Maryam Yahaya: From Grass to Grace 

Maryam Yahaya

She may or may not remember the date, but the day and the name Mansoor are hard to be forgotten. Maryam Yahaya’s first major role as an actress was in the movie titled Mansoor, from an FKD production. It was on the 19th of December 2016 when an actress, Balkisu Shema, who was supposed to play the lead role didn’t show up on time for an unknown reason; therefore, the man in charge – Ali Nuhu – decided to go ahead as planned. Without wasting much time, Maryam Yahaya was auditioned and got the lead role. It wasn’t as easy as I just said it, for many things had happened before Maryam’s status completely changed from an ordinary back-up artist to a superstar.

As usual, like all other Kannywood movies’ sets, it began with an opening prayer from one of the assistant directors, Alfazazee Muhammad. Right before that, I noticed how everyone else came to the set, using different mobilities from different locations within and outside Kano. People like Alfazazee, Umar M. Sharrif, and co came from Kaduna; myself came all the way from Gombe, a night before. This showed the sagacity of commitment, at least from many of us, knowing that we had something to do. The actual shooting began with scene eight, first shot. If I would forget something that day, it won’t be from what I just mentioned.

Before the first scene, I noticed some strange moves from the producer, Naziru Dan Hajiya. He made several phone calls, all with his face in despair. Within a short-time, side talk began, then few questions about the logistics, accommodations, transportations and welfare of the casts and crew, and so on. Finally, Ali Nuhu decided to drop Balkisu Shema for no call, no show offence. He summoned all the actress and picked only two out of 15 or so; he gave them some lines to practice, timed them as well. After a short while, he called on whoever was ready among the two; they were all silent for a moment, then one of them came out looking so nervous, but braver than the other I guess. 

Maryam first from left and the other girl auditioning for the role

Ali Nuhu and Yunusa Mu’azu practiced one of the lines just to give her (Maryam) an idea of how the scene should look like. She walked down with the co-leading actor, Umar M Sharrif. It was so captivating as a mixture of improvisation and a little mimicry blended with self-esteem. That’s exactly what Nuhu was looking for. Ali Nuhu quickly said: Ke kinci kawai (you got it). I couldn’t believe it myself – it was breathtaking! 

Maryam’s status changed right there; she’s came in as a back-up artist and walked-out with a mixed feeling of a dream-like on one side, and a star-like on the other. Not too long after the first scene, the set continued with subsequent scenes though not in an orderly fashion. After several scenes, Shema decided to show-up. Was she late? Was she right on time? Or was she just cost herself a huge chance, maybe an only chance to feature in FKD’s film? These might be the questions pondering in her chest right from the time she stepped into Yan Dutse, a private school opposite Kano Capital School.

Maryam practicing her lines after she was chosen as the lead actress

The long story short, Shema faced Ali Nuhu, and apologized for the inconveniences she might have caused. Nobody, of course, was happy with what she did. But who cares? ‘Maryam is delivering the exact service needed, I’m satisfied.’ That’s how I interpreted Ali Nuhu’s mind at that very moment. In another interpretation, ‘I am the boss here, I don’t give a damn.’ But Ali Nuhu was soft on Shema. He said it’s okay; I am not holding you for what just happened and our relationship remains the same. However, we have already gone far enough to the point of no return (not exactly his words). 

It wasn’t an easy feeling for Shema, considering the fact that many actors were longing so hard to feature in an FKD movie. Here was someone given the chance, but blew it away just like that. Believe it or not, Shema had no reasonable excuse to be late, for her accommodation, transportation and meals were all settled prior to the beginning of her contract. I would have interviewed Shema, but for a moment I hesitated, given her unwelcoming face at the time of the shock. So, instead, I went for Maryam.

Maryam and Umar M Shariff

Maryam Yahaya was born in Goron Dutse, Kano. She did her Primary school in Yelwa, and moved to Bokabo Barracks where she obtained a High School Certificate. Her ambition for acting started right from childhood. As a child, Maryam was inspired and fascinated by most of the Kannywood movies she watched. Like many other Muslim girls from northern Nigeria, her parents are very strict and conformist when it comes to moral upbringings, but she was able to convince them to let her try a career in acting. Unlike many other Kannywood’s actresses, Maryam made her way into the industry independently. Her first film was Gidan Abinci, followed by Barauniya, and Tabo. She only played minor roles in all the three movies mentioned. Her role in Mansoor was a game changer. Maryam is a young teenage actress. She is just nineteen-year-old, but she looks younger than her age.

On the set

Perhaps it would have been a different story maybe if Shema had shown – up on time. Had it been that the other girl was auditioned before Maryam, I would be writing a different piece. All the two actresses (Shema & the other girl) are way taller and older than Maryam. Compared to Maryam, Shema & the other girl are brighter in complexion, which would have been a perfect match for Umar M. Sharrif, himself been fair in complexion. However, one thing that sets Maryam apart from the other actresses is perhaps her sang-froid.

 She so much composed herself and danced to the new tunes. The more she faced the camera, the better she became. She pulled herself all together and juiced out the new character in her throughout the set of Mansoor. Maryam became so acquainted with the people and the atmosphere. She was in the beginning too nervous probably because of the people around. She couldn’t resist or keep a straight look at the caliber of people like Ali Nuhu or Bashir Nayaya without bending down her head. Also, it was hard for her to get away with the usual unannounced solidarity visits of famous Kannywood names like Kamal Alkali, Nazifi Asnanic, Nuhu Abdullahi, Usman Mu’azu and many more.

Following the set of Mansoor, Maryam has been hired to feature in a number of upcoming blockbuster movies. She climbed a new ladder of life, shuttling from one city to another, shooting more films in a bigger role than just back-up actress. She’s all over social media posting pictures or short clips of herself while on set. Sometimes connecting with her fans on a live video chat while lying down in a doubled bed or a sofa from an interior space of her room in a three-star hotel.

By: Nura Abubakar 

Twitter: @Noorer 

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Kannywood Is Here To Stay!

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For nearly three decades now, the famous Hausa film industry known as, Kannywood, has been educating, entertaining, enlightening, and employing large number people from and outside of Nigeria. Before the emergence of Kannywood in 1990s, northerners watched a lot of movies specific but not bound to; Hindi (Bollywood), Hollywood, and foreign movies mostly from Europe and Asia. Kannywood movies treat their viewers with a mixture of modern-traditional culture glamour through captivating singing and dancing. Kannywood movies depict a typical Hausa culture and the daily life struggles of an ordinary Hausa man. It is also important to note that many of the messages passed through the motion pictures are adaptation from popular Hausa romance novels (litattafan soyayya) or a chapter from the Holly Qur’an and the saying of Prophet (PBUH).

You would hardly find a Hausa movie that does not begin with the phrase “Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem,” an Arabic phrase meaning (In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the most Merciful) and ends with Alhamdulillah (To God be the glory). Additionally, the majority of the Kannywood movie titles are quoted in Arabic or from chapters of the Qur’an, for example; Ashabul Kahfi, Ahlul Kitabi, Mujadala, Fisabilillah to name a few. I mentioned all these movie titles to inform the readers, (especially those who are new or not into the stream of Hausa movies) how Hausa movies are religiously and culturally loaded! Yet, people would argue and make a blanket judgement and call the entire filmmakers names.

It has never occurred to me even in my wildest imagination that such a gigantic institution as Kannywood would be blindly misjudged and misunderstood as a vehicle for spreading immoral decadence among youths. Recently, the federal government of Nigeria approved the proposal for Kano Film Village – a center for Hausa film industry. The film village will cost billions of Naira, create thousands of jobs and generates revenue to the state and federal government as well.

The proposed Kano Film village is modeled out of an Indian film city and China film center as well. Apart from the cinematography center, auditorium for training and sound stage, the film village will also have stadium, hostels, a 3-star hotel, restaurants, clinic, and a shopping mall among other things. These amenities are not only for the consumption of filmmakers alone, but the public is welcome to use all the facilities as well.

Shortly after Federal government approved the construction of multi-billion Naira film village in Kofa -Bebeji Local government Kano, many people mostly religious clerics and other “concern citizens” across the state condemned it and called for mass social media protest against the project. Some of the reasons for the condemnation is that filmmakers not only from the Southern part of Nigeria, but also from Europe and America would come to “practice immorality” and destroy Hausa values. This is not the first time Kannywood faced such negative…. It happened during colonial era, when the Lebanese business man build cinema in the state: it created tension and chaos in the city. The more you reject the idea, the stronger it becomes. Not too long ago, film was banned in Kano for years, but that does not end it forever, rather it became stronger. People should learn to embrace and live with modernity, the more you reject it, the stronger it becomes. It’s high time to table the the Kannywood and film in northern Nigeria, otherwise the industry maybe financed and supported by the foreign agencies and only God knows what would happen.

What people tend to forget is that Kannywood has been in dire need of government support for years. The industry kicked off almost same time or earlier than Nollywood, but due to lack of attention and investors among other things, Nollywood quickly became the leading movie industry not only in Nigeria but in Africa.

Here is an industry that employed thousands of youths making ends meet despite all technical challenges, but the whole idea misunderstood as evil, forgetting the fact that Kannywood employs more people than many public and private institutions in Nigeria. It has been speculated several years ago that if Kannywood would gain attention from the government and investors through capacity building and professional training, it would create thousands of jobs to the state and the region as well.

It’s too early to forget that the entire Kannywood industry campaigned for All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general election and their immense contributions helped a lot in bringing the APC government into power, if the APC government is willing to support them film village is what Kannywood needs the most.

It’s interesting how people made some silly arguments that Hausa films/filmmakers are bunch of illiterate and agents of moral decadence. Isn’t that a shame to hear such clumsy argument in 21st century? In kannywood, the actors and filmmakers give more respect to their religion (Islam) in practice and in script, treat their culture with dignity to the extent that no physical contact is allowed between opposite sex on or off the camera. And as Mallam Muhsin Ibrahim pointed out in his Ana Wata Ga Wata Review. Despite its many flaws, there’s no mainstream film industry that produces films in a more compliant way with Islam than Kannywood. Not even the Pakistani, Afghan, Egyptian or Iranian films. It’s only in Kannywood that a married couple are not allowed to have any physical contact in films, no matter how intimate the couples are, words and facial expressions are the only means to express their intimacy.

Funny how some people take to twitter and other social media platforms to campaign about how film village will breed moral bankruptcy and totally ignoring the fact that nothing breeds moral bankruptcy like the social media and the channels we subscribe to. We’ve witnessed so many cases of young adults (males) on twitter exposing our Muslim girls who’ve sent their nude pictures to them. None of those girls exposed were Kannywood actress but our sisters at home. Also, Instagram and twitter were littered with pictures of our sisters exposing their bodies in a much publicized 2 day #Sallahfie beauty parade sessions that guys were tweeting lines like ‘I love my TL right now’ ‘Boobs all over my TL’ ‘Arewa girls are beautiful’ etc. That’s started just hours after the Holy months of Ramadan. Our brothers using +18 language with sisters on TL is the norm on twitter nowadays. In fact, the handles our sisters follow are of those people who are not ashamed of tweeting anything. Despite all that, and all the atrocities that is happening on facebook, whatsaap, Instagram etc, there was no uproar from our Northern community, never a campaign to shut it down. Ninety percent of the members in every Hausa household subscribe to one if not all social media platforms, what they do on it we don’t care but let’s pretend film village breeds moral bankruptcy.

The most ridiculous thing is how we played the ‘filmmakers would be coming to Film Village from Europe and America to teach immorality and destroy Hausa values’ card. No one has to come and teach us anything. we all know that Hollywood and its counterpart already lives in our homes through our phones, laptops and cables we use and subscribe to. They don’t need a “substandard” film village in a third world country to do that.

HBO don’t need a film village in northern Nigeria for John Snow to trend in Kano State. Why then protest about film village when our daughters/sisters and brothers are busy watching tv shows like Game of Thrones, Banshee, Spartacus etc, shows that are full of foul languages, nudity and sex when we are absolutely fine with it but we are too hypocritical to ever admit they destroy our morality and Hausa values?

Imagine the state of morals that we are fine with government/indivuduals in our society building Parks, International hotels, cinemas etc but reject the idea of a film village saying that it breeds moral bankruptcy. You could argue that someone will take your daughter(s) to those places not to a film village, because their pride won’t let them.

Everything comes with pros and cons, the good may outweigh the bad and vice versa, depending on how you see it. Despite it’s so many disadvantage we still buy smartphones to our children and expect them to do good with it. We allow them on social media despite the harrowing things that’s happening on it. Some people believe Nigerian Universities are like brothels but we didn’t campaign against it or call for total shut down simply because some people actually go there to learn. It’s the same thing with Film Village, regardless of what you think might happen, it is and will be beneficial to so many out there.

What we are saying is, Film Village may well come with its disadvantages but there are good people in this industry. People that are serious about the profession because their lives and that of their family and so many people depend on it. We have absolutely disregard that fact when we asked the federal government to shutdown a program that will benefit so many people.

I strongly believe that the film village will do more good than harm. From the economic perspective, I have no doubt that from the beginning of the construction to its completion, the film village will employ thousands of people mostly youths and Muslims talk less of its overall benefit. Believe me, the hospital/clinical facilities, stadium, and theaters could be used by Muslims and for religious gathering if the need arise.

Nura Abubakar
Graduate Student in African Studies
Ohio University, Athens.

Orezi ft Sani Danja in Shoki Hausa Version

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Orezi finally drops the viral video for the Hausa version of his popular Shoki.

The Hausa version of Shoki is already a choice for party track in Northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger Republic, and other Hausa speaking countries in Africa. It features the number one Hausa artiste from the North, Alhaji Sani Danja.

You would like the Hausa version of Shoki for the artiste’s vocal competence which is rich in expression. Likewise the rhythmic melodies attached to their skillful dancing steps.

The Hausa version of shoki was shot in the beautiful and lush Ikogisi warm spring in Ekiti state by Toka.

Watch shoki video here: http://youtu.be/VAezKAMSk3g

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Adam Zango Inveigled me to Insult Ali Nuhu – Ali Artwork.

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It’s no longer a news that Rahama Sadau accused Adam A Zango on Instagram for de-casting her in his movie just because she turned down his love, less than 12 hours later she became apologetic and regrets her action.

It’s also not a news that Ali Artwork who’s identified by many as Adam Zango’s longtime ally boldly insulted Ali Nuhu and his late mother, yet again insulted Rahama Sadau by calling her a “whore” and remain unapologetic as at the time when this report was gathered.

All things started when Rahma Sadau made this statement as quoted on Instagram: “Why are people feeling so important in this life? Look, right before you de-cast me in your movie I hav already done that. Because am not that cheap to beg for what you are thinking of. Declining Your Love will not take me down. I AM RAHMA SADAU, and I made it to the peak of where I wanted to be without you, @de_prince_zango I don’t need a senseless people to contribute more to my career. I have ALLAH and the right man that always stand by me no matter how I become @realalinuhu…. I don’t give a F**k Mr. ***”

After few hours she became apologetic and wrote this again; “… I was so childish, disrespectful and stupid yesterday. For that, I want to send my warm apology to @de_prince_zango and the entire members of White House family. Plus my directors for making me realize my mistakes and wrong doings….”

Some genuine sources confirmed to Kannywoodscene that Ali Nuhu was oblivious of the first statement written by Rahama on her Instagram page, Aminu Saira was among those who alerted him to warn Sadau against such unlawful utterances which a moment later she posted the apology to Adama Zango and the entire members of his entourage. Although the actress wrote the apology in both English and Hausa version to understanding of the addressee, not long before the culprit launched a series of insult to Ali Nuhu and his mother as well as Rahama Sadau. The culprit used Rahma’s page where she posted a poster of her new movie by UK Entertainment titled Suma Matane with Sadiq Sani Sadiq and others.

It wasn’t so long after Artwork’s post that closest Ali Nuhus allies like Mansur Sadiq, Ramadan Booth and many others in Kano reported the incident to police in which Artwork was nowhere to be found. When the police visited his parent house with arrest warrant he wasn’t home, the only found his ill father and mother, instead they arrested his brother and asked his mother to sermon him to the station in order to get the other innocent brother out which she did. Artwork was given a chance to apologize to Ali Nuhu for his imbecility which he repudiated and said he’d rather rotten in jail than apologize. After he (Ali Artwork) spend a couple of days in police custody he confessed that is Adam A Zango who inveigled him to insult Ali Nuhu as well as Rahama Sadau. Kannywoodscene tried to reach Adam to hear his take on Artwork’s confession but he rejected all the calls times without number. It wasn’t a surprise knowing that Adam Zango once insulted Kannywoodscene reporter, accused all the media and journalists for publishing negative reports on him except Al’ameen Ciroma and Leadership.

Unconfirmed sources informed Kannywoodscene that some guys who believed to be Adam’s boys were using Artwork’s picture on their BBM and WhatsApp DP (Display Picture) praising his action by calling him names as “Jarumin Maza” “Na gaban Adamu” etc. Similarly, a group of young men led by Rabiu A Zango raided Rahama Sadau’s saloon and vandalized her belongings worth hundreds of thousands. In the same vein some of Adams allies were calling and threatening to kill Ali Nuhu’s allies, thank God it was recorded, but this is serious!

One could say the genesis of the problem started from the just concluded MTN/KannyAwards which left Adam Zango trophy less he even express his anger on social media too. At same award night Adam’s boys called him names that may create tension if and only if Ali Nuhu’s boys were…. It could also be the “love thing”. Yes, it was clear that Adam asked her out but she rejected and he de-cast her, she insulted him and later on apologized. Some people said is Ali Nuhu that forced her to apologize. Okay if Ali Nuhu can forced Rahama to say sorry to Adam even though she has all the legal right to debunk his request why wouldn’t he (Adam) asked his boy Artwork to apologize? In fact the breach between Artwork and Ali Nuhu is unbridgeable. You may begin to wonder, with all the contribution that Ali Nuhu gave to Adam on his way up the ladder, with all the support and protection, what wrong has Ali Nuhu did to deserve this in return? Or is it another way of showing appreciation? Can Adamu really do what Artwork said? Why is he silent if he’s innocent? I believe something is fishy somewhere, MOPPAN and AFMAN are watching and the culprits behind all these must bring to book or this will open room for others to be insolent against stakeholders.

It has come to our notice that Globacom, Samsung and OMO want to file law suits against Ali Artwork to claim damage for insulting their ambassador and his late mother.


Written by;
Nura Abubakar
FLTA (Hausa)
Department of African Languages and Literature
University of Wisconsin Madison.
Twitter: @Noorer
Facebook: Nura Abubakar

Kannywood director killed in a car crash.

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                   Late Saleh AGM

The entire kannywood industry deeply saddened by the news of Saleh AGM’s passing on Saturday evening of November 15 2014.

Saleh AGM was in his early 30s, born and raised in Maiduguri – Borno State. He ventured into kannywood industry as a scriptwriter and a director. Not long ago his first movie So Aljannar Duniya was released. The deceased said to have completed the shooting of his second and last movie Mallaka Min Dukiyar Ki just last week and en route Maiduguri where he was killed in a car crash.

Late AGM survived by parents and siblings. Our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy, may Aljannatul Firdausi be his final abode. Ameen!

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Preview: Kisan Gilla

It’s so understanding that ASMASAN PICTURES is known for conciliable presentation of ideas through style, cinematography and other technical aspects that quenched the thirst of its viewers.

After the success of YAN UWAN JUNA and DINYAR MAKAHO, ASMASAN PICTURES bounced back with a detective piece KISAN GILLA. Featuring Al’ameen Buhari, Hadiza Ali Gabon, Hadiza Ahmad, Rahama Sadau, Bello Muhammad Bello, Abdu Boda and above all Sadiq Sani Sadiq in a unique avatar.

Hadiza Gabon is from an affluent family love and adore by her parents who are ready to go to any extent to protect her whenever the need arises. She’s in love with a guy (Abdu Boda) who hides behind love and seizes the opportunity to have her body instead of heart. Bello Muhammad Bello on the other hand is a longtime admirer of the subject (Hadiza Gabon) but her heart is far gone to someone else. This pressure pushes him to the wall and made some awful utterances to kill her.

After a while, she’s found dead in her bed, the autopsy shows that she was murdered with a three month old pregnancy. This left her parents and the police detectives with multiple questions of who is responsible for the pregnancy, murder and why? All these questions will be answered in KISAN GILLA.

The movie KISAN GILLA will come with new theatrical techniques as the Director of Photography is a former BBC veteran cameraman Murtala Balala, and directed by the eloquent director Malam Aminu Saira.

Furthermore, the scripting provides the viewer with a new concept of interrogating suspect, interviewing witnesses and the cultivation of network informants as well as stand up evidence which will lead to confession by the suspect. We’ve equally seen from the trailer, the detective (Sadiq Sani Sadiq) putting a physical and psychological pressure on the suspect into admission and confession of a crime being investigated for. Did he confess? How the detective get to the bottom of it? Find out in KISAN GILLA.

Written by: Nura Abubakar
Twitter @Noorer
Email: noorer1015@gmail.com

Halwa is a Robbery in Broad Day Light.

If you watched the trailer of HALWA, you can do all it takes to buy the movie as soon as it’s released. Now the movie was released, the story changed, I mean not the storyline but the story length – is not up to scratch. I have been trying to do what I can do personally to give the movie credit base on length not the roles been played in by the cast or other crews, but to be candid the word poor is more appropriate than any other one to me!

If you ask me what I know base on what I said above, I will say I don’t know anything. I only know what I know. Amongst what I know is that HALWA is not a conventional movie or what is literary known as feature-film, rather it’s called a short-film. “The biggest and the most obvious difference between short film and feature movie is of course, the length. For a film to be classified a short it must be less than 40 minutes in duration” Therefore HALWA is without doubt a short film, any effort to call it a feature film si hypocrisy. Both part one and two have a total length of fifty eight minutes, where as part three and four has a total of fifty minutes. To sum up all, we can say HALWA is not up to two hours long. For God’s sake where are we heading to?

Another important point to consider is the budget; it is obvious that a successful feature film will have a considerable larger budget than a short film. This is due to the fact that there is need to pay the cast and crew, rent or purchase of equipment and props and many more. But in a short film you don’t need to do all these because of its length and people don’t usually have to pay for them and they are made to convey a message not to make money. A short film usually has a lesser known cast and crew. The movie HALWA has a larger budget, known cast and crew, yet the movie is too short! But the man behind it shows his apathy and ignorance as he refused to agree with all the facts I mentioned as he said: “Once the National/State Film and Video Census Boards as well as Copy Right Commission wave my movie I don’t care what you have to say.” Considering the statement made by the CEO Kamfa Movies, I made to understand that all the regulatory bodies show no concern on the movie length or viewers’ role, they are so selfish! If not why would you let Kamfa or the marketer to extend the movie to part 3&4? To be just and fair the movie should be 1&2, extend it to 3 if you must! Anything beyond that is a rubbery in brought day light. One thing you have to understand, people watch some movies not because they are worth watching, it is just because of the love of the industry and the language as well. An all time kannywood follower said: “Kannywood movies are more or less the opium of Arewa Masses, I watch it to have some relief, I avoid smoking and drinking by watching kannywood movies.” If someone said this, why would you pay him with HALWA? I think customers or viewers should have their association too, a body where their voices should be heard.

In conclusion, I am not condemning the movie for its poor quality or content, I am reproving its length as the most shortest I have ever seen. Honestly HALWA is the type of movie if you play it on your DVD player, before you compose yourself to watch, it would end. Therefore, if you are looking for a decent feature movie don’t try HALWA!

By Noorer Abubakar
Twitter @Noorer
GSM: 08077715325