Khadija Mustapha, 31, was born in Maiduguri, Borno state, but hails from Kano state. She tells ALIYU ASKIRA in this interview that she joined Kannywood after her marriage crashed and has so far produced three films – Butulci, Zahra, Jummai Haladu in addition to Makauniya. Khadija also says Duduwa, Dakin Amarya and Uzuri made her popular.
Why is it that despite your popularity in Kannywood, you are rarely read about in the media?
Well, I always try to mind my business because one story in the media can destroy a person’s life forever; but that does not mean I am not willing to talk to the press, after all I am now sitting before you granting you an interview. In fact, most of us are always happy when a major newspaper or magazine publishes our stories, but that is if the story is positive. At times even in negative stories, one can still find some things that will be of interest to him or the general public.
Who is this girl sitting by your side? The two of you look alike, have you been married before?
Yes, she is my daughter, in fact, my only daughter. After I finished primary and secondary school and later obtained my diploma, I got married here in Kano even though I had had the desire to be an actress since I watched one Hausa film called Sangaya that featured the famous Fati Muhammad, the late Hauwa Dodo and the King of Kannywood, Ali Nuhu. However, my parents wanted me to get married which I did, but after some time, the marriage crashed and I approached Falalu Dorayi, a producer and director, to assist me to join Kannywood.
The impression people have about those of you in Kannywood is that you are morally corrupt and can do all sorts of things especially the female ones to be popular or to make money easily; what do you have to say to that?
The truth is that since I joined Kannywood in 2013, I have seen a lot; we have people that have only gossip as their business here, especially the female ones. Once one is given a very big film to feature in, they will start gossiping that may be one has compromised her body to get the role While it is also true that we have those who are morally corrupt and they are only here to use Kannywood to market themselves, I have met some actors and actresses who are already married and have made good names for themselves. They are extremely decent and one can always be proud of them. We have successful actors and actresses that have been in the industry for a very long time, yet one has never heard them associated with any scandal; so we have the good, the bad and the ugly.
We hear that to be successful in Kannywood, you ladies have to compromise your body. Did you experience such a thing?
I told you earlier that I was a married woman and joined Kannywood after my marriage crashed, so I am not a kid. Secondly, I read up to diploma level and also an indigene of Kano, I know the environment here very well before joining it. So, nobody can take me for granted; by the way, why is it that anytime you members of the press approach us for an interview, you will not always forget to ask the issue of sex for role in Kannywood?
Well, assuming it is happening, in my earlier reply to your question, I told you that we have decent people here and we also have some bad eggs, but this is not common only to Kannywood. Even in some banks ladies are asked to go and solicit for customers that will open accounts with their banks or when they engage you, they will give you certain targets and if you don’t, you will be fired. In this case, some girls do compromise themselves to meet their targets or get customers for their banks. I am not saying that I am certain of what I am saying, but these are stories we also hear about banks, the same way people are hearing about sex for roles in Kannywood.
When you go to our universities and tertiary institutions you will see ladies that are almost half-naked and this they do to entice lecturers or their fellow students. So, please Kannywood is not an exception.
When are you thinking of settling down again?
Even if I am into a relationship, you know that I will not tell you. At my age, how do you expect me not to have a boyfriend or admirers? One has to fall in love and then later get married; the only thing I am trying to avoid is getting married to somebody that will divorce me after some time. I want a real marriage that will last forever; so I am taking my time to know the fake ones among the real ones that are coming my way. But any lady that tells you that she does not want to get married is telling lies, if I get a sincere person even by tomorrow you will receive my wedding invitation.
What’s your line of business and where do you travel to for your business?
I am into buying and selling soft materials, especially children’s clothes. I normally travel to Dubai, India and Saudi Arabia to buy goods and return to Nigeria and sell them off. It is not easy because most of the time one contends with Customs officials especially if you import materials that are classified as contrabands. Remember that even second-hand clothes popularly called gwanjo are now banned products, but I always make sure that I operate within the law and import goods that will not put me in trouble.
Secondly, when I get married, I want to continue with my NGO activities, sponsoring and producing films and other businesses that I may be engaged in in future. People believe that because of our way of life, we will not marry poor people, but my life is not like that. If you are real, sincere and honest, please come to us, we will gladly accept you and marry you as long as you are a Muslim.
What have been your saddest and happiest moments since you joined Kannywood?
Honestly, they are many – like when you hear your colleagues spreading false rumours about you. Since I joined Kannywood we have lost prominent members that any time I remember them, I feel sad. They include Rabilu Musa Ibro, Mai Aya, Aisha Dan Kano, and Hauwa Dodo as well as those that died before I joined Kannywood. Sometimes, some producers will approach you with a script only for you to hear that the producer has started shooting the same film with another lady who is playing your role, this makes me sad. But again, this is why some people say we usually compromise our body for roles.
Generally, I am happy here, I don’t have enemies to my knowledge even though it is not possible. There are those that will also try to take us for granted, but if they discover that you are not the type, they will mind their business and leave you alone. That is one of the reasons I started producing my own films; it’s to ensure that nobody messes me up. After all, one needs to maintain a decent image so that you will get respect from members of the public. I can’t play a role that will portray me as a prostitute, I mean for you to ask me to dress like a prostitute, I will not do it, but I can accept to play the role. Now that I am popular, I cannot afford to embarrass myself, my family, my little daughter or my religion. Kannywood is different from Nollywood, Ghallywood, or Bollywood where you can see actors and actresses openly kissing or dressing half-naked. Don’t come to us to act such roles because it is completely haram in Islam and even if it is not haram we as northerners can never accept such roles.