Fati Mohammed has been the best known and most popular actress in the hausa film industry (Kannywood) from inception to-date. She had attracted millions of admirers to herself because of her talent, beauty and the role she played in the biggest movies of the early years of the industry, such as ‘Sangaya’ and ‘Marainiya’.
She married fellow actor Sani Musa (‘Mai Iska’) and together they lived in the United Kingdom for some years before they separated after five years. Upon her return to Nigeria a few years ago, Fati picked up her acting career, making many films. Last year, she got married to a movie producer, Umar Kanu, but the marriage hit the rocks recently. It means Fati is single again.
At the time of her reign as the No. 1 superstar, there was no much money to make in the industry as grade A actors received peanuts for major roles. The story is different today when paycheques are very fat indeed.
Fati Mohammed spoke exclusively with Blueprint in Kaduna, where she has moved to from her Kano base. In the interview, she said she would not act again nor marry again from Kannywood. Excerpts:
Happy Ramadan, Fati. Is it true your second marriage has collapsed?
It is true. But let me correct the impression that all in all I married thrice in my life. I joined Kannywood at the age of fourteen. When we shot the popular ‘Sangaya’ I was fifteen years old. Later, I got married to Sani Musa Mai Iska, then left for London on a sponsorship of a company for which I did a commercial on HIV. We spent five years in London before our marriage packed up. Later I returned to Nigeria. In London we did all sort of menial jobs that were legal to survive.
After you returned to Nigeria, what happened?
Well, I discovered that the industry had changed, most of the artistes we were senior to had started growing wings. As such I decided to marry again; I married Umar Kanu, senior brother to Ali Jita. After three years the marriage crashed. All in all I spend eight years as a married woman. But I have no child yet. I adopted one upcoming popular actress; she is now staying with me.
Any regret so far?
Plenty. One, I have vowed never to marry from Kannywood again. Both my ex-husbands came from Kannywood. Two, I will not act again. But I have a production company; very soon I will be producing films.
It was said that at the time ‘Sangaya’ was shot, you and Ali Nuhu were into a hot relationship.
It is not true. Ali Nuhu has never dated me. If you ask of my role model I would mention Ali Nuhu a hundred times; in fact, I don’t call his wife by her name, I call her aunty. I am very close to them. During my second wedding, he was the one that gave me out; he was my Waliyyi.
Tell us why your two marriages were not successful.
That of Sani Musa Mai Iska was a long story that I don’t want to go into, but the recent one, honestly, it was due to pressure from my husband’s parents. His parents hated me with a passion. Both my ex-husbands, I did not marry them because of money, because they didn’t have. And as for Umar Kanu we parted not because I am older than him or richer as people claim. Yes, I have my own house, good car, businesses here and there, but how old am I? I am only 28 years right now. He is now begging me to go back to him. He is already regretting! I gave him all my love, but things went sour.
People say Hausa actresses hardly stay long in marriage.
I like this question. It is because the perception of us by the society is following us. Don’t say we don’t stay in marriage, please, say the contrary and pray for us. Some of us made success of their marriages. Even me, I want to marry again as quick as possible. I can stay in purdah if that is the wish of my husband. We are in Ramadan, a holy month, I am praying hard to get another person to marry.
Having married twice and you said you are just 28 years, how would you cope with the demand of nature?
Ask me straight, you mean whether I would need a man. Look, that is not a big deal. I can control myself, I am not a kid, I am a grown-up adult.
How about your parents?
They are both dead. I am Fulani from Yola, Adamawa state. Both my mother and father died in my arms. I gave them all the care they deserved, as such I hope to finish well in life.
When your marriage to Umar Kanu was having troubles you ended up in court. It is said he cheated you financially.
It is not true; we did not go to court. That is not in my nature. After all, I am a religious person and a trouble-free woman. We did not go to court. On the cheating issue, people are free to peddle the truth or false rumours. We parted, he gave me “saki biyu” (divorce pronounced twice), but he is now regretting. Like I told you earlier, we are still close, but the truth is I don’t have anything to do with Kannywood guys when it comes to marriage. I tasted it and it was bitter; there is too much gossip and baseless lies. I am fed up. But I will become a full-time film producer if I marry again. I can even be locked up in purdah, I would not mind!
What do you do for a living now?
I am into software and other businesses here and there. But I don’t like politics. I visited Gabon, Dubai, Senegal, Lagos, Malaysia and Morocco to do business. I am comfortable financially.
Tell my fans I am doing great, though they will not see my face again in films. I want to marry quickly if possible. A woman’s place is in the kitchen! I have paid my dues as far as acting is concerned.