Why I’m scandal-free in Kannywood – Halima Atete

Halima Atete joined Kannywood as an actress and producer about 10 years ago and was nominated by stakeholders in Hausa Film Industry in the North in collaboration with the Zamfara State Emirate Council as the Queen of Kannywood (Sarauniyan Kannywood). She tells ALIYU ASKIRA in this interview that she has nothing more left to prove in the industry after her deluge of successes, but to settle down in marriage after a crisis-free career.

 Your  highs in Kannywood

You see, I have already featured in highly rated films alongside highly rated actors and actresses like Ali Nuhu; Sadiq Sani Sadiq; Sadiq Ahmad; Aisha Aliyu; Jamila Nagudu; Fati Washa; Hafsat Idris; Rahama Sadau, and the rest. Also, I have acted successfully as a no-nonsense police officer, a truck driver, a male actress in Mata Maza and several other roles that are very challenging. So, I have nothing to say rather than to thank the Almighty God, my colleagues in Kannywood and most importantly my admirers, because I always get several text messages and WhatsApp chats from people who admire me because of a particular role I’ve played in a particular film or some will call and say they want to have me as a friend or to tell me that I am their role model.

 The last time I interviewed you was nine years ago at Green Park Hotel where you went there to participate in Ahmad Bifa’s film, AL-Mooru. That interview ended abruptly because you were not forthcoming, but now you are almost the best actress in Kannywood; how did it happen?

Thanks for reminding me of that interview. Remember that during the interview Hadiza Aliyu Gabon had to intervene to explain some points, but honestly speaking, Halima Atete of today is not only a successful producer because I produced films like Daga Murna and several others that featured top-class actors like Ali Nuhu. Today, I have virtually dominated the industry. Today, I’m rubbing shoulders with those I used to admire for their acting skills before I joined Kannywood. Some of them after we finish shooting a film will come to me and say Halima you are a wonderful actress. To me, this is not a mean achievement.

What were your initial challenges?

When I joined the industry, I was always jittery once I was standing before the camera or when I was asked to play alongside top-class actors or actresses, but I quickly overcame that. Similarly, my colleagues in the industry are very cooperative and they assisted me to grow easily. Today, I acted as a truck driver in the film, Kallabi, where I was even attacked by armed robbers in the film. I featured as an army commander; as Mata Maza in a film in which the Late Ibro Rabilu Musa was my father. But because he was lazy, I always stood for him whenever people challenged him to a fight or anything of that nature. I played the role of his strong and stubborn male son. In fact, after the film, I noticed that you men are luckier than us because I can wear my jeans and go out and play, go out and dance with friends and do other things that ordinarily a lady cannot do. So, I enjoy acting like a man; unfortunately, my father in the film, Rabilu Musa, later died in real life. May God give him paradise!

So, today, how rich is Halima Atete?

Well, to start with, I cannot count the number of films I have featured in because there are many. Some are Mata Maza, Kallabi, Wata Hudu, Dakin Amarya; in fact, they are very many. So, stakeholders of Kannywood from all the northern states met and nominated me as the Queen of Kannywood, and later the Zamfara Emirate Council organised a beautiful turbaning ceremony for me. I have built my own house, I have cars, my bank account is not doing badly, and I have admirers all over the country. God has given me good health; I am Muslim; I am very pretty and sexy. I was opportune to perform Hajj to the Holy Land, so you can see that I have nothing to say than to finish my career successfully.

With what you have achieved within 10 years in Kannywood, which others have you not achieved and how do you cope with enemies?

Well, all of us have enemies, but I always make sure that I pray hard and leave everything else in the hands of God. You know even if you have nothing in life, you will still have enemies, but I always feel sad when I hear what people say about us. I want people to know that most of what we do in films are not real; we are only creating awareness, like in Mata Maza, I featured a man with a mustache and male dresses.

Ordinarily, I can’t do that in real life, we are as decent as any other person in life; we are as soft as cotton and as pure as holy water. As such, people should feel free to approach us for marriage and they will never regret it whenever they do that. I am promising you, though I am the jealous type, that what I did in Dakin Amarya when my husband Ali Nuhu took a second wife, Aisha Aliyu Tsamiya, where I almost set our house on fire was just a film. But that film has endeared me to many people, especially the women folk, because I played the role perfectly well. The properties including a plasma television set that you saw me destroying in film were real; they were new before I destroyed them and the injury I sustained on my hand was real.

I expect you to say something about marriage or relationship; you are pretty, successful, rich and have admirers all over the country, yet you did not mention anything about marriage.

You see, I like children; I want to settle down and have children, take care of them and my husband, establish businesses here and there and later enroll in an Islamiyya school and dedicate my life to God. About relationships, well, I have many admirers, but like a football match, I am taking my time to choose the best eleven and later the best scorer that will win my heart and marry me. Right now, I don’t have a name to mention. And even marriage, honestly, I don’t have a fixed date in mind because some men do come to us because they think that we are cheap, but if they discover that it is not so, they will not run away.

But in the film Kongari you acted perfectly as a prostitute; in fact, even as magajiya. How did you fit into that role with such perfection?

Well, that was a long time ago and I am happy that you said I played the role very well. In fact, I am thinking of setting up an NGO to assist widows and divorcees; I can even extend it to those in IDPs camps in the North-east. Remember that I am from Maiduguri, a bonafide daughter of Borno state. I know you will not conclude this interview without asking me why whenever I featured in a film as Ali Nuhu’s wife the film is always successful. Let me put it on record that Ali Nuhu is one person that has assisted hundreds of actors and actresses to succeed in life; that is why he too is always successful and God is always kind to him. There is nothing special between us apart from respect, understanding, and the fact that we both come from the same place. Above all, Ali’s face sells films like hot cake.

In a lighter mood, why do you always prefer to appear in tight fittings that expose your robust hips? Are you sending an obvious message to Casanovas?

It is not a sin for a woman to prove to the world that she is beautiful. Whether I am exposing my body or not, you know that I have the qualities that you are talking about. But I am mindful of what I am doing to wear trousers or tight fittings in a film is the responsibility of the director or producer who chooses customs for us. I am a Muslim from a decent family and I try to live within the limits of my religion