Few years back and may be still now if you talk of a movie, the first thing that comes to mind is the actors, not the producer, screenwriter or most important of all, the director. We are so consumed with the optimism of watching the movies that we fast-forward the beginning where the crew is being written. Actors take the credit when a movie does well and the blame when it does otherwise. Many people don’t know or forget the fact that movie making is a team work, and for every team to be successful there must be a leader or captain.
Director is the undisputed captain of movie making. He organises the actors, crew, and camera angle amongst other thing. He shapes the story and gives it a meaning, bringing it out like reality.
When you mention the word director to a hollywood follower, the first thing that will come to his mind is James Cameron, who many people consider the best in the world. Watch “Titanic”, “Terminator” or “Avatar” and you will agree with that. In Bollywood we have the legendary Yash Chopra (late) who spent his entire life directing movies in a hit after hit basis (Daar, Dil To Pa Gal Hai, Veer Zaara, Jab Tak Hai Jaan etc) and when you talk of Nollywood there is Andy Amenechi (Royal Palace), Andy Chukwu ( Ripp Off), Tade Ogidan (Dangerous Twins) and more recently Ikechukwu Onyeka.
In our own Kannywood, during it’s early years, very few people knew what a director is or what he even does. Take for example Yakubu Lere’s 1999 blockbuster, Wasila, all the credits went to the actors (Ali Nuhu and Wasila Ismail), without the recognition of the master efforts of Ishaq Sidi Ishaq who directed the movie. Take also Sangaya, the credits all went to Ali Nuhu, Late Hauwa Ali Dodo and Fati Muhammad without recognizing the work of Aminu Muhammad Sabo. Take Mujadala as well, Late Ahmad S Nuhu took all the credits to the extent that people still don’t know the person that directed it (Late Tijjani Ibrahim).
As movie making becomes more and more familiar with Kannywood followers, people are now beginning to appreciate the role of a director, and once you mention that word to any follower of the industry now the first person that comes to his mind is Aminu Saira. He needs no further introduction. He’s the pioneer revolutionist of today’s Kannywood.
At the time when kannywood was at a point of total collapse due to production of senseless movies that only casted many actors singing, dancing and praising themselves, I came across a movie called “Rayuwata” which starred Ali Nuhu and Ibrahim Maishunku. I was so amazed that a movie like that could actually be made in Kannywood at that time. After watching the movie, I made sure I checked who the director was, I saw a strange name called Aminu Saira. I wasn’t optimistic at first because that was how another directorial talent Ashiru Nagoma started before he switched himself to camping and starring hundreds of actors with no particular role in a single movie. I then saw “Almajira” and it was still that Aminu Saira, I started getting optimistic but still not raising my hopes high. Soon the Hiyana scandal erupted and Kannywood became like a dead and buried industry for almost two years.
When the industry was recovering around middle of 2009, I came across a movie called “Garin Mu Da Zafi”, a movie that touched the heart of many Kannywood fans. It was so organized that I couldn’t found a fault in it, guess what? It was still that same name Aminu Saira. Then I became fully optimistic and hopeful that Kannywood would be revolutionalized. Soon came the blockbuster “Jamila Da Jamilu” a movie I have watched more than I could count due to it’s uniqueness, it was Aminu Saira who wrote and directed it, Aminu Saira’s movies were everywhere in the market. People were no longer buying films that were not directed by him.
Aminu Saira had became a household name by 2010 with hits like “Ladidin Baba”, “Mai Gadon Zinare” and his all time favourite “Ga Duhu Ga Haske”, the movie I learnt inspired a non-muslim to convert to Islam. There was no looking back since then, he continued to write and direct hits on daily basis under his production label Saira movies and his friend, Nazifi Asnanic’s Asnanic Movietone.
Aminu saira also ensured the revival of many Kannywood’s production houses that were long forgotten, most notably Abubakar A S Mai Kwai’a TMA production and Umar K/Mazugal’s UK Entertainment. He directed TMA’s “Ina Mijina” and 2011 biggest blockbuster (and in my opinion the best royal movie in Kannywood to date) “Sarauta”. Since then TMA (later Mai Kwai movies) has being one of the biggest production houses in Kannywood based on number of movies produced per year.
Aminu saira did not stop at directing alone, he continue to mentor young and aspiring directors that are today making waves in Kannywood (Ali Gumzak, Kamal S Alkali, Yaseen Auwal, Aminu S Bono) all graduated from his school of directing. Talk of actors? We all know Sadiq Sani Sadiq was introduced to Kannywood by Ali Nuhu but everyone knows he would not have been successful today without the unrivalled opportunities he received by Aminu saira. Same goes to Jamila Nagudu, the lady he casted in almost all his movies (together with Ibrahim Maishunku) between 2009 and 2011. Aminu saira also directed the most expensive Kannywood movie to date “Dan Marayan Zaki” which was shot in many countries and took over seven month to produce. That movie is faultless, the costume, set design, language, everything.
There are many things about Aminu Saira’s directing that distinguished him from many other directors in the industry, he does not direct for financial gain instead he uses passion as a driven force. Aminu Saira does not work on a script that has no good screenplay; he makes sure his scripts are screened by professional writers who know what literature is all about (Ibrahim Birniwa, Yakubu M Kumo, Nasir Gwangwazo). He does not rush to make a movie, I learnt he makes a lot of researches and consult scholars, historians and literary icons before proceeding to shoot. He knows how make a simple story look so unique and dramatized (Watch Fisabilillah), he knows how to solve cases that are prevalent in our society (watch Lamiraj), he knows how to unravel family issues (watch Umarni), the list is endless.
Aminu saira is a revolutionist, an inspirer, a role model and mentor. That’s why he will remain the best director that has come out of many Kannywood for many years.
He is set release a movie DAGA NI SAI KE that is said to be among his distinctive works.
By:Bashar Abubakar Sadeeq