A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These images are generally accompanied by sound, and more, rarely, other sensory stimulations.
Tears started rolling down my eyes as a I watched a Bollywood movie “Gabbar”, featuring one of the Indian popular actors Akshay Kumar and Shruti Haasan starrer film that focused about the malpractices of medical practitioners and politicians along with the different arms of administration. It was a fiction though it presented the pictorial view of our situation in Nigeria where the leaders and the followers are complicit in the decadence in Nigeria. The corruption, ravaging unemployment and insecurity are products of our actions and inactions. Films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures.They reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them. Film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment, and a powerful medium for educating or indoctrinating citizens. The visual basis of film gives it a universal power of communication. Some films have become popular worldwide attractions through the use of dubbing or subtitles to translate the dialogue into other languages.
For instance, Bollywood films have been one of the greatest media for filmmakers to convey their message to the audience. And since the evolution of cinema, films based on real events and social issues have been well received by the audience. Many filmmakers have even taken up the social cause of speaking against the corruption in India which has significantly helped to change the citizens’ perception on their leaders towards making India a corrupt-free free society.
It is used for a range of goals, including education and propaganda. When the purpose is primarily education, a film is called an “educational film. Examples are recordings of academic lectures and experiments, or a film based on a classic novel. Film may be a propaganda, in whole or in part, such as the films made by Leni Riefenstahl in Nazi Germany, US war film trailers during World War II, or artistic films made under Stalin by Sergei Eisenstein.
They can also be works of political protest, as in the films of Andrzej Wajda, or more, subtly, the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. The same film may be considered educational by some, and a propaganda by others as the categorisation of a film can be subjective. We equally have films that educate the general public on how to set a country free from corruption – Bollywood films such as Gabbar Is Back, Rang De Basanti, Nayak: The Real Hero,Gangaajal, An Insignificant Man, Ungli and Satyagraha are few among many Indian movies that stand against corruption in India.
Helmed by Krish, the 2015 film ‘Gabbar Is Back’ starring Akshay Kumar and Shruti Haasan in the lead was one of the most successful films which spoke against corruption. This time too Akshay opted for a socially charged film which is based on malpractices of medical practitioners and politicians along with the different arms of administration involved in it. The film was on the receiving end of the medical association’s ire but was accepted by the audience with open arms.
In Northern Nigeria, movies in Hausa, the language of the largest ethnic group in the region and its lingua franca, are extremely popular, especially, in the predominantly Muslim North. In traffic, the DVDs with their candy-coloured covers are big sellers, and it is not uncommon to see a film crew shooting scenes in the streets of Kano, the largest city in the North.
This film industry has been coined Kannywood, after the city it originated in. According to statistics from the National Film and Video Censors Board, its movies make up about 30 percent of the films produced by the Nigerian-based film industry popularly called Nollywood, which is often portrayed as the third-largest in the world, after Hollywood and Bollywood. Kannywood even has its own TV channel, Africa Magic Hausa, showing Hausa-language movies on satellite TV.
Hausa movie plots are often based on soyayya novels, popular local romance novels mainly written and read by women. The love stories, soyayya means love, evolve around relationships and marriage at the time the Northern region which image they potray to the world needs ethical reorientation and awareness. They do not shy away from the problems women face in everyday life, such as forced marriage, sexual molestation, the lack of female education, and domestic violence – matters this society is not accustomed to discussing openly.
The films are reviewed several times before they make it to the Kano market. Everything from the script, the rough draft to the final cut and the DVD cover needs the approval of the board, and if there are any issues, the director will be asked to change a line, a scene or a too-revealing cover picture. Records have it that more than 80% of the Kannywood movies (Hausa films) is based on Soyayya that teaches only the young generation how to fall in love. Ànd today in the North almost every growing child is a master of his own love.
We need innovative Hausa movies that move beyond the stone age of thinking, movies that study the current predicaments and proffer solutions to the ongoing carnage in the North. They should create awareness on how to fight corruption and move the general public towards coming together to find the routes and together salvage the region. It is rather unfortunate that some of the movies instead of portraying the culture and move the region forward, have reduced themselves to agents of image destruction, as clearly seen in the likes of Aduniya and Labarina where Nigerian Fulani are labelled as masterminds and footsoldiers of the ongoing carnages in Northern Nigeria.
I am not the kind of person that stands on the side of deciets, lies and propaganda that are carved around injustice against a particular religion or race. Let me not be judged by my dismay towards this open molestation and injustice against the Fulani in Nigeria. The fact still remains that the actions of the Saira movies (Labarina) and Eagle Eye (Aduniya) are an attempt to taint the entire Fulani community in Nigeria as bandits. It is agreed that Fulani have bad eggs like they equally have good eggs applicable all tribes in Nigeria. The use of the Fulani intonation to negotiate ransom in Labarina (Season 4 episode 3) is the highest level of conspiracy of two Kannywood movies which seems to adding petroleum to the already burning flame.
Kannywood films are the biggest medium that express or convey messages to the entire northerners. It is the greatest medium to reach out to the people. It is high time they had a think thank to guide them towards film making in the North and what it entails. Presently, many see Kannywood as a taboo and no go area for their children as most female actresses don’t have the consent of their parents.
The hyporicy of movies like Labarina and Aduniya are, no doubt, some of the reasons the North is defined along ethnic and religious lines. The North currently needs films from Kannywood that only preach and call for collectivism in confronting our challenges that are not sparing anyone irrespective of tribe or religion. Government must ensure that films of this nature are censored.
Danaudi, National President of Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes from Bauchi, Bauchi state.