Ali Nuhu, a versatile and talented actor as well as the LEADERSHIP Artiste of the Year 2014 Award recipient, in this interview with SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH and ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM , speaks on the movie industry and why he is never been involved in any social media altercation with any colleagues
How does it feel clinching the LEADERSHIP Artiste of the Year award?
I am grateful to Allah and the organisation for this award. I must confess I’m very excited about receiving this award, due to the fact that this is the first time an entertainer from northern Nigeria is getting this award.
What was the reaction like when you decided to expand your horizon beyond Kannywood by venturing into the mainstream movie industry, Nollywoood?
Initially when I started out, there were complains here and there because people didn’t know what to expect. Also, even when the movies started coming out there were some negative comments over kissing scenes, for example, because of the diverse cultures and traditions that we have. But then the first thing I took into consideration was that I am a Muslim and Islamic actions are judged according to intentions.
This is a profession, we are only acting; it is not like it is the real thing. It’s make believe, so anybody who thinks we are the going extra mile in the kissing or bedroom scenes should understand that there are people there and certainly nothing can happen. Secondly when it comes to the choice of roles I do, I am very sensitive because I take some things into consideration. I don’t go to the extreme but then at the same time I don’t just play every role that is offered to me. I try to control that and what I want my fans to understand is that for an actor, you are supposed to act in whatever language that you can speak or you can communicate in. If you are given a role to play in whatever language you should branch out and do that because this is what shows that you are a versatile actor. For most of my fans they were able to understand these things and on my own part I was able to control some things so that they don’t go out of hand.
In one of your movies, you acted as an Igbo King; how challenging was that role?
I have done a lot of roles acting as either as an Igbo prince or Benin Prince. As an actor if you are given a script and want to deliver properly, what is expected is that you carry out research here and there; be sure of what you are taking, get someone who is from that tribe so the person puts you through. You could even learn some words that you chip in while you are delivering your lines so you can convince the people watching that yes this person is really Igbo; that is what I normally do.
For Nollywood, when I came in, a lot of the actors, producers and directors were very friendly towards me. They really embraced me and made things easier for me. They put me through whatever I am doing and that is why you see me interpret these roles like that.
What do you think needs to be put in place to improve the Nigerian movie industry?
Talking about the movie industry generally in Nigeria, I think a lot of things have to be put in place in the entire industry-that includes Nollywood and Kannywoo. A good marketing structure is one of the things needed. When these good marketing structures are put in place, I am very sure these movies will make more money and when they make more money you won’t have to tell a filmmaker to do a good job; the person on his or her own will do so. If you look at when the industry started out, it was like a trial and error thing but with time, we now have graduates from various fields of film making in Nigeria. This means people have accepted this as a profession and they are ready to go for it. All we need is capital. You wouldn’t need the government or an organisation to loan you money to do quality movie. All that is required is when you have a good marketing structure, the movies will surely turn in money and when they turn in money you will be able to make your craft better.
For a while now, the censorship board has been banning some local movies, yet, recently there has been an influx of Indian-Hausa films which contain some scenes usually considered offensive by the censorship board, what’s your take on this?
Talking about these Indian movies that are dubbed in Hausa, I wouldn’t really say they affect us directly. As for the Kano State censorship board, there is a new executive secretary who I think is going to make things better. It is a thing of worry that our own movies come and you don’t pass them because a lady is wearing a jean trouser, but when an Indian movie is brought that is dubbed in Hausa and a lady wears a bikini in a scene and it passes, it is a thing of worry.
When you talk they will tell you they are Indians, that that is their tradition. That is not Indian tradition; tell them to do Indian tradition and bring to you, that is what I think should happen. It is really a problem when it comes to that, it is like you are not encouraging your own people.
For instance if a100 movies are produced and then you decide to cut 50 movies then the industry begins to face a problem because people go out of work. Secondly when these Indian movies are dubbed and are sent into the market, people buy them and the rate at which they buy them affects the quantity of the own home made movies. Are you promoting your own or are you trying to demote your own?
What is your advice?
Ask these people to get permits from the owners of these jobs because I know what it takes to get the rightful ownership of a movie, sound dub and release it. If they do the right thing, you won’t get more than ten or five of such films in a year released into the market.
There is a proliferation of nudity in Nigerian movies. Even in movie posters, you see various forms of exposure. They are available everywhere and children are exposed to them.
Quality movies don’t portray such things, but you see, the industry is dissected in its own way. When you watch such kind of movies, look at the faces in the movies, they are not the faces you want to see in movies. What I will advise the national film and video censorship board to do is to really take that into consideration because take it or leave it, movies influence what the society does. The way people dress, they emulate what actors wear in movies and they say they want to copy from them. Even little kids will tell you I have seen this person praying in this film so I want to pray.