to the guests. The documentary was in appreciation of Nigeria's movie producers, director's actors and actresses who go through hell in making movies despite the obvious difficulties that the industry is faced with.
In a speech delivered at the event by Bond Emeruwa, the president of Directors Guild of Nigeria [DGN], the movie producer said that they are working towards developing and enhancing Nollywood. "Today marks the beginning of the journey into re-branding the industry. We must all pull our resources together to take our movie industry to the promise land." He said.
Also on the agenda was the issue of piracy and an elixir was proffered. Ambassador Olusegun Olusola who was also present at the event said that the movie industry started years ago with government initiating ideas for the development of the industry. He further urged everyone in the industry including the government and private organisations to support the thriving industry.
On distribution, according to the coalition chairman, Emeruwa, “the coalition wants the National Film and Video Censors Board(NFVCB) to ensure that any foreign film seeking to be distributed in the country is censored in addition to having such film registered with the film and video producers as well as the marketing association of Nigeria with the following; A none refundable fee of $10,000, A censorship certificate from the country of origin, A copyright certificate from the country of origin and from the Nigerian Copyright Commission.
However, noting that the new guidelines were put in place as a further effort to protect and inculcate laudable ethics in the nation's film industry, the coalition remarked that any local film producer who parade one or more foreign artistes in his or her film will be treated as a foreign film at the point of distribution except, a situation where a proof of having satisfied the conditions as stipulated above is demonstrated.
Meanwhile, reacting to this development, Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, when contacted distanced his establishment from the new policy, saying “they are on their own.”
However, while the new guidelines are a welcome development to the industry, observers have expressed reservation over a possible clash of interest coupled with disagreement with the regulatory bodies.

ZAFA 2010 Set To Rebrand Africa Through Entertainment

The United Kingdom will again this year host the giant African Films Festival and Academy Awards (ZAFAA) 2010 at its third edition of the awards. The event, which has been slated to take place from 20th to 22nd October, 2010 at the prestigious Troxy Hall, East London, would demonstrate and showcase to African entertainers in Diaspora and the entire world, various great works of art, movies staged by Nigerian great performers in the entertainment industry alongside other African works through cinema exposition.
According to a statement issued by the media director, ZAFAA 2010, Mr. Tony Ogunlana, said, ZAFAA is organised in honour of African Film makers and artistes who have contributed to the development and progress of the African Film Industry in diverse ways.
He said, this years’ event, which was themed ‘Re-branding Africa Through Entertainment’, will host crop of icons in the entertainment industry across the continent. According to him, the three event will mainly focus on the ways of developing movie and tourism industry. “This year’s event will host a special investment forum and cultural festival so as to develop our artiste and expose them to international stage and above all the forum will discuss and open-up movie market for investors.” said Ogunlana.
The event, Leadership gathered will screen a selection of old & new African fiction and documentary features, films and short films from around the continent, as well as classic and less well-known films restored by international archives alongside a public screening programme.
In another development, observers are of the opinion that the African Film Festival is currently the highly regarded and anticipated film event within the African Communities in the UK’s cultural calendar. The festival, according to their analysis, attracts leading international filmmakers, industry professionals and the media together with large public audiences to London for a four day showcase of the best cinema from Africa. Asked on their target audience, the media director said, “We intend to reach the target through a well thought of audience development campaign, which includes the use of questionnaires, speeches at local gatherings, community gatherings like churches, religious venues, peer camps, via huge publicity for the programme on TV, Radio, via the use of flyers and slate advert at stations. Also, we intend to make part of the event free and the other part as low priced and easily accessible for all to encourage as many people to participate.”
The statement further announced that the Nigerian Television Authority, Pak & Partners and Cross Rivers Broadcasting Corporation are the main partners of ZAFAA 2010. Highlighting that the cultural festival will be an avenue where states like Lagos, Cross Rivers, Benue and so on will market their December events in order to woo tourists and investors.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Filmmaking Can Thwart Inter-tribal, Religious Crises –Zainab


An Abuja-based Zainab Ahmad is an indigene of Zamfara State. She attended Bayero University, Kano and is a single parent. An upcoming producer in Kannywood, she entered the industry with zeal to set a pace for new ideas and platforms. In this chat with INSIDE KANNYWOOD, the elegant and charming owner of Ziattar Multimedia, discusses her interest in filmmaking and her new movies, among other issues. Excerpts:

What inspired you to venture into the entertainment industry?

Being an Arien, I am naturally an artistic person. You see, Aries is the most confident of all the zodiac signs Why do ariens have these qualities? First, they are fiery people who are natural leaders. The majority of world leaders have strong fire elements in their charts; although, fire symbolises people who can also be very arrogant and self-centered. An arien is the boss who takes your ideas and motivates and leads all the employees to better sales and marketing, while taking all the credit. Therefore, I got the zeal to doing things, naturally
It may also interest you to know that I’ve loved movies since my childhood days. I loved watching Indian films and nurtured the ambition of becoming a producer/actress. With this determination, I went into production. I started with the thought of producing something different from the Soyayya (love) stories our Hausa filmmakers. I produced a movie that is unique and focuses on something that has been happening in the society, even though, no one thought it is affecting the lives of young girls, in search of greener postures, who ended up destroying themselves for lack of guidance and poverty. The film is titled, Takun Mata, meaning ‘Women premise.’ My second inspiration is setting up a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that would affect our peoples’ lives in a positive way. My dream is seeing both Kannywood and Nollywood come together as one, and see it grow. That would offer a lot of opportunities and employment for the youths in Nigeria.

You are an upcoming producer, tell us how you started career.
I've been in Kannywood for a long time and had nurtured the idea of acting, but my family refused, so I had to hide behind a lot of actors, actresses, and directors to contribute in the little way that i could.

What do we expect from Ziattar in the near future?
A lot.

How would you rate the Nigeria motion picture industry, most especially the Hausa genre?
I believe we are catching up and in no time we will get there.

Do you think Kannywood is catching-up with trends in the motion picture world?

Yes, the northern film industry is progressing. One can tell that something fruitful is in the making. Kannywood is dynamic, films are produced in notable indigenous languages, Hausa, Fulfulde, Nupe, etc. So, this can give you clear proof that the industry has come to stay. A lot of foreign bodies are now coming in for possible collaborations in film business with our practitioners and stakeholders, I therefore believe by the grace of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, Kannywood will consume filming affairs in Nigeria.

How do you joggle your job as a film maker and your home front?
Alhamdulillah, I am blessed with a wonderful mother, sisters and brothers that are always there for me and ready to assist me whenever I need assistance.

Would you say there is any difference between filmmaking at present and what it was before?
Definitely yes. The environment is now enabling, we are beginning to see the light of the day. I foresee real success in this business. I pray for God’s guidance and protection.

What would you say makes you unique amongst your peers in Kannywood?
You know people differ in many aspects. In my capacity as a small-time producer, I would want people to know that my stories are unique, and inimitable, in the sense that they touch issues related to human interest that appeal to all ages. I don’t limit my scope on normal, ‘flat’ stories.
Our people need to be well informed, the society is full of numerous vices, strange things happen in our daily lives, so why can’t we find a way of addressing them? If you agree with me, filmmaking is one of the ways of disseminating information to people, in order to educate, enlighten and entertain them. We can use a medium like this to thwart all inter-tribal differences and foster religious tolerance to our communities, so as to allow peace reign.

What do you think helped your career blossom as much as it did? Do you think you have a rival?

A rival? Not at all. Rather, I have people that over the years have become more like family to me in the industry. I don't know what I would have done without their support and guidance.
Talking about my success, I think it is not yet uhuru, but you know, my mother and sisters are the secret behind my success.

Any regrets?

My only regret is that my father is not alive today to share this moment with me.

When you are not on set, what is your day like?
I have a couple of other activities. I am a very busy person, I have a project now on ground, which requires my attention. I am setting up an NGO.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done as a filmmaker?
Believing I could mix work and pleasure.

Without doubt, the industry has been lucrative, having strive so long and made your mark over the years, how wealthy would you say you are?
Alhamdulillah, I thank the Almighty God, I love what I am doing and I’m contented with what comes out of it.

It is generally believed that film makers or movie producers are flirts especially with actresses, do you do that too?

No, why? I don’t believe you. It is just a mere tittle-tattle, I don’t think my colleagues do that as well.

Is it true really that some producers/directors sexually harass actresses?
I have never encountered such behaviour. You should know that in any society, there are some few bad-aces who aim at tarnishing other people’s images. So even there are cases like this, I assure you they are just minorities.

Although, in the North, the industry is bound by some Shari'ah laws, have you had an experience where an actor tried you to seduce you to get roles?
(Laughter) Not even in my dreams...

It is very important because readers would want to know how you wriggled out of such situations.
That is if something like that ever happened. I ’ve never had that experience in all the years I’ve been in the Industry.

You mean if a handsome man, gives you the 'green light', you won't respond?

Here you are again! What do you want from me? (Laughter again) I have said it earlier, business is always business, ok! Personally, I am hooked up with someone, we adore each other and we try to avoid hurting one another.

Actors are usually associated with a lot of scandals, as a movie producer, have you been involved in any?
Twice, but that was a long time. Believe me, it is one of the things I bury deep inside me and hate to revisit.

How did you manage and overcome them the scandals?
Is not easy, but knowing deep inside me that I never and would never do what my enemies fabricated made me feel better deep inside me. Believe me, it is one of the things that made me strong mentally, emotionally and psychologically. That is what makes me ignore what people said, and it helped me move on in life and made me follow my heart’s desire, and I can now say, Zainab is truly a happy person.

You are now a single mother. Can we say you are searching for another suitor?

As a Muslim, I believe its just a matter of time. Ive been in a serious relationship since after the crash of my marriage, its only Allah that knows why we are not married up to now. But God knows best and we leave everything to Him.

Don’t you get pressured about your single status, despite your success?
Of course there are pressures, but as I said earlier, I have someone I love and believe he loves me too, and I can’t compare him with anyone.

Tell us about him.
Sorry I don’t discuss my love life in public (laughter).

Can you marry an actor?
If it is the wish of Allah Ta’ala.

What has filmmaking done for you?

I have been a happy person because I love what I am doing, I meet people. One of my most memorable moments was at the just concluded Terracota Awards 2010 in Lagos. I was given honour of presenting about seven distinguished awards. I feel highly honoured.

How do you see Kannywood now?
Kannywood is a child of necessity; with all the hardships, it is yet blossoming.

What are your dreams and aspirations?

My dream is to see Kannywood grow as strong as Hollywood.

What is your worst fear?
My worst fear is loosing my mother.

Who is your role model in the industry?
Late director, Tijjani Ibraheem.

What was your worst moment and your most memorable day since you ventured into the industry.
My worst moment is waking up to see someone from nowhere trying to destroy this giant industry, without the thought that it is the career of some people and their source of livelihood, due to their distorted understanding of the religion. One of my happiest moments the day my people decided to call a spade a spade, by standing to fight the wickedness and injustice mated out on us for years. That made me so happy. We must say no,and also fight for our rights.

How do you unwind?

I love to relax by reading and watching movies, and hanging out with friends.

What do you have to tell your fans across the globe?
I want to thank them for their support, and want to wish them Allah's Blessings and guidance.