Abdulrahman Muhammad popularly known as Abdul Amart Mai Kwashewa is a prominent Kannywood producer and Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) of Abnur Entertainment. In this interview he speaks on what attracted him to filmmaking, his reasons for getting involved in politics. Excerpts:
Weekend Magazine: What attracted you to filmmaking?
Abdul Amart: I loved watching Hausa movies and reading novels since I was a teenager. I got my inspiration to venture into filmmaking from the films I watched and the novels I read.
WM: How did your Kannywood journey begin?
Amart: I didn’t join Kannywood as an actor or producer. I started my Kannywood journey by selling video cassettes at available bus stops. I got films from one Kannywood marketer, Tukur Hassan who has a shop at Bata in Kano. It was during that period that I started visiting filmmakers when they were onset. However, I can say it was Hajiya Aisha Amart, a Kannywood producer, who introduced me to so many filmmakers. I learnt the process of filmmaking from her.
In a nutshell, Hajiya Aisha Amart was my godmother in Kannywood, and my success in filmmaking business wouldn’t be complete with mentioning her name. My affiliation to her is also how people began calling me Abdul Amart.
WM: Why did you choose to be a producer instead of an actor or director?
Amart: From the beginning acting was not in my character. I just loved reading novels and watching movies. So, my dream was to provide stories and produce contents; not to act or direct.
WM: What are some of the achievements you have recorded so far since getting into the industry?
Amart: After I learnt the art of filmmaking from my godmother, Hajiya Amart, then I met my friend, Nura M. Inuwa who is a popular musician. I discussed with him about the need for us to establish a film production company. He agreed and we came up with Abnur Entertainment.
After the establishment of our company, we were able to produce blockbuster movies which shaped the history of Kannywood. The movies were popular and viewers were excited to watch them, whenever they were released.
We have so far produced about 11 movies including ‘Aisha Humaira,’ ‘Mai Tafiya,’ ‘Ummi,’ ‘Basma,’ ‘Mijin Biza,’ ‘Salma,’ and ‘Abbana,’ among others. To me, producing 11 movies is an amazing achievement.
WM: Which was the most difficult of the movies you have produced?
Amart: There were two films that gave me headache before I produced them. One was ‘Mai Tafiya.’ The film involves many exterior scenes and in a forest. It was rained for the first six days of our shooting. Some of our things were destroyed, some our crew took ill. It was difficult and challenging.
The second film was ‘Mijin Biza.’ It involved most of the A-list actresses in Kannywood, Hadiza Gabon, Rahama Sadau, A’isha Aliyu Tsamiya, Fati Washa and Jamila Nagudu among others. Managing them was challenging and the shooting coincided with the week of my wedding. So, I was multi-tasking so many things. I didn’t find it easy.
WM: How did you get the nickname ‘Mai Kwashewa’
Amart: I got the name ‘Mai Kwashewa’ from our marketers. Whenever our film was released, it would be sold out in no time. So, anywhere they saw me, they would say ‘Ai mun kwashe da fim dinka,’ meaning ‘they have sold all the copies of my film.’ That’s how the they started calling me ‘Mai Kwashewa.’ The name became popular when I sponsored a special video campaign song titled ‘Lema Ta Yage’ for President Buhari in 2015. One of the singers, Adam A. Zango called my name in the song as Abdul Amart Mai Kwashewa and from that day people started calling me by the name.
WM: During 2019 presidential election you campaigned vigorously for President Buhari and led filmmakers to Aso Rock. What motivated you to venture into active politics?
Amart: I was a politician even before I ventured into filmmaking. My grandfather, Alhaji Abubakar Dzukoji, was a prominent politician. He was together with Malam Aminu Kano during NEPU. Politics is in my blood. I inherited it from my grandfather.
On campaigning for president Buhari, I would say I was Buhari’s supporter and a follower from the beginning of his political journey from APP to CPC and finally to APC. I campaigned for him vigorously in 2015. I was the one who sponsored a poplular song ‘Lema Ta Yage’ for him. I did it with my money, nobody assisted me with one Naira. I paid all the musicians, actresses and actors who participated in the music video and you know the song was popular and even attracted a lot of votes for him.
Also, in 2019 having being satisfied with what he did in the area of security, fighting corruption and infrastructure, I decided to campaign for him. I told myself it was a token of what I would do to bring him back into power as reward for the successes he has recorded. So, I called a lot of filmmakers and we assembled under one umbrella to campaign for him. We are happy he was returned as a president of Nigeria for a second time with the highest number of votes. Nothing was done for the industry, after the 2015 elections. That’s why we presented our proposals before we started proper campaign in 2019.
We were able to make our presentation through Alhaji Musa Halilu, Dujiman Adamawa. Dujima gave us all the necessary support. He took us to the office of the First Lady, Hajiya Aisha Buhari and she promised us a lot of things.
WM: With the way you participated in politics, do you plan on vying for office?
Amart: I don’t have intention of contesting to be either a lawmaker or an executive. But I want to be involved in an active politics with aim of making Kannywood and Nigeria better.
WM: If for instance, President Buhari decided to appoint you minister, would you accept the offer?
Amart: To be honest with you Kannywood deserves a ministerial appointment, because we have played a vital role in bringing Buhari into the power. We have a lot of cult followership. We have influence on our viewers and based on our research, we influenced a lot of our viewers to vote for Buhari in the 2015 and 2019 elections.
Yes, if Buhari offers me a ministerial slot, I would gladly accept it. I would do that for the interest of Kannywood. I would use the position to help Kannywood, because even after serving, I would still come back to filmmaking. That’s what I know best. Therefore, I would want to come back to meet a better Kannywood.