. It is obvious that Sani Musa Danja is one of the most popular kannywood actors of all time, Kannywoodscene’s Nura Abubakar seized thirty minutes opportunity to interviewed him One on One at Emerald Suites Gombe. Here is the conversation between the two.>>>
KS: First of all we’ll like to welcome you to Gombe; secondly we want to know what actually brought you here sir?
Danja: Thank you very much. I’m here for an album launch and also on business trip.
KS: It’s obvious that you’ve featured in some Nollywood movies before and recently is revealed that you are going to feature in some. What can you said about that?
Danja: Well, uhm I featured in so many Nollywood movies or English movies and very soon I think most of them will start coming out one by one. There are some that the premier have already started, everywhere. It has been announced on twitter, facebook and other communication networks, there are some that are already in the cinemas. The reason why I feel is necessary to be in Nollywood movies is just to, as in to understand what they’ve been doing and also for those people that didn’t understand Hausa to have a kind of another portion where they can stay on, though we use English subtitles in our own (Hausa) movies so that other people that don’t understand Hausa can go through it. Sometimes you have to go extra miles to do something that will suit so many people that you are not in touch with, is very important. So that is the reason why I ventured into Nollywood movies.
KS: Sir, can you mention the Nollywood movies you have featured in?
Danja: There is ODIMILI, this one is not yet on cinemas, but there is BLUE FLAMES is already in cinemas, I also have LOST, TWIN RIVERS and so many of them. I think I’ve about twenty plus. But the recent ones none of them is out, I have the ones that are out, like THE BLACK BEAR, IDI -AMEEN, SNAKE MEN and the rest. This time around people would be seeing a lot of English-English.
KS: As someone who experienced acting in both Kannywood and Nollywood what are the differences or what can you say the difference between Kannywood and the Nollywood industry?
Danja: The difference is being original, when we talk of Kannywood is more original as in kind of culture oriented movies whereby you’ll see what we wore as the culture permit, costumes, the kind of language we speak and also the setting and many more. We’ve a kind of setting and when you look at it is just a life of an African man. But the difference between, mostly, though I know the Nollywood do have a setting that is a kind of local setting and all that, though is English but mostly you see in the Nollywood is not original – they talk like oyinbo they just talk like how the Whiteman do, even the kind of structure in the family would be a kind of a Whiteman setting. May be a boy would have his own room; a girl would talk to her mother any how she wanted, a kind of westernized something if you like. This is not something that belongs to us. I know they do have movies that belong to us, but most of their movies portray these kinds of things. Also the time taking in shooting a Nollywood movies and a Kannywood movies differs, though sometimes we do have some kind of relation in terms of directing and all that, but then we still have a sense of belonging, this is why we are trying to bridge all these gaps.
KS: If you look at the way Kannywood are using modern facilities and equipments, what can you say is the level of Kannywood in terms of development compared to Nollywood?
Danja: Ahhh the thing is, now we have a kind of more or less like a global world. If you talk of equipments, equipments are everywhere and everybody can afford very special equipment. I think the problem we are facing is not affording it, but the people to handle it, the professionalism, you have to get the professionals who can operate it successfully. Somebody can afford to buy very sophisticated equipment, very nice equipment, but for you to get someone that would at least know how to operate and mount it properly this is where we are having problem. You know we can afford to have all these, there are a lot of takumbo around, and we can get fairly used. You know sometimes people even prepare to buy the fairly used than the new ones. So in terms of that we are upgraded, both the Kannywood and Nollywood are upgraded. But Nollywood are having a lot of advantages, like going to premiers, showing their movies in the cinemas nationwide or worldwide because their movies are in English and English is now a global language. Kannywood have their limitations, there are boundaries that we cannot cross. For instance, unless you understand the language, nobody would watch a movie that he/she don’t understands the language, again not everyone would like to be reading subtitle. So Nollywood have these advantages. I even heard that they sell rights – American right, UK right, Asian right and more. With these they make more money. Those people that buy rights is because they understand the language, though we have Hausa movies fans even in America we have Nigerians in diasporas, they cherish us, they want to watch our movies, most especially if they are outside the country because they miss home and the only thing that reminds them home is our movies, so that they watch their environment and hear their language and so many things. Mostly those people that live in U.S, Europe or UK with their family, they want their kids to be watching the movies and listening to the language (Hausa) so that they won’t forget and the kids would become so attached to the movies in the sense that they always like to watch.
KS: You are top kannywood actor and a musician as well, how do you manage to achieve success in both?
Danja: The main thing is I started as a musician at the age of twelve, we have a band called “The Young Kiddies” we are five, three adults and two kids, I am part of the two kids. It was a kind of musical group – you know people tend to like what’s really happening, like during the day of TLC you would see a lot of girls and guys saying we are this and that and from that time on, I have been with the group for like 2 to 3 years then I broke up with the group to set my own label and continue the singing and singing aspect till the time when kannywood movies started. The marketers tend to like look at what I was doing and said may be I am gonna make it in some part of the movie thing. So they came to me and told me about it, which I refused initially, but later on I agreed and join the movie industry. Because if you looked at the kannywood is a movie music thing, always have movie going with the music, so I found it very easy to fit because I’m already in it. I only need a little to add and then as you can all see, anywhere in the part of the world most musicians are very good actors. Somebody that writes song always have a kind of idea, how he is going to sell the idea to the people is something that can mould everything in a kind of message – somebody would write a whole book trying to pass a single message, while a musician can pass same message in a five minutes. In just five minutes of a song you can send a message and everybody would understand it. So I found it very easy when I came to the industry.
KS: Sir, you were once a chairman Kannywood actors’ guilt or actors association.
KS: Are you still in that position?
Danja: Yes am still in that position.
KS: So what are the successes or what do you want to achieve or what did you achieved so far?
Danja: Uhh we achieved a lot of successes and one of the major success we achieved – first of all trying to change people perception towards the industry, towards the people that are already in the industry as in the actors and actresses, if you look at Northern part of the country most of the people thought the actors are wayward, a kind of useless people to the society, immediately when I assumed office that was the first thing I started focussing on, trying to send message to people, which we went round to the hospitals, to orphanage and so many places looking for people that don’t have money to pay for hospitals bills, so with these things people started appreciating us and began to change their perception toward us. I could remember when I was newly in office something came up in Niger Republic – there was a kind of hunger and drought we had a concert, we did a sung like “we are the world” we got some money and through the show/concert I arranged, I composed the song and I called all the people – the musicians around which we went to Royal Tropicana, we gathered huge amount of money, we bought food to the charity, we donated it to Niger Republic. After that, we were trying to make a kind of linkage where we have other states that are not functioning when it comes to movies, states like Gombe, Katsina. And we were successful, we have many people, though we are not much enough, but at least a bit broad. So it is not going to be something of Kannywood (kano) alone. We’ve a lot of unemployment; we always encourage filmmaking to reduce the level of unemployment in the region and the country as a whole.
KS: We have watched the trailer of some of your movies like SANI NAKESO, SO DA SO, GABAR CIKIN GIDA and the rest. Can you compare all these with GANI GAKA? Do you think they are going to be much better or what?
Danja: You know once you made a movie you want to do another one and the one you are going to do must be or has to be better than the previous because, it is the kind of way in which people rated whether you are improving or not. So GANI GAKA is a movie that ahh…. is very aah 100% accepted, the people involved and the cast, but the subsequent films we’ve now is when they are released, it would amaze people. There are so many things that are very unique in GANI GAKA, like the costumes, this is something that we specialized on, we are best at it (costumes) something that is in the nature of our company. When you talk of 2Effects we go extra-miles spending money, sometimes we go outside the country to produce some of the movies. Countries like UK, US and Dubai just to get what we want. We are not competing with our other counterparts, but trying to prove that Kannywood has reached a certain level of producing standard and qualitative movies to global standard. Sometimes we spent money without knowing the exact figure/amount. We just want to make sure that it is a qualitative one and maintain the standard at the same time. Everybody in the industry knows that when it comes to quality or when it comes to money spending, or when it comes to doing what is supposed to be done there is no company to be compared with us. Why because we are not just for profit making, but to project the language, to project our own culture, project Hausa community and movie and language at the same time to spread it to other part of the world whereby people would appreciate how we do it. Yes!
KS: Yakubu Muhammad is your friend and colleague, he is a singer and all of a sudden he ventured into acting, although he once said that he’ll not venture into acting. What do you think inspired him to acting now?
Danja: Yeah, the thing is aahh 70 to 80% of those who want to join film industry they want to become actors, we don’t see the directing, we don’t see the props, we don’t see make-up, but what we always see is just the people that acted and at the end of the movie you’d see directed by so so person, cinematography by this and that. All those people that make effort to make the movie a movie we don’t see them, we only see the actors. So the actors carry everything, if the movie is good, the actor is praised – nobody talk about the director, nobody talk about other people behind cameras, if the movie is bad then the actor is finished. So the thing is when you come to the industry find something even more good than the acting. Anybody that comes to the industry is the actors that inspired him. I want to act, this actor is this, I’m a fan of so so actor, and I don’t like that actor, bla bla bla. This is the first impression, it drew your attention. Now when you are into it, later you changed or switched to scriptwriting, directing, cinematographer or any kind of guilt in the movie industry, you will communicate with the actors. If you are writing a script, once you pick your pen and paper you will start imagining that so so actor will fit so so role, or you need somebody that is new or what have you. Gradually doing that may be when you are directing a movie the actors might not satisfy you or may not give you what you really want. I think we have one of the best directors in the world, is also an actor at the same time, he even writes scripts. When you writes a script and gives it to somebody, his understanding and perception of the script would be different from you the writer and if the third person read it, he too would have a different thought. So, when you wrote a script and you are going to direct that very script, you’ll be in a better position to transmit what you really need. For instance, let’s assume we are in a big parlor; a perception of someone’s big parlor might be different from yours. Therefore, a person that wrote a script may be in a better position to give what he thinks is right. So, all these kind of things can make somebody moves from this direction to another direction, it can make a script writer to became a director. The same thing may happen to the director and the actor as well. It can happen anywhere, any industry, be it Hollywood, Bollywood and the rest. I think these are the reason that dragged him (Yakubu Muhammad) to acting. Yeah!
KS: Let me ask this question about the uniqueness of your costumes, do you have special tailor or designer or what?
Danja: Uhh I do have, I have people that sew my clothes within and outside the country. I have some from Dublin, some from UK, US, India and the rest. I have so many of them and I always want to like design something unique, this is what made up of the world, see something and you don’t see it again. That is the uniqueness, if you wear it today next day you wear another one. I have rooms of clothes, because whenever I used a particular outfit in a show that’s the end of it, no matter how expensive and good or nice it is that’s just it. This is what I always do, that’s part of the business. I have an album called MAI FARIN JINI – in that particular album there is a song – Aure I produced and used ten different kinds of wedding dresses, whereby if you see it hmmm! I just want people to copy from it. This is just the starting point; we’ve more of it to come. Many people want gown suits, I want to throw something nice for people to copy. This is why I want to go into other peoples’ activities like marriage and showcase some good designs for them to copy.
KS: finally, what can you say to your fans and what should they be expecting from you and 2Effects?
Danja: Uhmm my fans, uhhh I know anybody that is a member or a fan of 2Effects, you know we’ll not let you down and you should always be expecting new things where you don’t even expect. Our movies are still on the process. I also wish my fans success wherever they are.
KS: Thank you so much!