Kannywood Movie Review: There’s a Way

God bless the dichotomy between the rich and the poor, or as the socialists call it: the gap between the lower, the bourgeoisies and the upper classes. If it did not exist, the arts would, perhaps, have to invent one for stories to have conflict, upon which many films, novels, dramas, etc rely to intrigue us. This has been the trend since the Victorian Age, or before, with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist down to Femi Osofisan’s Marxist-influenced plays, and so on and so forth. Class consciousness is sadly here to stay with us.

Hausa film industry is equally not short of films based on this global theme. There’s a Way is just another addition to that archive, though in a new style: its language is no longer the ‘local’ Hausa one but the global English. This is one of the reasons why I had to preview the film prior to its release.

As I said in the preview, numerous Hausa films are flagrantly, poorly subtitled in wrong English. The subtitles oftentimes serve a contrary purpose: those with little or no grasp of Hausa language end up puzzled. The shoddy subtitles also expose the educational level of the people in the industry, and by and large, their region. Worse still, the actors, in other times, use ‘Eng-ausa’, a hotchpotch English-Hausa code-switching and mixing. But all that will soon be a history with the emergence of the second (Wasila [English version] is actually the first ever, but that was done more than a decade ago) Kannywood film in ‘Standard’ English language.

(Warning: this section contains spoilers)
There’s a Way does not only present the lower and upper classes struggle; the predatory nature of some university dons is equally bared. As a token, the women issue is not left untouched, thus it is used to set the story afloat. The film opens from a court scene where a woman, abused by her husband, is questioned by the judge. The husband allegedly forces her to abort pregnancies six times. Isham (Nuhu Abdullahi), as a secondary student, witnesses the hearing and becomes interested to study Law in order to assist the poor such as the wife who is evidently harmed. His dream is not meant to be realized easily.

After failing his exams at least twice, Isham, a curious boy from a poor family does not have money to register at a “miracle centre”, where candidates register for exams and “nobody ever fails”. He someday accompanies his friend to the centre and mistakenly bumps into Fadila (Hajara Jalingo), whose father gives her a hundred thousand naira (N100, 000) to register at the centre. The ‘accident’ is love at first sight. Days, perhaps months, pass, and then destiny brings them together as students of the same university. While her father every so often warns her against mingling with anyone from poor family, Isham and his two siblings are orphans raised by their sick mother.

As expected, Fadila’s father, Alhaji Mahdi (Sani Mu’azu) someday finds out that she has invited Isham to the house, though with the consent of her mother. He blasts them and chases Isham out. He asks his old friend, Dr. Bello (Umar Malumfashi), a lecturer at Isham’s university, to find ways to punish him. Coincidently, Dr. Bello is already at loggerhead with Isham over a protest the latter organizes against the sale of handout. Unknown to Alhaji, however, is that his friend has once tried to sleep with his daughter. Finally, Isham is framed and subsequently expelled. He is soon consoled and offered a sponsorship by Fadila to study in any southern Nigerian university he can get admitted into.

Alhaji Mahdi tries to marry Fadila off to her cousin whom he fosters at his house and sends abroad for studies. She rebuffs. Isham returns and his relationship with Fadila is soon rejuvenated. The lady Dr. Bello used in framing Isham asks him for her payment. He refuses and thus she threatens to expose him. And, in the final scene, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) arrests Alhaji Mahdi for an undisclosed crime.

But for a few slips, I would rate the film 4 out of 5. It goes with something a little bit below that score. The blunders responsible for this discredit include the use of pretentious lines in some scenes like where Fadila and Isham first meet. Although it is meant to express love, the language is too flowery and such is barely used for verbal communication. Go and watch even the BBC productions, and you will never come across something similar. This beside, the film breaks a new ground as the first (or second, if you like) Kannywood film completely rendered in English. The grammar is virtually faultless save only in some instances in the subtitle.

All the casts try their best possible in internalizing their lines. It is only the character of El-Mustapha who speaks quite unnaturally. Moreover, the same voice of supposedly the executive producer of the film is used at least three times, by different characters. The dubbing could have been better and more lip-synched had the casts tried even if their English is not polished as such.

And lastly, although Light and Darkness, another film to be released by the same company, is said to be the sequel to There’s a Way, the resolution of the story is at best hanging and at worst outrageous. Having just a sleepless night over a threat, which could be empty, by the lady Dr. Bello hires to frame his victims is so much insufficient as a punishment to him. The same goes to Alhaji Mahdi; his arrest by the EFCC says so little after all his humiliation and sheer disgust of the poor.

The film is about the endurance of the human spirit, true love and the exposition of some social vices in our societies and schools. No doubt, it was technically carefully shot; the cinematography is almost spotless. The lighting appropriately fits the ambiance. The casts, as mentioned earlier, perform very well, especially Isham and the debutant, Fadila, among others. This credit must be shared among all the crew with the director, Falalu Dorayi and the executive producer, Kabiru Jammaje taking plump shares.

Written by:
Muhsin Ibrahim,
Bayero University, Kano
Email: muhsin2008@gmail.com
Twitter: @muhsin234


Kannywood Stars Share New Year Resolution 

It’s 2017,  and as a common New Year traditions, most people make make vows to accomplish one or two goals or resolve to change an undesired trait or behavior in their lives. We’ve asked Kannywood stars to tell us their new year resolution…. 

Ali Nuhu… “Boosting the marketing wings of FKD Productions”

Nafisat Abdullahi… “Marriage….. ”

Yakubu Muhammad… ” I’ll stop thinking too much and avoid anything that will keep me away from positivity ”

Rahama Sadau…“Spend more time with people that matter, doing what matters.” 

Nuhu Abdullahi…” Overcome a fear, be sincere about punctuality and commitments”

Baballe Hayatu… “May peace and happiness be with everybody. May peace reign and recession be a thing of the past in Nigeria. May Kannywood business boom in 2017.

By: Ibrahim Umar Bello 

Twitter :@aaramz

Movie Review – HIJIRA

Director: Iliyasu Abdulmumini Tantiri
Producer: Naziru Dan Hajiya
Story: Iliyasu Abdulmumini Tantiri
Language: Hausa
Year: 2016
Company: Kumo Production


The Hijra (migration/exodus) of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions from Makkah to Madinah is an epoch in the history of Islam. It is featured notably in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Although the Prophet was born and raised in Makkah and had preached for many years there, persecution forced him along with the few that believed him to migrate. The Islamic Hijri calendar began from that time. The choice of the title for the film cannot be unconnected to the Prophet’s Hijra.

Oftentimes, the bond between cinema and the orthodox religious and cultural institutions is marked by disquiet. Many people reject film, seeing it as a subtle way to debase their religion and culture. Presentations of bedroom scene, or virtually anything denoting sex or other tabooed subjects, for instance, are still frown at in Kannywood. Several filmmakers are, therefore, relentless in their efforts to counter this argument, to correct the (mis)conception. Some have gone far and recently adapted the famous story of As-Habul Kahfi (The Seven Sleepers) from the Qur’an. There are quite a number of other films meant for Islamic evangelism. The epic drama, Hijira is arguably one of such.

Plot Summary
The film is a mixture of a quite romantic comedy and adventure. It begins from a scene of mass burial of the victims of an infectious plague that ravages the village of Madaci. As they bury some corpses, more are brought forward. The King calls for an emergency meeting. There is disagreement as to whether to stay in the town or leave. The Chief Imam is of the opinion that everyone should remain, basing his point with the Islamic injunction that says when there is a an outbreak of plague in a land, nobody should enter it; and if the plague breaks out in a place one lives in, do not leave. The King accepted this, thus goes, along with other chiefs, to address the townspeople.

While addressing the townspeople, a member of the village, Bala comes with a sad story that the plague has finished ravaging the neighboring villages and has spread to Madaci. Asked how he came to know about that, he said he is from there and has seen corpses all around. He is thus instructed to stay back; he refuses. The Sarkin Yaki (i.e. Chief Guard) kills him. The remains of Bala is said to be very deadly as it should not be touched by anyone, and its decomposition will equally harm all. The King, therefore, has a quick change of mind and, there and then, declares the start of the exodus.

The execution of Bala is a can of worms. His mother vows to avenge him by imploring his choleric brother, Zubabu to slay Sarkin Yaki whenever and however he gets a chance. Other conflicts include the thievish and snobbish nature of the Prince; the love triangle between Rabo and Chiko where both love Saratu, a beautiful girl who is betrothed to the latter. An acerbic, old man called Baba Manga, on the other side, openly objects the exodus and fearlessly criticizes the King.

As the migration begins, mistrust, rancor, conflict, artificial and natural disasters envelop the migrants. A group of bandits launches a fatal attack on them. Chiko murders Rabo. Saratu avenges her heartthrob by getting married to Chiko only to stab him to death on their first night. The Prince poisons the King, takes charge and sacks Sarkin Yaki. Zubabu challenges Sarkin Yaki in a physical combat and loses. Terrible epidemic and deadly spirits descend on the other migrants, and kill many. Gambo, the town’s physician tries his best possible but to no avail. Finally, the remaining few reach a town but its border guards deny them entry. Famine and wild animals devour them, including the Sarkin Yaki. Only a single child, the narrator of the story, survived.

The star-studded film, Hijira was apparently a big project, planned in a span of months or more, and carefully directed and produced. The casting largely fits, the narrative sequentially connected, the mise en scene presented well, and so on and so forth. The filmmakers and the actors of Hijira can’t be easily forgotten in the film industry. As with any film, nay, everything else, Hijira has some imperfections.

For instance, the story is told through an omniscient point of view, but in the end a narrator (a different point of view called restricted) is introduced. The narrator should have said at least a line from the beginning, to let spectators know that the film is actually a narration. Likewise, the makeup and the special effects leave much to be desired. First, you cannot have all the victims of a war with wounds on their neck or head only and no any other part of their bodies. Second, the scene where some spirits descend on the migrants looks so much artificial.

Other contextual mistakes include the mass grave scene. The people burying the dead use their bare hands. The least experienced person knows that the remains of the victims of any contagious disease are not touched with uncovered hands. This, even in the film, is soon contradicted as the Madaci townspeople are cautioned to not have any body contact with anyone infected with the disease. This is, in fact, the reason why they had to migrate, to run as far away as they can from the dead body of Bala.

From the religious perspective, the character of Gambo betrays the possible idea of the film. Doubtless, it is a common practice among the traditional doctors to use incantation and invocation, showing Gambo doing the same is incongruous. His medicine should be Islamic-compliant to corroborate the points already highlighted by the character of the chief imam who uphold the virtues of Muslims.

The trio of forced marriage, gender rivalry, and singing and dancing are the usual elements of Kannywood films. Hijira, however, defy this straitjacketing by avoiding all the three, for the aim is to proselytise Islam and to caution the faithful on the adherence to the Prophet’s sayings. There have been similar films before it such as Ga Duhu Ga Haske (dir. Aminu Saira, 2011), Yankin Imani (dir. Imran S.I Ashir, 2013), Ana Muslim (dir. Abubakar S. Shehu, 2014), and, above all, As-Habul Kahf (dir. Aminu Saira, 2013). Yet, none is without song and dance – the practice generally condemned as caricaturing Hindi cinema – as Hijira is. Apparently, both the precepts of Hausa culture and Islam are considered and safeguarded in addition to the film’s being very likely original. Therefore, the few content and technical lapses cannot take away all its other credits. The film is by and large worth your naira. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Reviewed by:
Muhammad Muhsin Ibrahim,
Dept. of Theatre and Performing Arts
Bayero University, Kano; muhsin2008@gmail.com

From: muhsin.in

Call For Entries To The 2016 AMMA Awards Season 4

The organizers of AMMA Awards,  CEMS Nigeria, is annoucing the call for entries in to the Amma Awards 2016.
Organized each year since 2013, The Arewa Music and Movie Awards is aimed at celebrating the outstanding achievements of Arewa talent in movie, music, TV and Radio.

New awards  like the Best Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay and Short Film were introduced under the movie category in the fourth season of the award to comply with the International standard. Rookie artist of the year, Music Producer roots and contemporary are the new awards under the music category. 

The fourth season will award artist in 45 categories, 24 categories for movie, 13 for music and 8 people’s choice category meant for online vote.

Awards will also be given to the best entertaining programs on television and radio as well as media stations who offered great support to AMMA from from it’s inception  in 2016.

Entries in movies,  music or any project must be original or professionally adopted. Production companies, Artist and producers wishes to participate  should pick their entry forms at Aisha Discounted Electronics,  No. 4 Zoo Road, Opposite First Bank, Kano. 

MADADI  Audition Gives You The Chance To Become an Actor 

Do you want to become an actor? Well, here’s your chance to become one. Capital Visions will audition for their upcoming Hausa TV series MADADI. The audition is open to anyone who wants to participate. 

All you have to do is click on MADADI AUDITION and register. 

The audition will hold on the 26th-27th of November. 

Q&A With Nafisa Abdullahi

You were off social media recently, what have you been doing?

I’ve been working on my new Boutique, it’s finally open but not officially tunda a lot of things are still coming in. 
You talk about no sisterhood in the industry after Rahma debacle, care to add something on that?  
I was clearly misunderstood,I’m not saying what happened to her was good..actually the decision was too harsh.. But it’s still none of my business 

Zee Zee responded to you,  have you seen it? 
I’ve forgotten who that person is, so truly I haven’t seen anything about what she has to say, is she an artist too?

What’s Moppan to you? 

Ermm that’s a tough question, but I’ll just say they’re an organization who are trying to do good by the industry 

Is Maryam Booth your best friend in the industry now?  We’ve been seeing your pictures a lot on instagram lately 

Lol, we have a lot of joint businesses right now, so you’ll see us more often than before..she knows how to do business 

Are you in relationship with Nazir Ahmad Hausawa (@Ziriums)? 

Ahhahaha! Chaii, kuma? No!! Ziriums is a very dear friend to me,and I cherish that friendship 

Is Ibrahim Shehu (@ibrhym) your friend too, now? 

Lol!  Ibrahim will always be special… We’re more like a family now.

Why is there so much speculation about your relationship? 

Haha I guess it’s because I’ve been Silent for a long time now and people don’t really know what’s going on with me 
So what’s on your plate right now?

My new film Project!!!

Describe your dreamboy 
Someone who puts everything about me first! someone who deeply loves my family….and I’ve found that person♥️♥️♥

And who’s that lucky person? 

I’ll allow everyone to keep speculating kawai 

Are you commitment-phobic? 
No…I am fully committed to any relationship I’m in

Do you have any phobia?
Fear of heights and water….as in ruwa sosai bawai Na pool ba

One thing people have wrong about you?
That I’m so egocentric 

What do you love about being an actress?
That I’m always surrounded by talented and inspiring people…thats what I love

One role you wish you could have done

Honestly, I don’t know! Maybe a role of a badass tomboy girl 

How do you react when your co-star flirts with you?
Don’t get me wrong, but I go with the flow…it’s just flirting right? no harm in that

If you were to bump into your ex when you’re with your current boyfriend… what would you do? 
I would say hi,introduce them both and move on with whatever it is I’m doing.

What’s the craziest thing you have done in love?
Tried to jump out of a moving vehicle😂😂😂..that’s so crazy,been thinking of why I wanted to do that😂ever since

Can we say that right now you are in a very happy space personally and professionally?
Isn’t that obvious?😂💕yes I am very happy and I thank God for everthing🙏

Is there any woman who inspires you a lot?

Yes!!!it has to be Deepika Padukone

Friendship to you is…
Sacrificing you happiness to stay in it.

If one song could describe your life, which one would it be?

‘RISE’ by Katty perry

Favourite romantic song…

Autumn leaves…Chris Brown ft Kendrick Lamar

Do you enjoy wearing own make-up?

It’s a 60/40 for me….I do makeup but I prefer me without makeup 

What garment makes you feel ‘body confident’?

You might be surprised but I feel very comfortable in a gown (abaya).

Which colleague inspires you the most when it comes to style? 
Ali Nuhu.

Describe yourself in five words 
I can only give 2…..stubborn and simple

Which football team do you support? 

Real Madrid

Do you belong to the Kitchen, Living Room and The Other Room? 

Hahahah 😂😂hell no….at least for now

By: Ibrahim Umar Bello 

Email: iubello50@gmail.com

Twitter : @aaramz


Akon,  Jeta Amata Invite Rahama Sadau To Hollywood 

Popular singer Akon and Jeta Amata have invited Rahama Sadau to visit their film set in Los Angeles, California, where they are working on a project which will take them to Senegal, South Africa and Nigeria in December. 

Considered one of the most successful filmmakers to come out of West Africa after his first work went global he produced a documentary film for the BBC in 2003. The producer of Alexa Affair, Amazing Grace and Black November posted in his twitter feed that he’s looking forward to seeing Rahama in Hollywood.