Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Good Side Of An Unfortunate Incident


•Says FKD Productions imitates 2 Effects Empire and Ali Nuhu, not his rival

Sani Musa Danja is a top Kannywood star who has excelled in his acting career. He was the first Glo ambassador from northern Nigeria. He also anchored the artistes’ political movement when he launched his NGO, Nigerian Artistes In Support of Democracy (NAISOD), which cuts across all entertainment players in the country. Not only that, Danja is also a pop singer and lyricist. He is also a renowned film producer. In this exclusive interview with Al-Amin Ciroma, the 2-Effects Empire boss shared his sorrows on the unfortunate accident he had last year, his alleged rivalry with Ali Nuhu and many other issues.Excepts:

Let's start with a flash-back to the accident you had last year. Can you share with us the experience?
First and foremost, I give thanks to Almighty Allah who spared my life, but it was a terrible experience. When the accident occurred, I lost consciousness and was taken to hospital by some people that came around. However, I regained consciousness later due to pains resulting from my fractured legs and arm.

How did it happen? What was the last thing you can recall?
On that faithful day, I set out for Kano with the intention of reaching Maradi, and then to Zinder in Niger Republic to attend a meeting. From there, I planned to come back to Katsina and spent the night at Zamfara. That was my iteneraey for that day and I timed myself properly for that.
I was driving with a friend, Yusuf Dangote, from Niger Republic, when the accident happened. It was a in the afternoon and we had fastened our belts even before setting out for the journey. We were on normal speed, when suddenly we approached a long vehicle parked carelessly on the road although with a hazard sign. I slowed down to dodge it, but from the opposite direction, another car came racing at a top speed on the one way lane. I was shocked and, before I know it, I lost control of the vehicle and that was how the accident that left me with fractured arm and leg happened.

As an actor, did you feel it was just another 'action-packed movie' or a film trick waiting for the director's accent?
(Laughter) Like I told you, I was unconscious after the accident happened around 1 pm. I woke up around 9 pm, so I was unconscious for over seven hours. Therefore, it was beyond my imagination but thank God, I came out of it at last.

How was it like, spending over five months at home?
As a Muslim, I believe one has to accept ones destiny faithfully. I know God has something for me and probably that was the main reason why the incident happened. Once you have faith, God will see you through in any eventuality that may befall you. Those were trying times, but Alhamdulillah, I was able to scale through. However, the four months I spent at home also gave me much time to be with my family. Since I got married three years ago, I don't think I have spent up to two consecutive weeks with my wife at home due to my tight schedules. I equally used the time to watch some of my movies, which gave me the insight to see and identify some of my loopholes and Grey areas in acting.
While I was recuperating, I did some tour in some African countries like Ghana, Central Africa Egypt, including some Francophone countries to pay tributes to my fans and appreciate their goodwill and prayers for my recovery. Thereafter, I produced my first movie, Sai Na Dawo, believed to be one of the most successful Hausa movies of our time. Although,haven’t fully recovered, but I taught myself how to make it work and believe me, 'Sai Na Dawo,' remains one movie that made the highest box-office success within the first weeks of exhibition.

Can you tell us the most memorable -good and bad-moments in your acting career?
It is very hard to recount, but there was a time I visited Niger Republic. On our way, we stopped for a lunch in a village just before the city. People trooped in as usual to have a glimpse of us. I was holding a bottle of water when a group of young girls numbering between 20 and 30 approached me. One of them came directly to me and said, 'Please Danja, kindly let me drink this water.' I smiled at her because of her audacity. I therefore gave her another bottled water, but she refused and demanded for the one I was drinking from. Without any hesitation, I handed over the bottle to her. Before I knew what was going on, all of them came running and struggling to take a sip from the bottle of water. It really amazed me and I was like, am I that special...? I never thought people could appreciate us like that more especially in a country, other than my own.
Recounting memorable moments, however, could be a 'visceral choice.' I mean, it's like a scene in a movie. What I mean here is that an artiste is just like an 'ace in a hole,' always trying to make himself relevant and up-to-date in making sure he satisfies both his producer and the teeming audience, but the end, people call us names. Movie business, especially in the North is still suffering series of criticisms, despite all efforts put together by the filmmakers.
However, it suffices to state that this industry has gone a long way in identifying and addressing many societal ills and menace. You can hardly watch a movie that has zero aim in creating awareness or enlightening people on a particular issue. So people should at least appreciate our effort. You can't expect everybody to be like you, we have our divergent backgrounds, but as a team, the Hausa Movie Industry is always on the fore front in producing movies that aim at restoring peace and correcting vices. In general perspective, movies ought not to have any language barrier. You can shoot a film in Swahili language and it will appeal to a Fulani man, for example. Therefore, my experience as an actor, singer and producer has been a huge help to me in terms of trends in this profession.
So when you ask me to share with you my memorable and worst moments, I think, I would rather re-frame the question to say what are our major challenges? And these are our major challenges in this profession.

Let's talk about your stardom. You and Ali Nuhu are believed to be strong pillars in the Hausa Film Industry. How is your relationship now because there are rumours that you two are no longer on good terms?
(Laughter) Yeah, certainly some rumour mongers are busy going about with insinuations like that, but I can assure you Ali Nuhu and myself are good friends and colleagues. You see, sometimes, people judge from what they see in the movies. We took rival roles in movies and an actor suppose to deliver his/her roles and get perfect characterisation. So when we give our best in the movies acting as rivals, people jump into the conclusion that Sani Danja and Ali Nuhu are enemies in reality. Secondly, our fans also contribute in fueling the arguments. And since both of us have our independent production firms; Ali is the Chief executive officer of 'FKD' productions, while I manage '2 Effects Empire'. So it is a game thing like when you have heated debate between the fans of say Manchester United and Arsenal or Real Madrid and Barcelona football club sides. In all ramifications, we are in good terms.
What could also fuel such insinuations may be how both of us go about our movie production. It was after we produced our movie, Sai Na Dawo, that FKD Productions produced Sai Wata Rana, and again, I produced a movie, Khadijatul-Iman, where I featured my daughter, and they in turn produced Carbin Kwa, which featured Ali's son, Ahmed. Our fans could wrongly deduce from all these that we are enemies or rivals, but professionally, we are competitors. There was also another competition between us on Glo ambassadorship. I was the only artiste contracted from the North before Ali joined me and later others. Again, while Ali made a name in Nollywood, I am equally making waves to the extent of receiving award in the same industry.

Is the relationship between the filmmakers and Kano State government still shaky?
From inception, they had no good intention. They staged war against us and did not mean good to us. There was a faction of the filmmakers who joined the aspirations of censors' board, but at the end of the day, they had to decline. You can imagine the recent scandal that involved the man who staged war against us. It was really indecent for such a public figure to involve himself in sex scandal with a minor. Remember, they were on the front accusing us of lewd and immoral behaviour, but you know God is wonderful. He has truly answered our prayers and yearnings. It is now left for the society to judge who is the righteous amongst the two groups. This is actually an 'egg on the face!

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